Anti-Semitism (or antisemitism) is discrimination against, hatred against, or criticism of Jews, Jewish culture, or the state of Israel. As a word it is first recorded in the English language in 1882, but as an idea and argument of hatred examples exist from much earlier times. It was Wilhelm Marr (1819–1904), a German agitator who coined the term "anti-semitism" in 1879.
- 1 Origins of Anti-Semitism
- 2 Blood Libel
- 3 Middle Ages
- 4 1800–1914
- 5 1914–1945
- 6 Soviet Union and anti-semitism (1922–1991)
- 7 Post 1945
- 8 Modern anti-Semitism
- 9 See also
- 10 External links
- 11 Further reading
- 12 References
Origins of Anti-Semitism
The first Christians were Jews, including Jesus Christ. The story of Jesus was remembered and retold in the synagogues. Splits appeared very soon after the death of Jesus between the Pharisees and the Revisionist Jews. The Gospel of John was written quite soon after he and other revisionist Jews were barred from the synagogue by the Orthodox party. The references to Jews in the Gospel according to St John does not refer to Jews as a whole, but to the Pharisees. However, this was not well understood by later readers, and once the early generations of Jews had died out John's gospel was often used to justify acts of anti-Semitism.
One of the oldest instances of anti-Semitic claims was made in the first century AD by Apion who claimed Jews sacrificed Greeks in their temple in a type of accusation known as a "blood libel".
The "Blood libel" myth reappeared in England in 1144, after William of Norwich was found murdered. William was called a martyr and created a second wave of anti-semitism, this time in Europe. It was mostly popularized with the story of Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln, and was even present in the Canterbury Tales. This continued on for many centuries until modern times. This "blood libel" accusation has survived the centuries and is today seen in Islamic anti-Semitic propaganda.
In the Middle Ages, Catholics blamed Jews for the death of Jesus Christ. This fueled Christian antipathy against Jews in most of Europe. This also led to rumors that Jews "desecrated the host" (tortured communion bread as per the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation), and that they "poisoned the wells", leading to the Black Death. Another element that resulted in Jewish persecution was some quotations from the Talmud that had the Rabbis making various claims inferring that the Virgin Mary was a prostitute who had pre-marital relations with a Roman Centurion that resulted in Jesus's birth, and also claimed that Jesus (titled "Yeshu" in the Talmud as an insult) was boiling in hot excrement for all eternity, especially after the Jewish convert Nicolas Donin exposed these passages in 1239. It didn't help that Christians expelled practitioners of Judaism from various places. Professing Jews were expelled from England in 1290, from France in 1306, and from Spain in 1492 and Portugal in 1496. (Those who converted to Christianity could remain.) Many went to Holland and Poland. Napoleon removed most of the restrictions that kept Jews in ghettoes in Germany.
Secular nationalism became a trend in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. As a result, anti-Semitism was transformed in the 19th century from a matter of religion to a matter of language and culture. Each "nation" rediscovered its historic language and culture and tried to establish a national homeland. However, this did not remove old biases against Jews in Europe. In most cases, Jews were excluded or distrusted and were not treated as part of the cultural center but as part of the periphery. Anti-Semitic references were common in the popular literature of both the 19th and early 20th centuries. It became more "scientific", and often connected with pseudo-scientific racial theories. The most notable example being the theory of evolution.
Historians have long debated whether or not the Anti-Semitism of imperial Germany directly prepared the ideological climate for Nazism. One way of testing the thesis of direct continuity is to examine how Judeophobes proposed to solve the "Jewish problem" in the Second Reich, 1870-1914. At that time, most anti-Semites stopped short of calling for the exclusion of Jews from German society, and in fact, many advocated full integration. A handful of exclusionists, believing in the preordained struggle with the Jews and being pessimistic about getting them to leave Germany, did, however, plant the seeds of genocide.
Leftist scholars examining the connection between socialism and anti-Semitism before 1914 generally have assumed that capitalist exploitation of the workers was responsible for the "Jewish question," and that the labor movement was largely immune to anti-Semitism. At a deeper level, factors such as retarded economic development in Central and Eastern Europe, Christian cultural traditions, the fragility of political liberalism outside Western Europe, the intensity of national conflicts, and the quality of leadership and class consciousness among the proletariat led to anti-Semitism in Germany, Russia, France, and Britain before 1914.
The national government of the Austro-Hungarian Empire deliberately protected Jews from violent Anti-Semitism. However, popular antipathy toward Jews was more deeply rooted and stubborn in Austria than in most European countries. Reasons included slow development of a secular, pluralist society based on individual rights and open career opportunities; survival of corporatist ideas of economic organization; replacement of the multinational ideal of the Austro-Hungarian Empire by political division and ethnic antagonism; and the conspicuous role of individual Jews in finance capitalism, mass media, arts, and radical politics.
Karl Lueger, the popular mayor of Vienna (1897–1910) and routinely used high powered Anti-Semitic rhetoric. It caught the attention of one young resident, Adolf Hitler, who had come from Linz. But there was no action takes against Jews, who played a major role in Vienna's cultural and business life. Lueger operated within a strong national government that tolerated Jews. The Habsburg dynasty did not allow significant anti-Jewish actions in its domains. The inviolate character of the Rechtsstaat and of a political culture based on law still existed. Mass violence within this political system was rare, and economic life was not yet caught up in the disastrous economic cycles of the post-1918 era. All these structural factors were serious barriers to the translation of anti-Semitic rhetoric in Vienna from words into deeds during the Habsburg era. In the 1930s, however, as Austria became culturally and politically dominated by its northern neighbor, Vienna became increasingly hostile, and many Jews fled even before the Nazis marched in and took over in 1938.
Anti-Semitism was an integral part of the political platform of the Austrian Socialist Left before 1914. Given the depths of anti-Jewish feelings among the Austrian masses, the Socialists endeavored to woo the working class from right-wing political parties through employing the latter's anti-Semitic arguments concerning Jewish control of the Austrian economy. This approach was even utilized by such Socialists of Jewish background as Victor Adler. Once Lueger's anti-Semitic party gained control of the Vienna municipal government in 1897, the Socialist press attacked him and his associates for their alleged lack of fidelity to their anti-Semitic principles through covert dealings with the Jewish upper class.
Alone among the major European nations, Russia in the 19th century did not emancipate its Jewish subjects. Popular anti-Semitism (which had an anti-capitalist bias) proceeded from, and flourished with the support of, anti-Jewish laws and official policies that tried either to forcibly integrate Jews into or to segregate them from the rest of Russian society - especially rural society. Pogroms – systematic slaughters of thousands of Jews in certain areas — happened in clusters, as in 1881-82 and 1905–06, and were related to severe political crises involving the issue of Jewish emancipation.
Anti-Semitism played a far smaller role in Italy than in other European countries. One possible explanation is the high degree of assimilation achieved by the Italian Jewish community. However, assimilation elsewhere in Europe was not a bar to anti-Semitism. A more plausible reason is the lateness of industrialization, which meant that the lower middle classes did not fall victim to the economic and social anxieties experienced by the petite bourgeoisie of Germany and France. Other factors are the extremely small numbers of Italian Jews, the ethnically homogeneous nature of the Italian population, which meant that the Italians did not suffer from the paranoid insecurity of Germans who were confronted by large minorities within their borders, and Italy's long history of not succumbing to xenophobia and its weak race consciousness.
Alfred Dreyfus (1859–1935) was a Jewish officer in the French Army falsely accused of spying in the 1890s. The Dreyfuss Affair became a central issue in French politics, with critics like Émile Zola—who creed "J'accuse"—insisting it was a miscarriage of justice brought by a conspiracy of Catholic army officers. Dreyfuss was proven innocent and released in 1899.
Anti-Semitism was the core belief of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis (National Socialists), helping them gain power in Germany in 1933 and leading to their murder of six million Jews during the Holocaust of World War II.
American aviator Charles Lindbergh disparaged Jews at a critical debate over intervention in the war in Europe in 1940. He led the "America First" movement opposed to war. He suggested the drive to war was orchestrated by Jews and would hurt the U.S.
Soviet Union and anti-semitism (1922–1991)
- See also: Atheism and anti-semitism and Left-wing Anti-Semitism#20th century: Stalinist anti-Semitism
Following World War II there was a steady decline of anti-Semitism, and a virtual disappearance of discrimination against Jews, in North America and Western Europe. Despite an apparent resurgence in Russia and Eastern Europe after the collapse of communism and occasional outbreaks elsewhere, anti-Semitism outside the Middle East by the early 1990s was only one - and a relatively minor - type of the xenophobia found in multiethnic, multicultural societies.
Anti-Semitism was in total disrepute after the fall of Nazi Germany in 1945. After 1945 Anti-Semitism was not significantly greater in Germany than in Britain or France. For some years after 1945, the overwhelming majority of Jews in Germany were refugees and displaced persons from the East. Most of them emigrated to Israel, North and South America, or Australia, leaving behind small numbers who would not or could not leave. Some German Jews had "assimilated" and were criticized by Eastern Jews as being too lax in their religious observance, but all Jews faced problems arising from questions of reparations and remembrances of the Holocaust. Democratic West Germany admitted its guilt and made large-scale financial reparations to Israel. Communist East Germany, however, denied everything, opposed Israel and promoted anti-Semitism as the Nazis before them had.
Republican President Richard Nixon hurt his reputation after recordings of informal conversations laden with racial slurs and invective known as the Watergate Tapes were made public. These informal comments about Jewish control of the media and calling Robert Vesco "a cheap kike" among other comments suggested to Nixon critics that his views were informed by a mistrust of Jewish culture. Nixon defenders note his support of Israel during the Yom Kippur War and his many Jewish friends and associates such as Henry Kissinger, Herb Stein and others.
In 1984, Democrat Party presidential candidate, and noted liberal, Jesse Jackson uttered anti-Semitic slurs to a reporter for the Washington Post when discussing the state of African-American and Jewish relations, which had been a key New Deal Coalition for half a century. Jackson is reported to have referred to Jews as "Hymies", and to New York City as "Hymietown". Jackson apologized, but it was never forgotten. Mayor Ed Koch even said that any Jews who vote for Jackson in 1988 were "crazy".
The Left has falsely tried to claim that most anti-Semitism comes from the Right, and that it is increasing, something the Israeli government has rejected.
The U.S. State Department Report on Global Anti-Semitism in 2005 said this about the current state of anti-Semitism worldwide:
- Beginning in 2000, verbal attacks directed against Jews increased while incidents of vandalism... surged. Physical assaults including beatings, stabbings and other violence against Jews in Europe increased markedly, in a number of cases resulting in serious injury and even death. Also troubling is a bias that spills over into anti-Semitism in some of the left-of-center press and among some intellectuals.
- The United States is frequently included as a target of such attacks, which often assert that U.S. foreign policy is made in Israel or that Jews control the media and financial markets in the United States and the rest of the world. ...Similarly, allegations that Jews were behind the 9/11 attacks were widely disseminated, especially in the Islamic world.
In the United States, Democratic Senator Ernest Hollings was recently ostracized for public criticism of the Bush Administration  considered to be anti-Semitic. On March 3, 2003 Rep. James Moran (D-Va.) said, "If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this". Moran has since made further anti-semitic comments. Some supporters of the anti-Iraq War movement have been accused of anti-Semitism, including a group known as ANSWER-Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, one of the first organizations formed to protest the policies of the Bush administration after 9/11.
Liberal activist Cindy Sheehan, though she found popular support among leftists and the mainstream media, was condemned for her outspoken anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Sheehan traveled to Venezuela  to appear with Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez to denounce U.S. foreign policy which she blames as responsible for the death of her son.
Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter has recently come under much criticism for his writings and comments that have been viewed as anti-Semitic. In his book, "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid", Carter endorsed Islamic terrorism against Israel as a tactic to achieve political ends. The sentiment was widely criticized by people across the political spectrum. In early 2007, it was revealed that Carter once complained there were "too many Jews" on the U.S. government's Holocaust Memorial Council. The council's former executive director, Monroe Freedman, also revealed that a noted Holocaust scholar who was a Presbyterian Christian was rejected from the council's board by Carter because the scholar's name "sounded too Jewish." 
While the contemporary American left's hatred for Jews and Jewish traditions has been documented, others who were on the right have been ostracized by conservative commentators. William F. Buckley, Jr., founder and publisher of the National Review said of Reform Party presidential candidate and former Nixon speechwriter Patrick Buchanan, "I find it impossible to defend Pat Buchanan against the charge that what he did and said during the period under examination amounted to anti-Semitism..." referring to comments Buchanan made regarding the U.S. involvement in the first Gulf War which lead to military action against Saddam Hussein and Iraq.
The number of anti-Semitic incidents in Britain increased by 34 percent in 2006.
Swastikas have been carved into several cornfields in the United States. A 130-foot-square swastika was carved into a field in July 1998. A bigger 600-by-600 foot version of the Nazi symbol was found in a nearby cornfield almost a year later. In September 2007, a giant swastika covering several acres was discovered.
Anti-Semitism and the Left
- See also: Left-wing Anti-Semitism
Anti-semitism has been growing rapidly at a phenomenal rate in Liberal countries, especially European countries.
It has also been growing amongst liberals in the United States of America, The Institute for Jewish & Community Research, did a study of who is anti-Semitic, and found that people who identify as Democrats are consistently more likely to believe any anti-Semitic belief than are Republicans. The data from the survey also revealed a connection between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. This is important since liberals are more likely to be anti-Zionist than conservatives. The study found that the young, who are more likely to be liberal, are also more likely to be anti-Semites than people over age 35. The study found that more than 75% of Democrats hold at least one anti-Semitic belief. According to the study 20% of Democrats believe Jews care only about themselves.
Many left-wing anti-Semites claim to love Jews while condemning Zionism and Israel, though their comments in relation to Judaism shown otherwise.
- Wandering Jew
- Blood Libel
- Jules Isaac
- Liberal Christianity#Liberal Christianity's Anti-semitism
- Theory of Fundamentalist anti-Semitism
- Suicide bomber: a personal account
- Left-wing Anti-Semitism
- Christianity and anti-semitism
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