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A Letter to Michael Douglas Following His Son's Anti-Semitic Experience

04/03/2015 05:25 pm ET | Updated Jun 01, 2015

Dear Michael:

My name is Michael Laitman, and I am a Jew living in Israel. Your Story about the experience your son had had in Southern Europe touched me deeply. I admire your courage to expose what many fear to open, and your fame gives weight to a sensitive issue that requires scrutiny.

As a Russian born Jew, I had my share of anti-Semitic experiences. Like you, they did not weaken me, but helped shape my Jewish identity, eventually leading to my immigration to Israel. You could say that anti-Semites forged my Zionism.

My studies of Science, Philosophy, Kabbalah, and Ontology, have all been part of fashioning a worldview based on Jewish roots, yet entrenched in modern science. I have researched why there is anti-Semitism, and why it never quite vanishes, but keeps finding new pretexts to surface. In two articles that I published in The New York Times, "Who Are You, People of Israel?" and "What We Jews Owe the World," I explained what I would like to share with you now.

For all its different costumes, anti-Semitism has a single root. This root is known neither to Jews nor to anti-Semites. But just as other subconscious urges drive us to do things that seem to make no sense, anti-Semitism needs no rationale in order to emerge. At the first sign of social or financial crisis, it edges up to the surface and the "blame game" against Jews begins.

The only way to heal anti-Semitism is to uproot it from human society altogether. And surprisingly, the victims also hold the cure. All of us, every man, woman, and child is born with a desire for a peaceful, safe, and happy life. Buried deep in the human subconscious is the notion that such a life is possible only when people are empathetic, caring for one another. Just as a family naturally tends to all its members, humanity can thrive only if we tend to each other as kin, instead of as enemies.

Many centuries ago, before the ruin of the Temple and the exile from the land of Israel, the Jewish people cultivated such a society. As a result, deep within us is a latent quality that, if awakened, will enable us to reinstate that kinship. We have forgotten that it exists, and non-Jews have no clue of its existence. And yet, many Jews and non-Jews feely instinctively that Jews are holding something they won't share, but which is vitally important to everyone's survival. This is why especially during hard times, people point the finger at Jews. And because they're angry and frustrated, they are often violent.

That "something" that they feel is the unbreakable bond we share, our ability to maintain a society based on solidarity, empathy, and concern for others. In two words we call it, "mutual guarantee." The ancient Jewish society had been established on the basis of the tenet, "love your neighbor as yourself." This tenet is imperative in our hyper egoistic society, but we have no clue how to ingrain it.

As a result, many people hate Jews, but no one can explain, much less mitigate this hatred. But since we are involuntarily holding within us the quality of mutual guarantee, it is our duty to reawaken it and share it with the world. If we accomplish this, not only will anti-Semitism subside, but every form of hatred will subside, as well.

Since most Jews are unaware of their latent quality, they are reluctant to acknowledge its existence. However, if you were told you had a treasure in your pocket, and you only had to reach into your pocket to discover it, would you hesitate? Just so, we have a life-changing treasure called "mutual guarantee" sleeping in our hearts, but we refuse to reach in and touch it. If we open our hearts just a little, we will discover it inside. Immediately thereafter, we will share it with the world, as this is its intended purpose. This quality has been deposited within us for the benefit of all humankind, not solely for our own.

Dear Michael, I hope that you will want to help spread the message of the bond among us, for our sake and for everybody else's. It will make the future of all Jews, and all of humanity, a safe and happy one.

Sincerely yours,
Michael