A stranger walks in, your eyes meet; you don't know his name, nationality, employment history or preferred language, but with a chilling certainty you know that you despise him. Upon being formally introduced you are comforted to realize that your instincts were spot on; every meeting with your nemesis only serves to further confirm your initial impression — the guy really is loathsome.

Dispassionate analysis would show that the dislike comes first. No one wishes to seem irrational, so we subconsciously seek evidence to reaffirm our prejudices.

1940. Berlin. A gang of Nazis surround an elderly Jew. "All right Jewboy, who caused the war?"

He might be scared, but he isn't stupid. "The Jews," and after a brief pause, "and the motorcyclists."

They don't get it. "Why the motorcyclists?"

"Why the Jews?"

Try to explain the phenomenon of anti-Semitism.

Jew hatred is the one constant of history. "Jews are rich exploiters conniving with each other," contrasts with "Jews are lice infested vermin, squabbling among the squalor." Neither justifies the persecution, but then again, the hatred came first, the rationale is just an excuse.

Building a security fence, targeted assassinations, settlements activity, do these cause terrorism? Clearly not: the first two are in response to terror, while the PLO charter calling for Israel's total destruction predates the territorial liberation of the Six Day War.

The true cause of Jew hatred can only be explained by the statement, "Esau hates Jacob,"1 not for what he did — but for who he is.

Unpalatable as the knowledge may seem, our enemies need no excuse to despise us. Conversely, surrendering to their demands doesn't prevent hatred; it encourages it.

And so, why bother cowering? I can't stop the hoons from yelling, "Bloody Jew!" as they shoot past me on Nepean Highway, but they're sure not going to stop me walking down the road, head held high and dressed like a Jew.

Jacob sends a message to Esau, "I'm coming home, I've been keeping firm to my faith, and you can hate me, you can attack me, but I’m not changing."

Faced with this spectre of Jewish pride and determination, Esau ducked. He ran straight at Jacob, grabbed him and... kissed him.2 That embrace, for those few seconds, was sincere.

By standing up to irrational enmity and reaffirming our righteousness and self-belief, sometimes even the Esaus forget to hate and momentarily embrace us and our reality.