I’m going to try and be objective here, so obviously a lot of this is not how I personally view things. However, I think it’s important to understand some of the negative ways that we are viewed in order to help foster more understanding and hence less hate.
I had very little understanding of what it was to be a Jew before I met my husband, having not knowingly been acquainted with any Jews prior. So yes, ignorant is definitely the word. All I really knew about Jews was that they didn’t eat pork, didn’t believe in the ‘New Testament’, and were often persecuted. That is all.
There are lots of negative stereotypes ascribed to Jews, being a favourite minority for scapegoating throughout the ages.
Jews are too insular. The strong focus on intra-community support has been a big factor contributing to persecution. It has also been a central factor as to why Jews have survived. From the outside it can look as though non-Jews are less important to Jews than their own community, contributing to the stereotype that Jews consider themselves the ‘Holy’ race. This is tricky, because the Jews were set aside to be ‘a kingdom of priests and a holy nation’, but this mission must be tempered with a large dose of humility, otherwise…well…Nevi’im. Being a minority it is dangerous to lose focus on the bigger community. Petty intra-community squabbles (‘oh those South African Jews are no good, they’ve really changed the character of the local school’) are really ridiculous. Supporting Jewish charities is commendable, because if we are not for ourselves, who will be? But all people are deserving of justice.
Jews always make everything about the holocaust. This is a pretty common one obviously. What many non-Jews fail to understand is that the Shoah is talked about so much in order to ensure it is remembered and hence the chance of it happening again is minimised. I find that referring to all the groups that were slaughtered can help minimise the eye-rolling. Some don’t wish to acknowledge that it was real so ongoing education about it is essential. I suppose it is partly due to a lack of resilience on the part of the Holocaust-deniers, i.e. they have trouble comprehending the depravity of such an event and so minimise it. Mostly though it is just pure Jew-Hatred, because weak people need someone to blame for all the bad things that happen to them.