What turned the anti-Semitism that had its profane banal explanations, such as economics and social rivalry, into something lethal was precisely the fact that Jews had “assimilated” so intensely. They were like super-Germans, super-French, super-Englishmen, etc. Because of this, the traditional anti-Semitism that was based on religion no longer had the same effect or resonance. Recourse was made, then, to an argument against which there is no defense, namely race. You cannot change your race; even conversion can’t help you. A Jew remains a Jew under all circumstances, whether he is baptized, becomes totally assimilated or rejects any residual Jewish identity.
Ironically, the argument Jews always used in their apologies was that they were great contributors to their societies. They produced whole volumes about “the Jewish contribution to German culture.” But, of course, this further fed the very anti-Semitism they were trying to counter, because it completely confirmed the feeling that yes, indeed, they were contributing to society – they were totally Judaizing it. — Interview with Dr. Robert Wistrich
Wistrich explains the past and predicts the future in this remarkable piece. Assimilated American Jews in particular need to understand why they are not protected by their “Americanness”.