Why is Eastern Europe more antisemitic than Western Europe?

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QFT
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27 Jun 2019, 9:40 pm

If you ask "why is Islamic World more antisemitic then Europe", it makes sense: Palestinians are Muslims, and Muslims support each other. If you ask "Why is Europe as a whole antisemitic", it also makes sense: up until 19-th century Jews were the only minority that rejected Christ. But if you ask "why is eastern Europe more antisemitic then western Europe" I don't know why. Yet its true. And in fact it transcends all the political boundaries. You might think that Poland and Ukraine are more pro-western than Russia, so they would have to be less antisemitic; but no, they are more antisemitic than Russia. But then again, Russia is historically very antisemitic too, right now it became less so, but thats just now. In any case, I doubt that either Russian history or Polish history or Ukrainian history would be the answer to this question. The answer would lie in eastern European history as a whole. What is it about Eastern Europe -- as a whole -- that would make it more antisemitic than western Europe? Any thoughts?



magz
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28 Jun 2019, 2:56 am

It's not.
It's just less taboo to hate anyone in Eastern Europe - so if people hate some group, they do it more openly.


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28 Jun 2019, 3:20 am

magz wrote:
It's not.
It's just less taboo to hate anyone in Eastern Europe - so if people hate some group, they do it more openly.


Well, the online survey says that they are: https://global100.adl.org/
Or are you saying that Western Europeans can lie in the survey?



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28 Jun 2019, 3:31 am

Luckily, it's not an online survey but a seriously done study.

Yep, I think in Eastern Europe people more easily admit (even to themselves) that they don't like someone.

This study should be compared with similar questions about other nations (I would propose to include one's own, too) to see the background.


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28 Jun 2019, 3:39 am

magz wrote:
Luckily, it's not an online survey but a seriously done study.

Yep, I think in Eastern Europe people more easily admit (even to themselves) that they don't like someone.

This study should be compared with similar questions about other nations to see the background.


I agree. From what I've understood, saying these things aloud is much more socially acceptable in the Eastern parts of Europe than Western (or Northern) parts.



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28 Jun 2019, 4:05 am

Thats a really good point, which leads to the following question. Who enforces the rules of what is socially acceptable and what isn't? Naively, one would expect that in the countries where people are more antisemitic saying antisemitic things will be more acceptable. But, from what you are saying, it doesn't have to be this way. So if its not this way, how does it work exactly?

Is it a sort of thing like the story about the naked king. As in, in the western Europe, each person doesn't realize that everyone else shares the antisemitic views he believes in, so he thinks he is the only one who holds those views?

Or could it be that he realizes that his friends also hold his views, but he is afraid that they don't realize what he realizes so he is afraid that they would choose not to associate with him out of fear of THEIR friends?

Or could it be that everyone realize that everyone else realize all that, but they stick to it as an "excercize in being socially acceptable".

What do you think?



magz
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28 Jun 2019, 4:18 am

It's not about antisemitism. It's about expression of dislike in general, antisemitism is just one of millions possible kinds of dislike. Expressing dislike (of any kind) in Western Europe is very much frowned upon, expressing dislike in Eastern Europe is not.

I suppose in Western Europe more subtle expressions of dislike are the norm - like, "I'm not a huge fan of X" may be used in a situation where an Eastern European would say "X is a piece of sh!t". With standarized questions and answers, the Eastern European will score as hating X more because of using stronger words for the same feelings.

This is why I believe questions about other groups and nations should be asked to give this kind of a cultural background.

Mechanisms that shape cultures are very interesting and probably quite complex.


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28 Jun 2019, 4:28 am

magz wrote:
It's not about antisemitism. It's about expression of dislike in general, antisemitism is just one of millions possible kinds of dislike.


By dislike do you mean dislike of people, or do you mean other things too such as whether or not you had a bad day? Like what if I just whine how I can't get a girlfriend, can't get a job that I want, etc. Even though whining is looked down in all cultures, do you think this would come across "even worse" in the western Europe then it would in the eastern Europe?



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28 Jun 2019, 4:32 am

I won't tell for the whole Eastern and Western Europe but in Poland complaining about virtually everything is a popular social activity - which often astonishes foreigners.


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28 Jun 2019, 4:43 am

magz wrote:
I won't tell for the whole Eastern and Western Europe but in Poland complaining about virtually everything is a popular social activity - which often astonishes foreigners.


Wow, then I would surely be better off in Poland then here in the US. I like to complain about my Asperger and I take every opportunity to do so -- which tends to push people away.

I am originally from Russia, I came to the US when I was 14, which was two years after my mom came (she found a job in the US). Anyway, my mom never told me "look, in Russia complaing is cool, but not here in US". Nope. She just plain out tells me "complaining is bad". I am kind of whondering why is that. Could it be that she purposely withholds that piece of information since she knows I won't be living in Russia any time soon?

Anyway, one thing I DO remember from Russia is that we had long discussions in the Russian literature class about other students, trying to resolve conficts, etc. But when I try to have such long discussion with girls I want to date in the US -- or even with professors I want to work with -- it usually only makes things worse. I often wondered how much of it is the cultural thing and how much of it is an age thing (as in, you will be more willing to have that discussion with kids than with adults).

Here is something recent that happened. Someone mentioned to me that they were warned when they went to Russia that in Russia smiling to strangers is inapproriate. I was rather surprised as to why would they have to be warned about it: I mean its just plain common sense -- like everything has a reason, so if a smile doesn't have any reason, what are you supposed to make of it? But I came from Russia to US all the way back in 1994. So its kinda weird that I have a Russian mindset when it comes to the smile thing despite all those years.

But now that I think of it, I just thought of something interesting. Both in Russia and in US, when you smile, they smile back at you, when you don't smile, they don't smile either. But the reasons are quite different:

1. In Russia

a) If you smile, they think you are weird, so they smile back as in to say "I don't know why you smiled, its weird"
b) If you don't smile, they don't smile either, because its a norm not to smile

2. In the US

a) If you smile, they smile back, because its a norm to smile
b) If you don't smile, they don't smile either, cause they got mad at you for not smiling

What keeps pissing me off is 2b. You see, even though I don't see a reason for myself to be smiling, I sort of expect others to smile at me, and then I get pissed that they don't. So I guess I kind of absorbed combination of both cultures -- in the particular way that would piss me off the most.



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29 Jun 2019, 5:50 am

Ok

So you (the original poster) are essentially a cultural east European. Western Europe and North America are foriegn cultures to you.

So youre not really asking "why are eastern Europeans more antisemitic then western europeans".

You are really asking "why are West Europeans less antisemitic than East Eurpeans?". Since East European attitudes (about everything) are the norm for you.

Hate to say it, but Eastern Europe is more primitive a place then western Europe. The whole region was primitive to start with, and was held back by seventy years of Soviet domination. History stopped for seventy years, and now all of the nations of the region are picking up where they left off (already behind) from almost a century ago, and - building upon nineteenth centurey attitudes of hyper nationalism that were current before the two World Wars. Western europe moved on after the war, and moved away from hyper nationalism. Also the War itself, and the Holocaust, demonstrated the cost of bigotry. So the lesson taken was that hatreds, like antisemitism, are wrong. Eastern Europe, ruled by the anti semitic USSR, did not allow that obvious lesson to be learned.

If you go back in time centuries ago Western European nations were just as bad as Eastern Europe is now. Which goes to what I said above- the east is just more primitive.

King Henry V expelled Jews from England, and Jews (along with heretics and witches) were burned at the stake in the late middle ages.
+++++++++++++++++

Interesting that you perceive a cultural difference between east and west in how acceptable it is to "complain" about things.

In the US most Jews are of the Ashkenazi branch- Jews from Eastern Europe (Poland, Russia, Balkans).

Among Americans (jews and Gentiles alike) there is a stereotype, and a running joke, about Jews being into "kvetching". To "kvetch" is the Yiddish word for "complaining".

But apparently what youre saying: its not really a "Jewish" trait. Its really an Eastern European trait. All East Europeans (Slavic Gentiles, and Jews alike) use complaining as a thing in conversation in ways that Anglosaxon Americans dont use it. Russian and Polish Gentiles apparently also "kvetch" all of the time (except that they dont use the Yiddish word to label it, but thats what theyre all doing).

Between about 1880 and about 1930 there was a huge influx of immigrants into the US from Eastern Europe. Both East European Jews and East European Gentiles. Both groups were disliked alien groups to the native born core Americans (mostly of west european ancestry). Jews and Gentiles alike from Eastern Europe were considered wierdo foreigners. But I digress. My point is that my guess is that east european immigrant groups all differed from north americans at the start, but varied in which traits that they assimilated to the American way of doing thing, and in which things from the old country they clung too. And that Ashkenazi Jews cling to the habit of "kvetching" - which causes Americans (both the Jews themselves, and their Gentile friends and nieghbors) to wrongly consider it to be a Jewish culture trait, when its really a pan East European thing.



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29 Jun 2019, 10:57 am

naturalplastic wrote:
Ok

So you (the original poster) are essentially a cultural east European. Western Europe and North America are foriegn cultures to you.

So youre not really asking "why are eastern Europeans more antisemitic then western europeans".

You are really asking "why are West Europeans less antisemitic than East Eurpeans?". Since East European attitudes (about everything) are the norm for you.


Actually I am of Jewish background myself. Although I am a Messianic Jew, meaning I believe in Jesus yet I still follow Jewish laws -- and I attend Messianic congregations where thats what people do.

naturalplastic wrote:
Hate to say it, but Eastern Europe is more primitive a place then western Europe. The whole region was primitive to start with, and was held back by seventy years of Soviet domination. History stopped for seventy years, and now all of the nations of the region are picking up where they left off (already behind) from almost a century ago, and - building upon nineteenth centurey attitudes of hyper nationalism that were current before the two World Wars.


So you are assuming that, under communism, the whole progress simply stopped. But that is just not true. Look at education for example. Russian education is far better than American education by far. Was it the case 70 years ago? Nope. In fact, back then vast majority of people were uneducated. So this is something communists accomplished. Likewise you have lots of soviet scientists but there weren't nearly as many of them back in the 19-th century. I guess they "were" Russian poets from 19-th century (Pushkin) but it didn't stop in the soviet times, you have soviet writers and poets too (Pasternak, Mandelshtam, etc)

As far as "primitive" goes, I have some examples of that. I spent few years in India and, over there, people probably haven't heard too much about "Jews" altogether. Well, thats primitive. But in Eastern Europe its the opposite to that. Over there people know A LOT about Jews -- a lot more than in the West. Americans never even heard of the way you can tell a Jew by the shape of their nose for example, Americans think that being a Jew is just a religion -- which just shows that they never thought about it: if being a Jew doesn't have an ethnic component, what is then the point of Israel, which they happened to support? But in Eastern Europe people thought about it a whole lot more, they all know how to tell a Jew from physical looks. So how can that be "primitive"?

naturalplastic wrote:
Western europe moved on after the war, and moved away from hyper nationalism. Also the War itself, and the Holocaust, demonstrated the cost of bigotry. So the lesson taken was that hatreds, like antisemitism, are wrong. Eastern Europe, ruled by the anti semitic USSR, did not allow that obvious lesson to be learned.


First of all, contrary to American misconception, the MAIN allied force in the war was Soviet Union rather than the US. So its a really good question as to why the US -- which is on the other side of the globe -- became more affected by the holocaust that largely happened in the eastern european terriotory.

I guess your answer to this is "anti semitic USSR" part. But the part that you miss is that, orignal commuists were mostly Jews. Its true that eventually it was no longer Jewish since Stalin -- who wasn't a Jew -- threw away his Jewish opponents. But simply saying "well, late communists weren't Jewish" doesn't explain why they were "more" antisemitic then western europeans -- who weren't Jewish either. Thats why it seems like the issue isn't communism as such but rather eastern european attitude that predates it -- and communists simply inheritted it.

By the way, if you ask Poles and others from parts of USSR other than Russia proper, they would hate Jews for the fact that Jews started communism. Yet, if you ask Russians, they would hate Jews for the fact that Jews ENDED communism. So thats why it feels like it goes deeper than that. If you hate Jews both for starting and ending communism, then maybe there is some deeper issues -- that has nothing to do with communism -- and the communism just gave a context for them to come to the surface.

naturalplastic wrote:
King Henry V expelled Jews from England, and Jews (along with heretics and witches) were burned at the stake in the late middle ages.


I just looked him up and it says he lived in 16 September 1386 – 31 August 1422. Well, thats not time period I was thinking of. I was more thinking of 19-th and 20-th century. Like in the 19-th century pogroms were in the eastern europe, but not in the western. Yes, western europe was antisemitic in 19-th century too, but eastern europe seemed to be more so, as evident by pogroms. So I was asking why.

As far as several centuries prior to that, I agree with you, back then things were different. After all, spanish inquisition was in the western europe -- not eastern europe -- and they were the main ones that targetted Jews. But what happened between that time and 19-th century that caused eastern europe to become more antisemitic?

naturalplastic wrote:
Interesting that you perceive a cultural difference between east and west in how acceptable it is to "complain" about things.


If you read the way this discussion went, it was originally not my idea, rather it was magz' idea -- and she is Polish herself. But once she put that idea out there, I realized I might agree with it, which is why I elaborated on it. But thats not what I was thinking about when I started my OP. But now that she put it out there, why not think about it too? I like to look at all sides in order to get the better picture of what is going on.

naturalplastic wrote:
In the US most Jews are of the Ashkenazi branch- Jews from Eastern Europe (Poland, Russia, Balkans).

Among Americans (jews and Gentiles alike) there is a stereotype, and a running joke, about Jews being into "kvetching". To "kvetch" is the Yiddish word for "complaining".

But apparently what youre saying: its not really a "Jewish" trait. Its really an Eastern European trait. All East Europeans (Slavic Gentiles, and Jews alike) use complaining as a thing in conversation in ways that Anglosaxon Americans dont use it. Russian and Polish Gentiles apparently also "kvetch" all of the time (except that they dont use the Yiddish word to label it, but thats what theyre all doing).

Between about 1880 and about 1930 there was a huge influx of immigrants into the US from Eastern Europe. Both East European Jews and East European Gentiles. Both groups were disliked alien groups to the native born core Americans (mostly of west european ancestry). Jews and Gentiles alike from Eastern Europe were considered wierdo foreigners. But I digress. My point is that my guess is that east european immigrant groups all differed from north americans at the start, but varied in which traits that they assimilated to the American way of doing thing, and in which things from the old country they clung too. And that Ashkenazi Jews cling to the habit of "kvetching" - which causes Americans (both the Jews themselves, and their Gentile frieinds and nieghbors) to wrongly consider it to be a Jewish culture trait, when its really a pan East European thing.


Actually I noticed other examples where Jews and Eastern Europeans deviate from the West in the same direction, yet Jews deviate even more. For example, Jewish mothers are known to be overprotective -- yet the same is true of Russian mothers, even if they aren't Jewish. Also, when I go to the Messianic congregation and they give us supposedly "Jewish" food, I notice that it is basically a hybrid between Russian food and American food. Also being late is a good example. There is a joke "if you are Russian, you will come 1 hour late, if you are Jewish, you will come 1 hour late, if you are Jew from Russia, you will come 2 hours late". So in some sense it is ironic that eastern europeans hate Jews more since -- in terms of personality traits -- Jews would stand out a lot more in Western Europe.

But then again, antisemites have a lot in common with Jews too: Jews claim that they are being persecutted by the antisemites, and antisemites claim they are being persecutted by the Jews. So both sides have persecution complex.

However, in case of antisemites -- well, at least Christian antisemites -- they view themselves as martyrs rather than victimes. I mean think of the mark of the beast for example: do Christians say they are victims? Far from it, they think they will be brave for having courage to get a guillitone instead of taking the mark. Similarly, if you talk about antisemites, they aren't saying "we are poor persecutted ones please help us". Rather they are saying "we were oppressed by the Jews, its time to rise and throw away our oppressors". But in case of the Jews its not their attitude at all, not by the long shot. Jews very much "do" ravel in their victim status. Which is actually ironic: because if you look at the Old Testament, you will find a lot of warrier type attitude as opposed to victim attitude. So I guess today's Jews (or the Jews for the past 2000 years for that matter) don't really follow their Old Testament examples, and Christians are a lot closer to that, attitude-wise anyway.

In any case, back to the issue about Jews being more similar to Eastern Europe then to Western Europe, yet in Eastern Europe they hate them more, sometimes I thought that maybe the Jewish "individuals" face dislike from Western Europeans for their "traits" -- but Western Europeans never realize those are "Jewish" traits. For example, in my case I have Asperger, yes, but one thing that made it worse is that I am the only child, of a Jewish parents, and was spoiled. So being spoiled makes it a lot harder to get along with Americans, but it would never cross their mind that it has anything to do with my being Jewish -- yet they dislike me all the same, just label it different (they view me as some combination of being "Russian" and having Asperger). Or here is even better example. I remember one American told me that maybe the reason people don't talk to me as much is because I "don't look American". And so I asked what did she mean. And then she mentioned that I have dark hair, dark eyes, slightly bent nose. But you see, those are all Jewish traits. But she didn't know it. She thought those were "Russian" traits.

By the way, when I watched the film "eternal Jew" it started from showing how Jewish rooms are really messy. Well, my room is messy too, just like in that movie. Which is kinda funny. Because, as a Christian, I am rebelling against Jewish rejection of Christ, yet here are all those other Jewish traits that I still have and don't bother fixing. I am the only one in my family that came to Christ, yet my mom is the one who tells me off for being too messy (but then again she is messy too, but she is too busy trying to control me, and won't fix her own room, so go figure).



magz
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29 Jun 2019, 11:33 am

It is a very interesting questions, why so many pogroms happened in Tsarist Russia. I suspect a very unrest society of the time... but I don't really know.
Poland was different in this case, despite friction between populations, pogroms didn't happen here before the WWII except for a wartime incident in Minsk (now Belarus).

Post WWII antisemitism in Poland has totally different roots: the early People's Republic of Poland's authorities, that were establishing the Soviet-ruled puppet state after the WWII, contained many Jews who fled from the Nazis to Soviet Union and came back with the new order after the war.
When, after Stalin's death, another faction of the party wanted to gain the power, they wanted to hold their predecessors responsible for Stalin-time crimes, they were accused of antisemitism and these accusations were successful and the perperators were never held accountable (see the example of Helena Wolińska-Brus, prototype of Wanda form Ida).
Inability to hold individuals accountable for their crimes because of accusations of antisemitism propelled real antisemitism, which was used by the other faction of the party (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natolin_faction) to gain power.

Now the issue is more a history than actual reality but, despite the change of political system, there are still descendants of the two former party factions... one accusing everyone of antisemitism, the other trying to use it - in both cases, to gain political power.


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29 Jun 2019, 11:51 am

magz wrote:
It is a very interesting questions, why so many pogroms happened in Tsarist Russia. I suspect a very unrest society of the time... but I don't really know.
Poland was different in this case, despite friction between populations, pogroms didn't happen here before the WWII except for a wartime incident in Minsk (now Belarus).

Post WWII antisemitism in Poland has totally different roots: the early People's Republic of Poland's authorities, that were establishing the Soviet-ruled puppet state after the WWII, contained many Jews who fled from the Nazis to Soviet Union and came back with the new order after the war.
When, after Stalin's death, another faction of the party wanted to gain the power, they wanted to hold their predecessors responsible for Stalin-time crimes, they were accused of antisemitism and these accusations were successful and the perperators were never held accountable (see the example of Helena Wolińska-Brus, prototype of Wanda form Ida).
Inability to hold individuals accountable for their crimes because of accusations of antisemitism propelled real antisemitism, which was used by the other faction of the party (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natolin_faction) to gain power.

Now the issue is more a history than actual reality but, despite the change of political system, there are still descendants of the two former party factions... one accusing everyone of antisemitism, the other trying to use it - in both cases, to gain political power.


Thats a really interesting description of what happened that really shed a lot of light on it. Is it kind of similar to what happened in the US, except that in the US they are polarizing on the race issue while in Poland they are polarizing on the Jewish issue? I mean, in the US, I often see how Democrats falsely accuse Republicans of racism that triggers some real racism as a response to false accusation. It sounds really similar to what you are saying, except that American racism doesn't have Jewish dimension to it.

So back to that history part. You are saying Jews flew from Nazis to Poland? But I was assuming that Jews were already in Poland, and after Nazis conquered Poland they took Jews -- that were already there -- to concentration camps. I also know of a Jewish woman who flew from Poland into Russia proper. But I haven't heard of Jews going "to" Poland, but then again I don't know history that well. So what countries were they going to Poland from, and what prompted them to do it?



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29 Jun 2019, 11:55 am

QFT wrote:
Thats a really interesting description of what happened that really shed a lot of light on it. Is it kind of similar to what happened in the US, except that in the US they are polarizing on the race issue while in Poland they are polarizing on the Jewish issue? I mean, in the US, I often see how Democrats falsely accuse Republicans of racism that triggers some real racism as a response to false accusation. It sounds really similar to what you are saying, except that American racism doesn't have Jewish dimension to it.
Yes, I think it's a similar phenomenon... except for that there are hardly any Jews in Poland nowadays 8O

QFT wrote:
So back to that history part. You are saying Jews flew from Nazis to Poland? But I was assuming that Jews were already in Poland, and after Nazis conquered Poland they took Jews -- that were already there -- to concentration camps. I also know of a Jewish woman who flew from Poland into Russia proper. But I haven't heard of Jews going "to" Poland, but then again I don't know history that well. So what countries were they going to Poland from, and what prompted them to do it?
Taking millions of Jews to concentration camps took time. A lot managed to flee, or at least they tried.
The Jews who also happened to be politically connected communists had quite an obvious direction for their flight.
Some came back after the war to take part in establishing the new order.


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