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Template:Antisemitism Antisemitism (also spelled anti-semitism or anti-Semitism) is prejudice against or hostility towards Jews often rooted in hatred of their ethnic background, culture, and/or religion. In its extreme form, it "attributes to the Jews an exceptional position among all other civilizations, defames them as an inferior group and denies their being part of the nation[s]" in which they reside.[1] A person who holds such views is called an "antisemite".

Antisemitism may be manifested in many ways, ranging from individual expressions of hatred and discrimination against individual Jews to organized violent attacks by mobs, or even state police, or military attacks on entire Jewish communities. Extreme instances of persecution include the First Crusade of 1096, the expulsion from England in 1290, the Spanish Inquisition, the expulsion from Spain in 1492, the expulsion from Portugal in 1497, various pogroms, the Dreyfus Affair, and perhaps the most infamous, the Holocaust by Nazi Germany.

While the term's etymology might suggest that antisemitism is directed against all Semitic peoples, the term was coined in the late 19th century in Germany as a more scientific-sounding term for Judenhass ("Jew-hatred"),[2] and that has been its normal use since then.[3]


The Roman Catholic historian Edward Flannery distinguished four varieties of antisemitism:[4][page needed]

In addition, from the 1990s, some writers claim to have identified a new antisemitism, a form of antisemitism coming simultaneously from the far left, the far right, and radical Islam, which tends to focus on opposition to Zionism and a Jewish homeland in the State of Israel, and which may deploy traditional antisemitism motifs, including older motifs like the "Blood Libel".[5]

Holocaust denial and Jewish conspiracy theories are also considered a form of antisemitism.[6][7][8][9][10][10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21]

Etymology and usage


Despite the use of the prefix anti-, the terms Semitic and anti-Semitic are not directly opposed to each other. Antisemitism refers specifically to prejudice against Jews alone and in general,[3][22] despite the fact that there are other speakers of Semitic languages (e.g. Arabs, Ethiopians, or Assyrians) and that not all Jews speak a Semitic language.

The term anti-Semitic has been used on occasion to include bigotry against other Semitic-language peoples such as Arabs, but such usage is not widely accepted.[23][24]

Both terms anti-Semitism and antisemitism are in common use. Some scholars favor the unhyphenated form antisemitism to avoid possible confusion involving whether the term refers specifically to Jews, or to Semitic-language speakers as a whole.[25][26][27][28] For example, Emil Fackenheim supported the unhyphenated spelling, in order to "dispel[] the notion that there is an entity 'Semitism' which 'anti-Semitism' opposes."[29]


File:Bookcover-1880-Marr-German uber Juden.jpg

Cover page of Marr's The Way to Victory of Germanicism over Judaism, 1880 edition

Although Wilhelm Marr is generally credited with coining the word "anti-Semitism" (see below), Alex Bein writes that the word was first used in 1860 by the Austrian Jewish scholar Moritz Steinschneider in the phrase "anti-Semitic prejudices".[30] Steinschneider used this phrase to characterize Ernest Renan's ideas about how "Semitic races" were inferior to "Aryan races." These pseudo-scientific theories concerning race, civilization, and "progress" had become quite widespread in Europe in the second half of the 19th century, especially as Prussian nationalistic historian Heinrich von Treitschke did much to promote this form of racism. In Treitschke's writings Semitic was synonymous with Jewish, in contrast to its use by Renan and others.

In 1873 German journalist Wilhelm Marr published a pamphlet "The Victory of the Jewish Spirit over the Germanic Spirit. Observed from a non-religious perspective." ("Der Sieg des Judenthums über das Germanenthum. Vom nicht confessionellen Standpunkt aus betrachtet.")[31] in which he used the word "Semitismus" interchangeably with the word "Judentum" to denote both "Jewry" (the Jews as a collective) and "jewishness" (the quality of being Jewish, or the Jewish spirit). Although he did not use the word "Antisemitismus" in the pamphlet, the coining of the latter word followed naturally from the word "Semitismus", and indicated either opposition to the Jews as a people, or else opposition to Jewishness or the Jewish spirit, which he saw as infiltrating German culture. In his next pamphlet, "The Way to Victory of the Germanic Spirit over the Jewish Spirit", published in 1880, Marr developed his ideas further and coined the related German word Antisemitismusantisemitism, derived from the word "Semitismus" that he had earlier used.

The pamphlet became very popular, and in the same year he founded the "League of Antisemites" ("Antisemiten-Liga"), the first German organization committed specifically to combatting the alleged threat to Germany and German culture posed by the Jews and their influence, and advocating their forced removal from the country.

So far as can be ascertained, the word was first widely printed in 1881, when Marr published "Zwanglose Antisemitische Hefte," and Wilhelm Scherer used the term "Antisemiten" in the January issue of "Neue Freie Presse". The related word semitism was coined around 1885.



Antisemitic caricature by C.Léandre (France, 1898)

The definition of antisemitism has varied over the years depending on the circumstances. Though the general definition of antisemitism is hostility or prejudice against Jews, a number of authorities have developed more formal definitions. Holocaust scholar and City University of New York professor Helen Fein defines it as "a persisting latent structure of hostile beliefs towards Jews as a collective manifested in individuals as attitudes, and in culture as myth, ideology, folklore and imagery, and in actions – social or legal discrimination, political mobilization against the Jews, and collective or state violence – which results in and/or is designed to distance, displace, or destroy Jews as Jews." Elaborating on Fein's definition, Dietz Bering of the University of Cologne writes that, to antisemites, "Jews are not only partially but totally bad by nature, that is, their bad traits are incorrigible. Because of this bad nature: (1) Jews have to be seen not as individuals but as a collective. (2) Jews remain essentially alien in the surrounding societies. (3) Jews bring disaster on their 'host societies' or on the whole world, they are doing it secretly, therefore the antisemites feel obliged to unmask the conspiratorial, bad Jewish character."[32]

Bernard Lewis defines antisemitism as a special case of prejudice, hatred, or persecution directed against people who are in some way different from the rest. According to Lewis, antisemitism is marked by two distinct features: Jews are judged according to a standard different from that applied to others, and they are accused of "cosmic evil." Thus, "it is perfectly possible to hate and even to persecute Jews without necessarily being anti-Semitic" unless this hatred or persecution displays one of the two features specific to antisemitism.[33]

There have been a number of efforts by international and governmental bodies to define antisemitism formally. The U.S. Department of State defines antisemitism in its 2005 Report on Global Anti-Semitism as "hatred toward Jews—individually and as a group—that can be attributed to the Jewish religion and/or ethnicity."[34]

In 2005, the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), then an agency of the European Union, developed a more detailed discussion: "Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities. In addition, such manifestations could also target the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. Antisemitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used to blame Jews for 'why things go wrong'."

The EUMC then listed "contemporary examples of antisemitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere." These included: "Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews; accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group; denying the Holocaust; and accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations. The EUMC provided a controversial [35][36] discussion of ways in which attacking Israel could be antisemitic, e.g.

  • Denying the Jewish people the right to self-determination, e.g. by claiming that the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavor;
  • Applying double standards by requiring of Israel a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation;
  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism (e.g. claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis;
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis;
  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the State of Israel.

However, the EUMC added that criticism of Israel cannot be regarded as antisemitism so long as it is "similar to that leveled against any other country."[37][38]

File:1889 French elections Poster for antisemitic candidate Adolf Willette.jpg

1889 Paris, France elections poster for self-described "candidat antisémite" Adolphe Willette: "The Jews are a different race, hostile to our own... Judaism, there is the enemy!" (see file for complete translation)

Evolution of usage as a term

In 1879, Wilhelm Marr founded the Antisemiten-Liga (Antisemitic League). Identification with antisemitism and as an antisemite was politically advantageous in Europe in the latter 19th century. For example, Karl Lueger, the popular mayor of fin de siècle Vienna, skillfully exploited antisemitism as a way of channeling public discontent to his political advantage.[39] In its 1910 obituary of Lueger, The New York Times notes that Lueger was "Chairman of the Christian Social Union of the Parliament and of the Anti-Semitic Union of the Diet of Lower Austria.[40] In 1895 A. C. Cuza organized the Alliance Anti-semitique Universelle in Bucharest. In the period before World War II, when animosity towards Jews was far more commonplace, it was not uncommon for a person, organization, or political party to self-identify as an antisemite or antisemitic.

The early Zionist pioneer, Judah Leib Pinsker, in a pamphlet written in 1882, said that antisemitism was an inherited predisposition:

Judeophobia is a psychic aberration. As a psychic aberration it is hereditary, and as a disease transmitted for two thousand years it is incurable.' ... 'In this way have Judaism and Anti-Semitism passed for centuries through history as inseparable companions.'... ...'Having analyzed Judeophobia as an hereditary form of demonopathy, peculiar to the human race, and having represented Anti-Semitism as proceeding from an inherited aberration of the human mind, we must draw the important conclusion that we must give' up contending against these hostile impulses as we must against every other inherited predisposition.[41]

In the aftermath of Kristallnacht, Goebbels announced: "The German people is anti-Semitic. It has no desire to have its rights restricted or to be provoked in the future by parasites of the Jewish race."[42]

After Hitler's fall from power, and particularly after the extent of the Nazi genocide of Jews became known, the term "antisemitism" acquired pejorative connotations. This marked a full circle shift in usage, from an era just decades earlier when "Jew" was used as a pejorative term.[43][44] Yehuda Bauer wrote in 1984: "There are no antisemites in the world... Nobody says, 'I am antisemitic.'" You cannot, after Hitler. The word has gone out of fashion."[45]

New antisemitism

In recent years some scholars have advanced the concept of New antisemitism, coming simultaneously from the left, the right, and radical Islam, which tends to focus on opposition to the creation of a Jewish homeland in the State of Israel,[5] and argue that the language of anti-Zionism and criticism of Israel are used to attack the Jews more broadly. In this view, the proponents of the new concept believe that criticisms of Israel and Zionism are often disproportionate in degree and unique in kind, and attribute this to antisemitism.[46] The concept has been criticized by those who argue it is used to stifle debate and deflect attention from legitimate criticism of the State of Israel, and, by associating anti-Zionism with antisemitism, is intended to taint anyone opposed to Israeli actions and policies.[47]

Current situation

A March 2008 report by the U.S. State Department found that there was an increase in antisemitism across the world, and that both old and new expressions of antisemitism persists.[48]

In August 2005, the U.S. expressed concern over anti-Christian and anti-Jewish passages in Pakistani textbooks and termed them as "unacceptable and inciteful".[49]

United States

According to an Anti-Defamation League survey, 14 percent of U.S. residents had antisemitic views. The 2005 survey found that "35 percent of foreign-born Hispanics" and "36 percent of African-Americans hold strong antisemitic beliefs, four times more than the 9 percent for whites".[50]

On April 3, 2006, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights announced its finding that incidents of antisemitism are a "serious problem" on college campuses throughout the United States. The Commission recommended that the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights protect college students from antisemitism through vigorous enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and further recommended that Congress clarify that Title VI applies to discrimination against Jewish students.[51]

On September 19, 2006, Yale University founded The Yale Initiative for Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism, the first North American university-based center for study of the subject, as part of its Institution for Social and Policy Studies. Director Charles Small of the Center cited the increase in antisemitism worldwide in recent years as generating a "need to understand the current manifestation of this disease".[52]

A 2009 study published in Boston Review found that nearly 25 percent of non-Jewish Americans blamed Jews for the financial crisis of 2008–2009, with a higher percentage among Democrats than Republicans.[53]


Antisemitism has increased significantly in Europe since 2000, with significant increases in verbal attacks against Jews and vandalism such as graffiti, fire bombings of Jewish schools, desecration of synagogues and cemeteries. According to a 2004 study, Germany, France, Britain and Russia are the countries with the highest rate of antisemitic incidents in Europe.[54] The Netherlands and Sweden have also consistently had high rates of antisemitic attacks since 2000.[55]

Much of the new European antisemitic violence can actually be seen as a spill over from the long running Arab-Israeli conflict since the majority of the perpetrators are from the large Muslim immigrant communities in European cities. However, compared to France, the United Kingdom and much of the rest of Europe, in Germany Arab and pro-Palestinian groups are involved in only a small percentage of antisemitic incidents.[54][56] According to The Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism, most of the current antisemitism in Europe, with exceptions to Germany, Austria, and Sweden, comes from militant Islamic and Muslim groups, and most Jews tend to be assaulted in countries where groups of young Muslim immigrants reside.[57]


The Interior Minister of Germany, Wolfgang Schäuble, points out the official policy of Germany: "We will not tolerate any form of extremism, xenophobia or anti-Semitism."[58] Although the number of right-wing groups and organisations grew from 141 (2001)[59] to 182 (2006),[60] especially in the formerly communist East Germany,[58] Germany's measures against right wing groups and antisemitism are effective, despite Germany having the highest rates of antisemitic acts in Europe. According to the annual reports of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution the overall number of far-right extremists in Germany dropped during the last years from 49,700 (2001),[59] 45,000 (2002),[59] 41,500 (2003),[59] 40,700 (2004),[60] 39,000 (2005),[60] to 38,600 in 2006.[60] Germany provided several million Euros to fund "nationwide programs aimed at fighting far-right extremism, including teams of traveling consultants, and victims' groups."[61]

Despite these facts, former Israeli ambassador to Germany Shimon Stein warned in October 2006 that Jews in Germany feel increasingly unsafe, saying that they "are not able to live a normal Jewish life" and that heavy security surrounds most synagogues or Jewish community centers.[61] Yosef Havlin, rabbi at the Chabad Lubavitch Frankfurt does not agree with the Israeli ambassador and states in an interview with Der Spiegel magazine in September 2007 that the German public does not support Nazis; instead he has personally experienced the support of Germans, and as a Jew and rabbi he "feels welcome in his (hometown) Frankfurt, he is not afraid, the city is no-go-area".[62] Despite this comment, on the 11 September 2007 an antisemitic incident occurred whereby Frankfurt Rabbi, Zalman Gurevitch, was stabbed repeatedly, the attacker subsequently threatening in German "I'll kill you, you (expletive) Jew."[63]

The Netherlands

The Netherlands has had consistently high rates of antisemitic attacks since 2000.[64] Anti-semitic incidents, from verbal abuse to violence, are reported, allegedly connected with islamic youth, mostly boys from Moroccan descent. According to the Centre for Information and Documentation on Israel, a pro-Israel lobby group in the Netherlands, in 2009, the number of anti-Semite incidents in Amsterdam, the city that is home to most of the approximately 40,000 Dutch Jews, was said to be doubled compared to 2008.[65] In 2010, Raphaël Evers, an orthodox rabbi in Amsterdam, told the norwegian newspaper aftenposten that jews can no longer be safe in the city anymore due to the risk of violent assaults. "Jews no longer feel at home in the city. Many are onsidering aliyah to Israel."[66]


There were recorded well over a 100 antisemitic attacks in in Belgium in 2009. This was a 100% increase from the year before. The perpetrators were usually young males of immigrant background from the Middle East. In 2009, the Belgian city of Antwerp, often referred to as Europe's last shtetl, experienced a surge in antisemittic violence. Bloeme Evers-Emden, an Antwerp resident and Auschwitz survivor, was quoted in the newspaper Aftenposten in 2010. "The Antisemitism now is even worse than before the Holocaust. The antisemitism has become more violent. Now they are threatening to kill us."[67]

United Kingdom

In 2005 the UK Parliament set up an all-party inquiry into antisemitism, which published its findings in 2006. The inquiry stated that "until recently, the prevailing opinion both within the Jewish community and beyond [had been] that antisemitism had receded to the point that it existed only on the margins of society." It found a reversal of this progress since 2000. It aimed to investigate the problem, identify the sources of contemporary antisemitism and make recommendations to improve the situation. It discussed the influence of the Israel-Palestine conflict and issues of anti-Israel sentiment versus antisemitism at length and noted "most of those who gave evidence were at pains to explain that criticism of Israel is not to be regarded in itself as antisemitic. The Israeli government itself may, at times, have mistakenly perceived criticism of its policies and actions to be motivated by antisemitism."[68][page needed]

On January 1, 2006, Britain's chief rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks, warned that what he called a "tsunami of antisemitism" was spreading globally. In an interview with BBC's Radio Four, Sacks said: "A number of my rabbinical colleagues throughout Europe have been assaulted and attacked on the streets. We've had synagogues desecrated. We've had Jewish schools burnt to the ground – not here but in France. People are attempting to silence and even ban Jewish societies on campuses on the grounds that Jews must support the state of Israel, therefore they should be banned, which is quite extraordinary because ... British Jews see themselves as British citizens. So it's that kind of feeling that you don't know what's going to happen next that's making ... some European Jewish communities uncomfortable."[69]


France is home to Western Europe’s largest Muslim population (about 4 million) as well as the continent’s largest Jewish community (about 600,000). Jewish leaders decry an intensifying antisemitism in France, mainly among Muslims of Arab or African heritage, but also growing among Caribbean islanders from former French colonies.[70] However, it is Muslims rather than Jews who can expect to suffer more from bigotry in France, stated Holocaust survivor and former French cabinet minister Simone Veil. "Let's not exaggerate," she said. While noting that radical Islamists are behind some violent incidents against Jews in certain French neighbourhoods, "Anti-Arab sentiment is much stronger in France than anti-Semitism." France's Jewish community is much more integrated than its 5 to 6 million Muslims, she noted, claiming Muslim youth are moved by a militant and anti-Jewish hierarchy.[71] Former Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy denounced the killing of Ilan Halimi on 13 February 2006 as an antisemitic crime.

Jewish philanthropist Baron Eric de Rothschild suggests that the extent of antisemitism in France has been exaggerated. In an interview with The Jerusalem Post he says that "the one thing you can't say is that France is an anti-Semitic country."[72]


In 2010, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation after one year of research, revealed that anti-semitism was common among Norwegian muslims. Teachers at schools with large shares of muslims revealed that muslim students often "praise or admire Adolf Hitler for his killing of Jews", that "Jew-hate is legitimate within vast groups of muslim students" and that "muslims laugh or command [teachers] to stop when trying to educate about the Holocaust". Additionally that "while some students might protest when some express support for terrorism, none object when students express hate of Jews" and that it says in "the Quran that you shall kill Jews, all true muslims hate Jews". Most of these students were said to be born and raised in Norway. One Jewish father also told that his child after school had been taken by a muslim mob (though managed to escape), reportedly "to be taken out to the forest and hung because he was a Jew".[73]


After Germany and Austria, Sweden has the highest rate of antisemitic incidents in Europe. Though the Netherlands reports a higher rate of antisemitism in some years.[74] A government study in 2006 estimated that 15% of Swedes agree with the statement: "The Jews have too much influence in the world today".[75] Five percent of the entire adult population, and 39% of the Muslim population, harbor strong and consistent antisemitic views. Former Prime Minister Göran Persson described these results as "surprising and terrifying". However, the Rabbi of Stockholm's Orthodox Jewish community, Meir Horden claimed that "It's not true to say that the Swedes are anti-Semitic. Some of them are hostile to Israel because they support the weak side, which they perceive the Palestinians to be."[76]

In early 2010, the Swedish publication The Local published series of articles about the growing anti-Semitism in Malmö, Sweden. In an interview in January 2010, Fredrik Sieradzki of the Jewish Community of Malmö stated that “Threats against Jews have increased steadily in Malmö in recent years and many young Jewish families are choosing to leave the city. Many feel that the community and local politicians have shown a lack of understanding for how the city’s Jewish residents have been marginalized.” He also added that "right now many Jews in Malmö are really concerned about the situation here and don’t believe they have a future here.” The Local also reported that Jewish cemeteries and synagogues have repeatedly been defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti, and a chapel at another Jewish burial site in Malmö was firebombed in 2009.[77] In 2009 the Malmö police received reports of 79 anti-Semitic incidents, double the number of the previous year (2008).[78] Fredrik Sieradzki, spokesman for the Malmo Jewish community, estimated that the already small Jewish population is shrinking by 5% a year. “Malmo is a place to move away from,” he said, citing anti-Semitism as the primary reason.[79]

In March 2010, Fredrik Sieradzk told Die Presse, an Austrian Internet publication, that Jews are being "harassed and physically attacked" by "people from the Middle East," although he added that only a small number of Malmo's 40,000 Muslims "exhibit hatred of Jews." Sieradzk also stated that approximately 30 Jewish families have emigrated from Malmo to Israel in the past year, specifically to escape from harassment. Also in March, the Swedish newspaper Skånska Dagbladet reported that attacks on Jews in Malmo totaled 79 in 2009, about twice as many as the previous year, according to police statistics.[80]

In October 2010, The Forward reported on the current state of Jews and the level of Anti-semitism in Sweden. Henrik Bachner, a writer and professor of history at the University of Lund, claimed that members of the Swedish Parliament have attended anti-Israel rallies where the Israeli flag was burned while the flags of Hamas and Hezbollah were waved, and the rhetoric was often anti-Semitic—not just anti-Israel. But such public rhetoric is not branded hateful and denounced. Charles Small, director of the Yale University Initiative for the Study of Anti-Semitism, stated that “Sweden is a microcosm of contemporary anti-Semitism. It’s a form of acquiescence to radical Islam, which is diametrically opposed to everything Sweden stands for.” Per Gudmundson, chief editorial writer for Svenska Dagbladet, has sharply criticized politicians who him claims offer “weak excuses” for Muslims accused of anti-Semitic crimes. “Politicians say these kids are poor and oppressed, and we have made them hate. They are, in effect, saying the behavior of these kids is in some way our fault.” [81] Judith Popinski, and 86-year-old Holocaust survivor, stated that she is no longer invited to schools that have a large Muslim presence to tell her story of surviving the Holocaust. Popinski, who found refuge in Malmo in 1945, stated that, until recently, she told her story in Malmo schools as part of their Holocaust studies program , but that now, many schools no longer ask Holocaust survivors to tell their stories, because Muslim students treat them with such disrespect, either ignoring the speakers or walking out of the class. She further stated that "Malmo reminds me of the anti-Semitism I felt as a child in Poland before the war. “I am not safe as a Jew in Sweden anymore.”[82]

In December 2010, the Jewish human rights organization Simon Wiesenthal Center issued a travel advisory concerning Sweden, advising Jews to express "extreme caution" when visiting the southern parts of the country due to an increase in verbal and physical harassment of Jewish citizens in the city of Malmö. [83]

Middle East

According to a 2005 survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, high percentages of the populations of six Muslim-majority countries have negative views of Jews. In the questionnaire, 60 percent of Turks, 88 percent of Moroccans, 99 percent of Lebanese Muslims and 100 percent of Jordanians said they held "somewhat unfavorable" or "very unfavorable" views of Jews.[84]

Edward Rothstein, cultural critic of The New York Times, writes that some of the dialogue from Middle East media and commentators about Jews bear a striking resemblance to Nazi propaganda.[85] According to Josef Joffe of Newsweek, "anti-Semitism—the real stuff, not just bad-mouthing particular Israeli policies—is as much part of Arab life today as the hijab or the hookah. Whereas this darkest of creeds is no longer tolerated in polite society in the West, in the Arab world, Jew hatred remains culturally endemic."[86]

In the Middle East, anti-Zionist propaganda frequently adopts the terminology and symbols of the Holocaust to demonize Israel and its leaders.

In Egypt, Dar al-Fadhilah published a translation of Henry Ford's antisemitic treatise, The International Jew, complete with distinctly antisemitic imagery on the cover.[87]

The website of the Saudi Arabian Supreme Commission for Tourism initially stated that Jews would not be granted tourist visas to enter the country.[88][89] The Saudi embassy in the U.S. distanced itself from the statement, which was later removed.[90] Members of religions other than Islam, including Jews, are not permitted to practice their religion publicly in Saudi Arabia.

In 2001, Arab Radio and Television of Saudi Arabia produced a 30-part television miniseries entitled "Horseman Without a Horse", a dramatization of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.[91] One Saudi Arabian government newspaper suggested that hatred of all Jews is justifiable.[92]

Saudi textbooks vilify Jews (and Christians and non-Wahabi Muslims): according to the May 21, 2006 issue of The Washington Post, Saudi textbooks claimed by them to have been sanitized of antisemitism still call Jews apes (and Christians swine); demand that students avoid and not befriend Jews; claim that Jews worship the devil; and encourage Muslims to engage in Jihad to vanquish Jews.[93]

The Center for Religious Freedom of Freedom House analyzed a set of Saudi Ministry of Education textbooks in Islamic studies courses for elementary and secondary school students. The researchers found statements promoting hate of Christians, Jews, "polytheists" and other "unbelievers," including non-Wahhabi Muslims. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was taught as historical fact. The texts described Jews and Christians as enemies of Muslim believers and the clash between them as an ongoing fight that will end in victory over the Jews. A map of the Middle East labeled Israel as "Palestine: occupied 1948". Jews were blamed for virtually all the "subversion" and wars of the modern world.[94] A Template:PDFlink of Saudi Arabia's curriculum has been released to the press by the Hudson Institute.

Al-Manar recently aired a drama series, The Diaspora, which observers allege is based on historical antisemitic allegations. BBC correspondents who have watched the program says it quotes extensively from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.[95]

File:Tomorrows Pioneers Assoud.JPG

Tomorrow's Pioneers, a children's program on the Hamas television station, Al-Aqsa TV.

Muslim clerics in the Middle East have frequently referred to Jews as descendants of apes and pigs, which are conventional epithets for Jews and Christians.[96][97] Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais is the leading imam of the Grand mosque located in the Islamic holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia.[98] The BBC aired a Panorama episode, entitled A Question of Leadership, which reported that al-Sudais referred to Jews as "the scum of the human race" and "offspring of apes and pigs", and stated, "the worst [...] of the enemies of Islam are those [...] whom he [...] made monkeys and pigs, the aggressive Jews and oppressive Zionists and those that follow them [...] Monkeys and pigs and worshippers of false Gods who are the Jews and the Zionists."[99] In another sermon, on April 19, 2002, he declared that Jews are "evil offspring, infidels, distorters of [others'] words, calf-worshippers, prophet-murderers, prophecy-deniers [...] the scum of the human race whom Allah cursed and turned into apes and pigs [...]"[100]

On May 5, 2001, after Shimon Peres visited Egypt, the Egyptian al-Akhbar internet paper said that "lies and deceit are not foreign to Jews[...]. For this reason, Allah changed their shape and made them into monkeys and pigs."[101]

In Israel, Zalman Gilichenski has warned about the spread of antisemitism among immigrants from Russia in the last decade.[102]


Ancient world

Examples of antipathy to Jews and Judaism during ancient times are abundant. Statements exhibiting prejudice against Jews and their religion can be found in the works of many pagan Greek and Roman writers.[103] There are examples of Hellenistic rulers desecrating the Temple and banning Jewish religious practices, such as circumcision, Shabbat observance, study of Jewish religious books, etc. Examples may also be found in anti-Jewish riots in Alexandria in the 3rd century BCE. Philo of Alexandria described an attack on Jews in Alexandria in 38 CE in which thousands of Jews died.

The Jewish diaspora on the Nile island Elephantine, which was founded by mercenaries, experienced the destruction of its temple in 410 BCE.[104]

Relationships between the Jewish people and the occupying Roman Empire were at first antagonistic and resulted in several rebellions. According to Suetonius, the emperor Tiberius expelled from Rome Jews who had gone to live there. The 18th century English historian Edward Gibbon identified a more tolerant period beginning in about 160 CE.

James Carroll asserted, "Jews accounted for 10% of the total population of the Roman Empire. By that ratio, if other factors such as pogroms and conversions had not intervened, there would be 200 million Jews in the world today, instead of something like 13 million."[105][106]

Persecutions in the Middle Ages

Template:Jews and Judaism sidebar

From the 9th century CE, the medieval Islamic world classified Jews (and Christians) as dhimmi, and allowed them to practice their religion more freely than they could do in medieval Christian Europe. Under Islamic rule, there was a Golden age of Jewish culture in Spain that lasted until at least the 11th century,[107] when several Muslim pogroms against Jews took place in the Iberian Peninsula; those that occurred in Córdoba in 1011 and in Granada in 1066.[108][109][110] Several decrees ordering the destruction of synagogues were also enacted in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Yemen from the 11th century. Despite the Qur'an's prohibition, Jews were also forced to convert to Islam or face death in some parts of Yemen, Morocco and Baghdad several times between the 12th and 18th centuries.[111] The Almohads, who had taken control of the Almoravids' Maghribi and Andalusian territories by 1147,[112] were far more fundamentalist in outlook, and they treated the dhimmis harshly. Faced with the choice of either death or conversion, many Jews and Christians emigrated.[113][114][115] Some, such as the family of Maimonides, fled east to more tolerant Muslim lands,[113] while some others went northward to settle in the growing Christian kingdoms, where Jews were increasingly forced to convert to Christianity from the 13th century.[116][117]

During the Middle Ages in Europe there was persecution against Jews in many places, with blood libels, expulsions, forced conversions and massacres. A main justification of prejudice against Jews in Europe was religious. The persecution hit its first peak during the Crusades. In the First Crusade (1096) flourishing communities on the Rhine and the Danube were destroyed. In the Second Crusade (1147) the Jews in Germany were subject to several massacres. The Jews were also subjected to attacks by the Shepherds' Crusades of 1251 and 1320. The Crusades were followed by expulsions, including, in 1290, the banishing of all English Jews; in 1396, the expulsion of 100,000 Jews in France; and in 1421, the expulsion of thousands from Austria. Many of the expelled Jews fled to Poland.[118]

As the Black Death epidemics devastated Europe in the mid-14th century, annihilating more than half of the population, Jews were used as scapegoats. Rumors spread that they caused the disease by deliberately poisoning wells. Hundreds of Jewish communities were destroyed. Although Pope Clement VI tried to protect them by the July 6, 1348, papal bull and an additional bull in 1348, several months later, 900 Jews were burned alive in Strasbourg, where the plague had not yet affected the city.[119]

Seventeenth century

During the mid-to-late 17th century the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was devastated by several conflicts, in which the Commonwealth lost over a third of its population (over 3 million people), and Jewish losses were counted in hundreds of thousands. First, the Chmielnicki Uprising when Bohdan Khmelnytsky's Cossacks massacred tens of thousands of Jews in the eastern and southern areas he controlled (today's Ukraine). The precise number of dead may never be known, but the decrease of the Jewish population during that period is estimated at 100,000 to 200,000, which also includes emigration, deaths from diseases and captivity in the Ottoman Empire, called jasyr.[120][121]

Eighteenth century

In 1744, Frederick II of Prussia limited the number of Jews allowed to live in Breslau to only ten so-called "protected" Jewish families and encouraged a similar practice in other Prussian cities. In 1750 he issued the Revidiertes General Privilegium und Reglement vor die Judenschaft: the "protected" Jews had an alternative to "either abstain from marriage or leave Berlin" (quoting Simon Dubnow). In the same year, Archduchess of Austria Maria Theresa ordered Jews out of Bohemia but soon reversed her position, on the condition that Jews pay for their readmission every ten years. This extortion was known as malke-geld (queen's money). In 1752 she introduced the law limiting each Jewish family to one son. In 1782, Joseph II abolished most of these persecution practices in his Toleranzpatent, on the condition that Yiddish and Hebrew were eliminated from public records and that judicial autonomy was annulled. Moses Mendelssohn wrote that "Such a tolerance... is even more dangerous play in tolerance than open persecution."

In 1772, the empress of Russia Catherine II forced the Jews of the Pale of Settlement to stay in their shtetls and forbade them from returning to the towns that they occupied before the partition of Poland.[122]

Nineteenth century

Historian Martin Gilbert writes that it was in the 19th century that the position of Jews worsened in Muslim countries. Benny Morris writes that one symbol of Jewish degradation was the phenomenon of stone-throwing at Jews by Muslim children. Morris quotes a 19th century traveler: "I have seen a little fellow of six years old, with a troop of fat toddlers of only three and four, teaching [them] to throw stones at a Jew, and one little urchin would, with the greatest coolness, waddle up to the man and literally spit upon his Jewish gaberdine. To all this the Jew is obliged to submit; it would be more than his life was worth to offer to strike a Mahommedan."[123]

In 1850 the German composer Richard Wagner published Das Judenthum in der Musik ("Jewishness in Music") under a pseudonym in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik. The essay began as an attack on Jewish composers, particularly Wagner's contemporaries (and rivals) Felix Mendelssohn and Giacomo Meyerbeer, but expanded to accuse Jews of being a harmful and alien element in German culture. Antisemitism can also be found in many of the Grimms' Fairy Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, published from 1812 to 1857. It is mainly characterized by Jews being the villain of a story, such as in “The Good Bargain (Der gute Handel)” and “The Jew Among Thorns (Der Jude im Dorn).”

The Dreyfus Affair was an infamous antisemitic event of the late 19th century and early 20th century. Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish artillery captain in the French army, was accused in 1894 of passing secrets to the Germans. As a result of these charges, Dreyfus was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment at Devil's Island. The actual spy, Marie Charles Esterhazy, was acquitted. The event caused great uproar among the French, with the public choosing sides regarding whether Dreyfus was actually guilty or not. Émile Zola accused the army of polluting the French justice system. However, general consensus held that Dreyfus was guilty: eighty percent of the press in France condemned him. This attitude among the majority of the French population reveals the underlying antisemitism of the time period.[124]

Adolf Stoecker (1835–1909), the Lutheran court chaplain to Kaiser Wilhelm I, founded in 1878 an antisemitic, antiliberal political party called The Christian Social Party (Germany). However, this party did not attract as many votes as the Nazi party, which flourished in part because of The Great Depression, which hit Germany especially hard during the early 1930s.[125]

Twentieth century

File:1904 Russian Tsar-Stop your cruel oppression of the Jews-LOC hh0145s.jpg

Russian Tsar-Stop your cruel oppression of the Jews! (1904)

In the first half of the 20th century, in the USA, Jews were discriminated against in employment, access to residential and resort areas, membership in clubs and organizations, and in tightened quotas on Jewish enrollment and teaching positions in colleges and universities. The Leo Frank lynching by a mob of prominent citizens in Marietta, Georgia in 1915 turned the spotlight on antisemitism in the United States.[126] The case was also used to build support for the renewal of the Ku Klux Klan which had been inactive since 1870.[127]

In the beginning of 20th century, the Beilis Trial in Russia represented incidents of blood libel in Europe. Allegations of Jews killing Christians were used as justification for killing of Jews by Christians.

Antisemitism in America reached its peak during the interwar period. The pioneer automobile manufacturer Henry Ford propagated antisemitic ideas in his newspaper The Dearborn Independent. The radio speeches of Father Coughlin in the late 1930s attacked Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal and promoted the notion of a Jewish financial conspiracy. Such views were also shared by some prominent politicians; Louis T. McFadden, Chairman of the United States House Committee on Banking and Currency, blamed Jews for Roosevelt's decision to abandon the gold standard, and claimed that "in the United States today, the Gentiles have the slips of paper while the Jews have the lawful money."[128]

File:Nazi Anti-Semitic Propaganda by David Shankbone.jpg

Two depictions of Jews used for antisemitic propaganda during Nazi Germany, shown 2007 at Yad Vashem: on the left is a depiction as Capitalist/Communist Vermin, in Der Stürmer, September 1944; on the right is The Eternal Wandering Jew by Gustave Doré from 1852, shown at the exhibition Der Ewige Jude, 1937–1938

In the 1940s the aviator Charles Lindbergh and many prominent Americans led The America First Committee in opposing any involvement in the war against Fascism. During his July 1936 visit he wrote letters saying that there was “more intelligent leadership in Germany than is generally recognized.”

The German American Bund held parades in New York City during the late 1930s, where members wore Nazi uniforms and raised flags featuring swastikas alongside American flags. The U.S. House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) was very active in denying the Bund's ability to operate. With the start of U.S. involvement in World War II most of the Bund's members were placed in internment camps, and some were deported at the end of the war.

Sometimes, during race riots, as in Detroit in 1943, Jewish businesses were targeted for looting and burning.[129]

File:Buchenwald Corpses 60623.jpg

An American soldier stands near a wagon piled high with corpses outside the crematorium in the newly liberated Buchenwald concentration camp

In Germany, according to the historian Hans Mommsen, there were three types of antisemitism. In a 1997 interview, Mommsen was quoted as saying:

"One should differentiate between the cultural antisemitism symptomatic of the German conservatives — found especially in the German officer corps and the high civil administration — and mainly directed against the Eastern Jews on the one hand, and völkisch antisemitism on the other. The conservative variety functions, as Shulamit Volkov has pointed out, as something of a “cultural code.” This variety of German antisemitism later on played a significant role insofar as it prevented the functional elite from distancing itself from the

repercussions of racial antisemitism. Thus, there was almost no relevant protest against the Jewish persecution on the part of the generals or the leading groups within the Reich government. This is especially true with respect to Hitler's proclamation of the “racial annihilation war” against the Soviet Union.

Besides conservative antisemitism, there existed in Germany a rather silent anti-Judaism within the Catholic Church, which had a certain impact on immunising the Catholic population against the escalating persecution. The famous protest of the Catholic Church against the euthanasia program was, therefore, not accompanied by any protest against the Holocaust.

The third and most vitriolic variety of antisemitism in Germany (and elsewhere) is the so-called völkisch antisemitism or racism, and this is the

foremost advocate of using violence."[130]:

In Germany the National Socialist regime of Adolf Hitler, who came to power on 30 January 1933, instituted repressive legislation denying the Jews basic civil rights and instituted a pogrom on the night of 9–10 November 1938, dubbed Kristallnacht, in which Jews were killed, their property destroyed and their synagogues torched.[131] Antisemitic laws, agitation and propaganda were extended to Nazi occupied Europe, in the wake of conquest, often building on local antisemitic traditions. In the east Jews were forced into ghettos in Warsaw, Krakow, Lvov, Lublin and Radom.[132] After the invasion of Russia in 1941 a campaign of mass murder, conducted by the Einsatzgruppen, culminated, between 1942 to 1945, in systematic genocide: the Holocaust.[133] Eleven million Jews were targeted for extermination by the Nazis, and some six million were eventually killed.[133][134][135]

Antisemitism was commonly used as an instrument for personal conflicts in Soviet Russia, starting from conflict between Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky and continuing through numerous conspiracy theories spread by official propaganda. Antisemitism in the USSR reached new heights after 1948 during the campaign against the "rootless cosmopolitan" (euphemism for "Jew") in which numerous Yiddish-writing poets, writers, painters and sculptors were killed or arrested.[136][137] This culminated in the so-called Doctors' Plot. Similar anti-Semitic propaganda in Poland resulted in the flight of the Polish Jewish survivors out of the country.[137]

After the war, the Kielce pogrom and "March 1968 events" in communist Poland represented further incidents of antisemitism in Europe. The common theme behind the anti-Jewish violence in postwar Poland were blood libel rumours.[138][139]

The cult of Simon of Trent was disbanded in 1965 by Pope Paul VI, and the shrine erected to him was dismantled. He was removed from the calendar, and his future veneration was forbidden, though a handful of extremists still promote the narrative as a fact.

Christianity and antisemitism

Religious antisemitism is also known as anti-Judaism. As the name implies, it was the practice of Judaism itself that was the defining characteristic of the antisemitic attacks. Under this version of antisemitism, attacks would often stop if Jews stopped practicing or changed their public faith, especially by conversion to the official or right religion, and sometimes, liturgical exclusion of Jewish converts (the case of Christianized Marranos or Iberian Jews in the late 15th century and 16th century convicted of secretly practising Judaism or Jewish customs).[140]

New Testament and antisemitism

Frederick Schweitzer and Marvin Perry write that the authors of the gospel accounts sought to place responsibility for the Crucifixion of Jesus and his death on Jews, rather than the Roman emperor or Pontius Pilate.[141] As a result, Christians for centuries viewed Jews as "the Christ Killers".[142] The destruction of the Second Temple was seen as judgment from God to the Jews for that death,[143] and Jews were seen as "a people condemned forever to suffer exile and degradation".[142] According to historian Edward H. Flannery, the Gospel of John in particular contains many verses that refer to Jews in a pejorative manner.[144]

In 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16, Paul states that the Churches in Judea had been persecuted by the Jews who killed Jesus and that such people displease God, oppose all men, and had prevented Paul from speaking to the gentile nations concerning the New Testament message. Described by Hyam Maccoby as "the most explicit outburst against Jews in Paul's Epistles",[145] these verses have repeatedly been employed for antisemitic purposes. Maccoby views it as one of Paul's innovations responsible for creating Christian antisemitism, though he notes that some have argued these particular verses are later interpolations not written by Paul.[145] Craig Blomberg argues that viewing them as antisemitic is a mistake, but "understandable in light of [Paul's] harsh words". In his view, Paul is not condemning all Jews forever, but merely those he believed had specifically persecuted the prophets, Jesus, or the 1st century church. Blomberg sees Paul's words here as no different in kind than the harsh words the prophets of the Old Testament have for the Jews.[146]

The Codex Sinaiticus contains two extra books in the New Testament – the Shepherd of Hermas and the Epistle of Barnabas.[147] The latter emphasizes the claim that it was the Jews, not the Romans, who killed Jesus, and is full of antisemitism.[147] The Epistle of Barnabas was removed from later versions of the Bible; Professor Bart Ehrman has stated "the suffering of Jews in the subsequent centuries would, if possible, have been even worse had the Epistle of Barnabas remained".[147]

Early Christianity

A number of early and influential Church works — such as the dialogues of Justin Martyr, the homilies of John Chrysostom, and the testimonies of church father Cyprian — are strongly anti-Jewish.

During a discussion on the celebration of Easter during the First Council of Nicaea in 325 CE, Roman emperor Constantine said, appeared an unworthy thing that in the celebration of this most holy feast we should follow the practice of the Jews, who have impiously defiled their hands with enormous sin, and are, therefore, deservedly afflicted with blindness of soul. (...) Let us then have nothing in common with the detestable Jewish crowd; for we have received from our Saviour a different way.[148]

Prejudice against Jews in the Roman Empire was formalized in 438, when the Code of Theodosius II established Christianity as the only legal religion in the Roman Empire. The Justinian Code a century later stripped Jews of many of their rights, and Church councils throughout the 6th and 7th century, including the Council of Orleans, further enforced anti-Jewish provisions. These restrictions began as early as 305, when, in Elvira, (now Granada), a Spanish town in Andalucia, the first known laws of any church council against Jews appeared. Christian women were forbidden to marry Jews unless the Jew first converted to Catholicism. Jews were forbidden to extend hospitality to Catholics. Jews could not keep Catholic Christian concubines and were forbidden to bless the fields of Catholics. In 589, in Catholic Iberia, the Third Council of Toledo ordered that children born of marriage between Jews and Catholic be baptized by force. By the Twelfth Council of Toledo (681) a policy of forced conversion of all Jews was initiated (Liber Judicum, II.2 as given in Roth).[149] Thousands fled, and thousands of others converted to Roman Catholicism.

Medieval and Renaissance Europe

Antisemitism was widespread in Europe during the Middle Ages. In those times, a main cause of prejudice against Jews in Europe was the religious one. Although not part of Roman Catholic dogma, many Christians, including members of the clergy, held the Jewish people collectively responsible for the death of Jesus, a practice originated by Melito of Sardis.

Among socio-economic factors were restrictions by the authorities. Local rulers and church officials closed the doors for many professions to the Jews, pushing them into occupations considered socially inferior such as accounting, rent-collecting and moneylending, which was tolerated then as a "necessary evil".[150] During the Black Death, Jews were accused as being the cause, and were often killed.[119] There were expulsions of Jews from England, France, Germany, Portugal and Spain during the Middle Ages as a result of antisemitism.[151]

File:Judensau Frankfurt.jpg

18th century Frankfurt Judensau

German for "Jews' sow", Judensau was the derogatory and dehumanizing imagery of Jews that appeared around the 13th century. Its popularity lasted for over 600 years and was revived by the Nazis. The Jews, typically portrayed in obscene contact with unclean animals such as pigs or owls or representing a devil, appeared on cathedral or church ceilings, pillars, utensils, etchings, etc. Often, the images combined several antisemitic motifs and included derisive prose or poetry.

"Dozens of Judensaus... intersect with the portrayal of the Jew as a Christ killer. Various illustrations of the murder of Simon of Trent blended images of Judensau, the devil, the murder of little Simon himself, and the Crucifixion. In the 17th-century engraving from Frankfurt[152] ... a well-dressed, very contemporary-looking Jew has mounted the sow backward and holds her tail, while a second Jew sucks at her milk and a third eats her feces. The horned devil, himself wearing a Jewish badge, looks on and the butchered Simon, splayed as if on a cross, appears on a panel above."[153]

In Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice", considered to be one of the greatest romantic comedies of all time, the villain Shylock was a Jewish moneylender. By the end of the play he is mocked on the streets after his daughter elopes with a Christian. Shylock, then, compulsorily converts to Christianity as a part of a deal gone wrong. This has raised profound implications regarding Shakespeare and antisemitism.[154]

During the Middle Ages, the story of Jephonias,[155] the Jew who tried to overturn Mary's funeral bier, changed from his converting to Christianity into his simply having his hands cut off by an angel.[156]


A 15th century German woodcut showing an alleged host desecration.
1: the hosts are stolen
2: the hosts bleed when pierced by a Jew
3: the Jews are arrested
4: they are burned alive.

On many occasions, Jews were subjected to blood libels, false accusations of drinking the blood of Christian children in mockery of the Christian Eucharist. Jews were subject to a wide range of legal restrictions throughout the Middle Ages, some of which lasted until the end of the 19th century. Jews were excluded from many trades, the occupations varying with place and time, and determined by the influence of various non-Jewish competing interests. Often Jews were barred from all occupations but money-lending and peddling, with even these at times forbidden.

19th and 20th century

File:Proper hands.jpg

Branford Clarke illustration in Heroes of the Fiery Cross by Bishop Alma White 1928 Published by the Pillar of Fire Church in Zarephath, NJ

Throughout the 19th century and into the 20th, the Roman Catholic Church still incorporated strong antisemitic elements, despite increasing attempts to separate anti-Judaism, the opposition to the Jewish religion on religious grounds, and racial antisemitism. Pope Pius VII (1800–1823) had the walls of the Jewish Ghetto in Rome rebuilt after the Jews were released by Napoleon, and Jews were restricted to the Ghetto through the end of the Papal States in 1870.

Additionally, official organizations such as the Jesuits banned candidates "who are descended from the Jewish race unless it is clear that their father, grandfather, and great-grandfather have belonged to the Catholic Church" until 1946. Brown University historian David Kertzer, working from the Vatican archive, has further argued in his book The Popes Against the Jews that in the 19th century and early 20th century the Roman Catholic Church adhered to a distinction between "good antisemitism" and "bad antisemitism".

The "bad" kind promoted hatred of Jews because of their descent. This was considered un-Christian because the Christian message was intended for all of humanity regardless of ethnicity; anyone could become a Christian. The "good" kind criticized alleged Jewish conspiracies to control newspapers, banks, and other institutions, to care only about accumulation of wealth, etc. Many Catholic bishops wrote articles criticizing Jews on such grounds, and, when accused of promoting hatred of Jews, would remind people that they condemned the "bad" kind of antisemitism. Kertzer's work is not, therefore, without critics; scholar of Jewish-Christian relations Rabbi David G. Dalin, for example, criticized Kertzer in the Weekly Standard for using evidence selectively.

The Second Vatican Council, the Nostra Aetate document, and the efforts of Pope John Paul II have helped reconcile Jews and Catholicism in recent decades, however. According to Roman Catholic Holocaust scholar Michael Phayer the Church as a whole recognized its failings during the council when it corrected the traditional beliefs of the Jews having committed deicide and affirmed that they remained God's chosen people.[157]

The Nazis used Martin Luther's book, On the Jews and Their Lies (1543), to claim a moral righteousness for their ideology. Luther even went so far as to advocate the murder of those Jews who refused to convert to Christianity, writing that "we are at fault in not slaying them"[158] In 1994, the Church Council of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the largest Lutheran denomination in the United States and a member of the Lutheran World Federation publicly rejected Luther's antisemitic writings. The controversial document Dabru Emet was issued by many American Jewish scholars in 2000 as a statement about Jewish-Christian relations. This document says,

"Nazism was not a Christian phenomenon. Without the long history of Christian anti-Judaism and Christian violence against Jews, Nazi ideology could not have taken hold nor could it have been carried out. Too many Christians participated in, or were sympathetic to, Nazi atrocities against Jews. Other Christians did not protest sufficiently against these atrocities. But Nazism itself was not an inevitable outcome of Christianity."

Accusations of deicide

Though never a part of Christian dogma, many Christians, including members of the clergy, held the Jewish people under an antisemitic canard to be collectively responsible for deicide, the killing of Jesus, whom they believed to be the son of God.[159]

According to this interpretation, the Jews present at Jesus’ death as well as the Jewish people collectively and for all time had committed the sin of deicide, or God-killing. The accusation has been the most powerful warrant for antisemitism by Christians.[160]

Passion plays are dramatic stagings representing the trial and death of Jesus and have historically been used in remembrance of Jesus' death during Lent. These plays historically blamed the Jews for the death of Jesus in a polemical fashion, depicting a crowd of Jewish people condemning Jesus to crucifixion and a Jewish leader assuming eternal collective guilt for the crowd for the murder of Jesus, which, The Boston Globe explains, "for centuries prompted vicious attacks — or pogroms — on Europe's Jewish communities".[161]

Islam and antisemitism

Various definitions of antisemitism in the context of Islam are given. The extent of antisemitism among Muslims varies depending on the chosen definition:

  • Scholars like Claude Cahen and Shelomo Dov Goitein define it to be the animosity specifically applied to Jews only and do not include discriminations practiced against Non-Muslims in general.[162][163][164] For these scholars, antisemitism in Medieval Islam has been local and sporadic rather than general and endemic [Shelomo Dov Goitein],[162] not at all present [Claude Cahen],[163] or rarely present.[164]
  • According to Bernard Lewis, antisemitism is marked by two distinct features: Jews are judged according to a standard different from that applied to others, and they are accused of "cosmic evil."[165] For Lewis, from the late 19th century, movements appear among Muslims of which for the first time one can legitimately use the technical term antisemitic.[166] However, he describes demonizing beliefs, anti-Jewish discrimination and systematic humiliations, as an "inherent" part of the traditional Muslim world, even if violent persecutions were relatively rare.[167]

Jews in Islamic texts

Leon Poliakov,[168] Walter Laqueur,[169] and Jane Gerber,[170] suggest that later passages in the Qur'an contain very sharp attacks on Jews for their refusal to recognize Muhammad as a prophet of God.[168] There are also Qur'anic verses, particularly from the earliest Qur'anic surahs, showing respect for the Jews (e.g. see Template:Quran-usc, Template:Quran-usc)[171][172] and preaching tolerance (e.g. see Template:Quran-usc).[169] This positive view tended to disappear in the later Surahs. Taking it all together, the Qur'an differentiates between "good and bad" Jews, Poliakov states.[171] Laqueur argues that the conflicting statements about Jews in the Muslim holy text has defined Arab and Muslim attitude towards Jews to this day, especially during periods of rising Islamic fundamentalism.[173]

During Muhammad's life, Jews lived in the Arabian Peninsula, especially in and around Medina. They reportedly refused Muhammad's offer for them to convert and accept him as the Prophet.[174] According to F.E. Peters, they also began to secretly to conspire with Muhammad's enemies in Mecca to overthrow him (despite having been forced by their conquerors to sign a peace treaty.)[175][176][177] After each major battle, Muhammad accused one of the Jewish tribes of treachery and attacked it. Two Jewish tribes were expelled and the last one, the Banu Qurayza, was wiped out after it threw itself on Muhammad's mercy.[169][178] Samuel Rosenblatt states that these incidents were not part of policies directed exclusively against Jews, and that Muhammad was more severe with Arab pagans than with Jews.[175]

The attitude towards Jews changed in the course of Muhammad's career, as expressed in more positive teachings in the earlier Qur'anic surahs, from the Mecca period, to increasingly hostile and negative ones, characterizing Jews as such, in Medina as the Jewish tribes there refused to submit completely to Muhammad's authority and claims. This distinction of periods is crucial to assess the weight of Qur'anic passages. According to traditional rules of Qur'anic exegesis stipulated in the Qur'an itself (Surah 2:106, from the later Medina period), the later passages must be taken as the last and binding final word from God, rendering earlier passages merely temporal expedients that no longer apply and are cancelled outright. Thus the negative characterizations have become the authoritative consensus. It may therefore be quite misleading to equate the earlier more positive statements with the later ones as some apologists do.

The words "humility" and "humiliation" occur frequently in the Qur'an and later Muslim literature in relation to Jews. According to Lewis, "This, in Islamic view, is their just punishment for their past rebelliousness, and is manifested in their present impotence between the mighty powers of Christendom and Islam." The standard Quranic reference to Jews is verse Template:Quran-usc: "And remember ye said: "O Moses! we cannot endure one kind of food (always); so beseech thy Lord for us to produce for us of what the earth groweth, -its pot-herbs, and cucumbers, Its garlic, lentils, and onions." He said: "Will ye exchange the better for the worse? Go ye down to any town, and ye shall find what ye want!" They were covered with humiliation and misery; they drew on themselves the wrath of Allah. This because they went on rejecting the Signs of Allah and slaying His Messengers without just cause. This because they rebelled and went on transgressing."[179]

Two verses later we read: "And remember, Children of Israel, when We made a covenant with you and raised Mount Sinai before you saying, "Hold tightly to what We have revealed to you and keep it in mind so that you may guard against evil." But then you turned away, and if it had not been for Allah's grace and merecy, you surely would have been among the lost. And you know those among who sinned on the Sabbath. We said to them, "You will be transformed into despised apes." So we used them as a warning to their people and to the following generations, as well as a lesson for the Allah-fearing."(Qur'an Template:Quran-usc) The accusation that Jews will ultimately be transformed into apes and pigs is traditionally understood literally and is derived from such Qur'anic and other early Muslim sources.

The Qur'an associates Jews above all with rejection of God's prophets including Jesus and Muhammad, thus explaining their resistance to him personally. (Cf. Surah 2:87-91; 5:59, 61, 70, and 82.) It states that they are, together with outright idolators, the worst and most inveterate enemies of Islam, and thus will not only suffer eternally in Hell but in this world will be the most degraded of the Peoples of the Book, below even Christians, everywhere. (Cf. Surah 5:82; 3:54-56.) It also asserts that Jews believe that they are the sole children of God (Surah 5:18), and that only they will achieve salvation (Surah 2:111). According to the Qur'an, Jews blasphemously claim that Ezra is the son of God, as Christians claim Jesus is, (Surah 9:30) and that God’s hand is fettered (Surah 5:64 – i.e., that they can freely defy God). Some of those who are Jews,[180] "pervert words from their meanings", (Surah 4:44), and because they have committed wrongdoing, God has "forbidden some good things that were previously permitted them", thus explaining Jewish commandments regarding food, Sabbath restrictions on work, and other rulings as a punishment from God (Surah 4:160). They listen for the sake of mendacity (Surah 5:41), twisting the truth, and practice forbidden usury, and therefore they will receive "a painful doom" (Surah 4:161).[180] The Qur'an gives credence to the Christian claim of Jews scheming against Jesus, "...but God also schemed, and God is the best of schemers"(Surah 3:54). In the Muslim view, the crucifixion of Jesus was an illusion, and thus the supposed Jewish plots against him ended in complete failure.[181] In numerous verses (Surah 3:63, 71; 4:46, 160-161; 5:41-44, 63-64, 82; 6:92)[182] the Qur'an accuses Jews of deliberately obscuring and perverting scripture.[183]

Differences with Christianity

Bernard Lewis holds that Muslims were not antisemitic in the way Christians were for the most part because:

  1. The gospels are not part of the educational system in Muslim society and therefore Muslims are not brought up with the stories of Jewish deicide; on the contrary the notion of deicide is rejected by the Qur'an as a blasphemous absurdity.
  2. Muhammad and his early followers were not Jews and therefore they did not present themselves as the true Israel or feel threatened by survival of the old Israel.
  3. The Qur'an was not viewed by Muslims as a fulfillment of the Hebrew Bible, but rather as a restorer of its original messages that had been distorted over time. Thus no clash of interpretations between Judaism and Islam could arise.
  4. Muhammad was not killed by the Jewish community and he was victorious in the clash with the Jewish community in Medina.
  5. Muhammad did not claim to have been Son of God or Messiah but only a prophet; a claim which Jews repudiated less.
  6. Muslims saw the conflict between Muhammad and the Jews as something of minor importance in Muhammad's career.[184]

Status of Jews under Muslim rule

Traditionally Jews living in Muslim lands, known (along with Christians) as dhimmis, were allowed to practice their religion and to administer their internal affairs but subject to certain conditions.[185] They had to pay the jizya (a per capita tax imposed on free adult non-Muslim males) to Muslims.[185] Dhimmis had an inferior status under Islamic rule. They had several social and legal disabilities such as prohibitions against bearing arms or giving testimony in courts in cases involving Muslims.[186] Many of the disabilities were highly symbolic. The most degrading one was the requirement of distinctive clothing, not found in the Qur'an or hadith but invented in early medieval Baghdad; its enforcement was highly erratic.[187] Jews rarely faced martyrdom or exile, or forced compulsion to change their religion, and they were mostly free in their choice of residence and profession.[188]

The notable examples of massacre of Jews include the 1066 Granada massacre, when a Muslim mob stormed the royal palace in Granada, crucified Jewish vizier Joseph ibn Naghrela and massacred most of the Jewish population of the city. "More than 1,500 Jewish families, numbering 4,000 persons, fell in one day."[189] This was the first persecution of Jews on the Peninsula under Islamic rule. There was also the killing or forcibly conversion of them by the rulers of the Almohad dynasty in Al-Andalus in the 12th century.[190] Notable examples of the cases where the choice of residence was taken away from them includes confining Jews to walled quarters (mellahs) in Morocco beginning from the 15th century and especially since the early 19th century.[191] Most conversions were voluntary and happened for various reasons. However, there were some forced conversions in the 12th century under the Almohad dynasty of North Africa and al-Andalus as well as in Persia.[192]

Pre-modern times

The portrayal of the Jews in the early Islamic texts played a key role in shaping the attitudes towards them in the Muslim societies. According to Jane Gerber, "the Muslim is continually influenced by the theological threads of anti-Semitism embedded in the earliest chapters of Islamic history."[193] In the light of the Jewish defeat at the hands of Muhammad, Muslims traditionally viewed Jews with contempt and as objects of ridicule. Jews were seen as hostile, cunning, and vindictive, but nevertheless weak and ineffectual. Cowardice was the quality most frequently attributed to Jews. Another stereotype associated with the Jews was their alleged propensity to trickery and deceit. While most anti-Jewish polemicists saw those qualities as inherently Jewish, Ibn Khaldun attributed them to the mistreatment of Jews at the hands of the dominant nations. For that reason, says ibn Khaldun, Jews "are renowned, in every age and climate, for their wickedness and their slyness".[194]

Some Muslim writers have inserted racial overtones in their anti-Jewish polemics. Al-Jahiz speaks of the deterioration of the Jewish stock due to excessive inbreeding. Ibn Hazm also implies racial qualities in his attacks on the Jews. However, these were exceptions, and the racial theme left little or no trace in the medieval Muslim anti-Jewish writings.[195]

Anti-Jewish sentiments usually flared up at times of the Muslim political or military weakness or when Muslims felt that some Jews had overstepped the boundary of humiliation prescribed to them by the Islamic law.[196] In Moorish Iberia, ibn Hazm and Abu Ishaq focused their anti-Jewish writings on the latter allegation. This was also the chief motivation behind the 1066 Granada massacre, when "[m]ore than 1,500 Jewish families, numbering 4,000 persons, fell in one day",[189] and in Fez in 1033, when 6,000 Jews were killed.[123] There were further massacres in Fez in 1276 and 1465.[197]

Islamic law does not differentiate between Jews and Christians in their status as dhimmis. According to Bernard Lewis, the normal practice of Muslim governments until modern times was consistent with this aspect of sharia law.[179] This view is countered by Jane Gerber, who maintains that of all dhimmis, Jews had the lowest status. Gerber maintains that this situation was especially pronounced in the latter centuries, when Christian communities enjoyed protection, unavailable to the Jews, under the provisions of Capitulations of the Ottoman Empire. For example, in 18th century Damascus, a Muslim noble held a festival, inviting to it all social classes in descending order, according to their social status: the Jews outranked only the peasants and prostitutes.[198] In 1865, when the equality of all subjects of the Ottoman Empire was proclaimed, Ahmed Cevdet Pasha, a high-ranking official observed: "whereas in former times, in the Ottoman State, the communities were ranked, with the Muslims first, then the Greeks, then the Armenians, then the Jews, now all of them were put on the same level. Some Greeks objected to this, saying: 'The government has put us together with the Jews. We were content with the supremacy of Islam.'"[199]

Some scholars have questioned the correctness of the term "antisemitism" to Muslim culture in pre-modern times.[33][200][201][202] Robert Chazan and Alan Davies argue that the most obvious difference between pre-modern Islam and pre-modern Christendom was the "rich melange of racial, ethic, and religious communities" in Islamic countries, within which "the Jews were by no means obvious as lone dissenters, as they had been earlier in the world of polytheism or subsequently in most of medieval Christendom." According to Chazan and Davies, this lack of uniqueness ameliorated the circumstances of Jews in the medieval world of Islam.[203] According to Norman Stillman, antisemitism, understood as hatred of Jews as Jews, "did exist in the medieval Arab world even in the period of greatest tolerance".[204] Also see Bostom, Bat Ye'or, and the CSPI issued text, supporting Stillman and cited in the bibliography.

Nineteenth century

Historian Martin Gilbert writes that in the 19th century the position of Jews worsened in Muslim countries.[citation needed]

There was a massacre of Jews in Baghdad in 1828[123] and in 1839, in the eastern Persian city of Meshed, a mob burst into the Jewish Quarter, burned the synagogue, and destroyed the Torah scrolls. It was only by forcible conversion that a massacre was averted.[205] There was another massacre in Barfurush in 1867.[123]

In 1840, the Jews of Damascus were falsely accused of having murdered a Christian monk and his Muslim servant and of having used their blood to bake Passover bread or Matza. A Jewish barber was tortured until he "confessed"; two other Jews who were arrested died under torture, while a third converted to Islam to save his life. Throughout the 1860s, the Jews of Libya were subjected to what Gilbert calls punitive taxation. In 1864, around 500 Jews were killed in Marrakech and Fez in Morocco. In 1869, 18 Jews were killed in Tunis, and an Arab mob looted Jewish homes and stores, and burned synagogues, on Jerba Island. In 1875, 20 Jews were killed by a mob in Demnat, Morocco; elsewhere in Morocco, Jews were attacked and killed in the streets in broad daylight. In 1891, the leading Muslims in Jerusalem asked the Ottoman authorities in Constantinople to prohibit the entry of Jews arriving from Russia. In 1897, synagogues were ransacked and Jews were murdered in Tripolitania.[205]

Benny Morris writes that one symbol of Jewish degradation was the phenomenon of stone-throwing at Jews by Muslim children. Morris quotes a 19th century traveler: "I have seen a little fellow of six years old, with a troop of fat toddlers of only three and four, teaching [them] to throw stones at a Jew, and one little urchin would, with the greatest coolness, waddle up to the man and literally spit upon his Jewish gaberdine. To all this the Jew is obliged to submit; it would be more than his life was worth to offer to strike a Mahommedan."[123]

According to Mark Cohen in The Oxford Handbook of Jewish Studies, most scholars conclude that Arab antisemitism in the modern world arose in the 19th century, against the backdrop of conflicting Jewish and Arab nationalism, and was imported into the Arab world primarily by nationalistically minded Christian Arabs (and only subsequently was it "Islamized").[206]

Twentieth century

File:Death to Juice - illuminea.jpg

Anti-Jewish demonstrations in New York

The massacres of Jews in Muslim countries continued into the 20th century. Martin Gilbert writes that 40 Jews were murdered in Taza, Morocco in 1903. In 1905, old laws were revived in Yemen forbidding Jews from raising their voices in front of Muslims, building their houses higher than Muslims, or engaging in any traditional Muslim trade or occupation.[205] The Jewish quarter in Fez was almost destroyed by a Muslim mob in 1912.[123] There were Nazi-inspired pogroms in Algeria in the 1930s, and massive attacks on the Jews in Iraq and Libya in the 1940s (see Farhud). Pro-Nazi Muslims slaughtered dozens of Jews in Baghdad in 1941.[123]

George Gruen attributes the increased animosity towards Jews in the Arab world to several factors, including the breakdown of the Ottoman Empire and traditional Islamic society; domination by Western colonial powers under which Jews gained a disproportionately larger role in the commercial, professional, and administrative life of the region; the rise of Arab nationalism, whose proponents sought the wealth and positions of local Jews through government channels; resentment against Jewish nationalism and the Zionist movement; and the readiness of unpopular regimes to scapegoat local Jews for political purposes.[207]

Antagonism and violence increased still further as resentment against Zionist efforts in the British Mandate of Palestine spread. Anti-Zionist propaganda in the Middle East frequently adopts the terminology and symbols of the Holocaust to demonize Israel and its leaders. At the same time, Holocaust denial and Holocaust minimization efforts have found increasingly overt acceptance as sanctioned historical discourse in a number of Middle Eastern countries. Arabic- and Turkish-editions of Hitler's Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion have found an audience in the region with limited critical response by local intellectuals and media. See International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust.

According to Robert Satloff, Muslims and Arabs were involved both as rescuers and as perpetrators of the Holocaust during Italian and German Nazi occupation of Morocco, Tunisia and Libya.[208]

Racial antisemitism

Racial antisemitism is the idea that the Jews are a distinct and inferior race compared to their host nations. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, it gained mainstream acceptance as part of the eugenics movement, which categorized non-"Europeans" as inferior. It more specifically claims that the so-called Nordic Europeans are superior. Racial antisemites saw the Jews as part of a Semitic race and emphasized their "alien" extra-European origins and culture. They saw Jews as beyond redemption even if they converted to the majority religion. Anthropologists discussed whether the Jews possessed any Arabic-Armenoid, African-Nubian or Asian-Turkic ancestries. Since World War II racial antisemitism has rarely appeared outside of Neo-Nazi and white supremacist movements.

Racial antisemitism replaced the hatred of Judaism with the hatred of Jews as a group. In the context of the Industrial Revolution, following the emancipation of the Jews, Jews rapidly urbanized and experienced a period of greater social mobility. With the decreasing role of religion in public life tempering religious antisemitism, a combination of growing nationalism, the rise of eugenics, and resentment at the socio-economic success of the Jews led to the newer, and more virulent, racist antisemitism.

See also


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