In “Why the Jews?” my book on anti-Semitism, there is a chapter on anti-Americanism. My co-author, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, and I long ago understood that many of the reasons for Jew-hatred and America-hatred were the same.
Among them are envy of success—material, of course, but even more importantly, success in terms of influence. Another is the religious foundation of both peoples: Both America and the Jews are rooted in belief in God, belief they are a Chosen People and belief in the Bible, especially the Old Testament, as the book from which they derive their values.
America-haters and Jew-haters resent the enormous influence both nations have had on the world, have contempt for their belief in being Chosen and dismiss the Bible as irrelevant and even malevolent.
In the premodern age, Christian anti-Semitism was primarily animated by the charge of deicide—the charge that the Jews killed Christ, a charge that does not have a parallel in anti-Americanism. But beginning in the 20th century, the reasons for the two hatreds converged.
In his recent biography of Adolf Hitler, Brendan Simms, a professor of the history of international relations at Cambridge University, identified Hitler’s hatred of America and especially of capitalism as central to Hitler’s worldview: “Hitler’s principal preoccupation throughout his career was Anglo-America and global capitalism. … Hitler wanted to establish what he considered racial unity in Germany by overcoming the capitalist order and working for the construction of a new classless society.”
In other words, another commonality of America-hatred and modern Jew-hatred has been hatred of capitalism. The Nazis hated America and the Jews, both of whom they identified with capitalism. And the Left (not the liberal, who traditionally loved America, but who has become the primary enabler of the Left) hates America, which it regards as the paragon of capitalism. By becoming the most successful country in history, America, the quintessential capitalist country, remains a living rebuke to everything the Left stands for. If America can be brought down, every left-wing egalitarian dream can be realized.
The question for the America-hater, just as for the Jew-hater, has been: How do we destroy them? What has always rendered anti-Semitism unique among ethnic and religious hatreds was its goal of extermination. No other ethnic bigotry is exterminationist. Regarding America, the Left does not seek to exterminate Americans; the idea is ludicrous, since most of those on the Left who loathe America are themselves American. What the Left does very much seek is to destroy America as we have known it—the capitalist and Judeo-Christian enclave of personal freedom.