Zionism - Israeli Flag

Zionism and Israel - Encyclopedic Dictionary


Anti-Semitism - (also Antisemitism ) - Jew Hatred. The word antisemitisch was probably first used in 1860 by a Jew, Moritz Steinschneider, in the phrase "antisemitic prejudices" ("antisemitischen Vorurteile") to criticize the racist ideas of Ernst Renan. "Semitic" is a term that describes a group of languages. The German polemicist Wilhelm Marr coined the German word Antisemitismus in 1879 to give a scientific aura to his ideology of hatred of Jews. Since the term in proper usage does not refer to all "Semites" and there is no Semitic "race," the term "antisemitism" was suggested by Yehuda Bauer instead. The term Judeophobia, coined originally by Leon Pinsker, is also used to describe hatred of Jews. Arab Jew haters have tried to claim that they are not "anti-Semites" since they themselves are Semites, and some Arabs use the term in that way. In this page we use the term "anti-Semitism" only because it is the most popular accepted term and therefore it is most used when people search for this topic.

Results of Anti-Semitism

There is, evidently, a rather infantile and distorted notion about the results of anti-Semitic beliefs. That is, it is often believed that prior to the ARIAL" >Holocaust, anti-Semitism did not often result in physical harm to anyone, though Jews may have suffered "indignities." For example, one racist airhead proposes the following "explanation" of anti-Semitic imagery in German cathedrals:

Isn't the explanation clear? "In the middle ages, Jews weren't so much respected as not. This is a cathedral that has been around since then."

The lack of "respect" expressed itself in its milder forms in depictions of Jews copulating with pigs, and in more outspoken forms it expressed itself in massacres of Jews. Anti-Semitism was not a matter of lack of "respect." It was not just a matter of people forgetting to doff their caps and say hello to Jews. It resulted in repeated riots, pogroms and massacres, in which thousands were murdered, often the entire Jewish community of a town, and many lost their homes and property. Jews were expelled from country after country, forced to convert to Christianity, burned at the stake, hanged and beheaded for imagined crimes. Prior to the Holocaust, notable massacres of Jews took place during the Crusades and the period of the Black Death in Europe, and in the Ukraine during the Russian civil war that followed the Soviet revolution (see  Russian Civil War Pogroms).

European anti-Semitism ultimately led to the Holocaust, in which six million Jews were murdered. It is not pleasant to contemplate this history, but it seems it is necessary to do so when the bloody history of anti-Semitism is euphemized into "indignities" and lack of "respect."  

Beliefs associated with Anti-Semitism

The following (Anti-Semitic canards) can be used as guides to quickly identify anti-Semitic books, articles and Web sites, without regard to attitude toward Israel or Zionism, even if the masquerade as "anti-Zionist" or "libertarian" or "liberal": Some of the background of these items is given below. (See also Jew )

In general, any work that pretends to describe the characteristics or traits of a whole people might be racist even if unintentionally so. Racism or bigotry directed at Jews is anti-Semitism. Examples:

Jews are dishonest in business.

Jews are loyal to Jews and not to their own country

Jewish women are lascivious.

The Jews ("Zionists") control the press and the government.

Any of the following are certain signs of anti-Semitic racism, which predate or are unrelated to Israel:

Protocols of the Elders of Zion - Any work that publicizes this forged document as true is anti-Semitic. Often the claim is made that the Protocols were actually the resolution of the first Zionist congress in Basle, which was held in 1897, 8 years before the publication of the protocols.

Blood libel - Any publication that claims Jews use the blood of Christians to bake ritual cakes or for other purposes is anti-Semitic obviously. This absurd "medieval" superstition was widely held until quite recently, and it is still believed by substantial numbers of Christians. It is also very popular in the Arab world.

Holocaust revisionism (or Holocaust Denial)- Any work that claims the  Holocaust did not occur or was exaggerated by Jews or "Zionists" or uses the phrase "Holocaust Myth" is anti-Semitic. (see Holocaust Myth)

Exclusivism - The notion that Jews are an "Exclusivist" or clannish people that shuts out others predates Christianity and is a sure sign of anti-Semitism.

Jews are powerful and control the worldJews constitute a tiny fraction (less than 2%) of the population of the United States, and a much smaller fraction of world population (12 million out of 6 billion -- about .002 = 2 thousandths). The only country that has a Jewish head of state is Israel. Nonetheless, anti-Semites assert that Jews or "Zionists" control the world and assert their "pernicious influence" in mysterious ways.

Talmud - Works that insist that the Talmud contains laws that discriminate against non-Jews or teach Jews to cheat gentiles are anti-Semitic. Likewise works that insist that Jews hold the Talmud to be more holy than the Old Testament or that all Jews believe the and follow the Talmud are anti-Semitic. The claims are false.

Hesronot Shas (or Chesronot Shas )  -Medieval censors banned portions of the Talmud which they believed contained Jewish libels against Jesus and the Christian holy family, though these are not mentioned by name. The banned materials were circulated as a separate book called Hesronot Shas. Today they have been reintegrated into most editions of the Talmud, and the Chesronot Shas  is also freely available in Hebrew. Anti-Semites continue to insist that that Chesronot Shas is a secret Jewish book that outlines the Jewish plot against non-Jews, Jewish hatred of Christianity and the Jewish plan to take over the world.

Kol Nidre - This prayer is said on the evening of the Jewish day of atonement (Yom Kippur). It absolves Jews of personal vows that they made to God (only vows that do not involve other people). It applies only to religious vows such as fasting or charity. It is deliberately misinterpreted by anti-Semites to be a disavowal of all agreements and business contracts, allowing Jews to be dishonest. Mention of this fable as true in a work or Web site is a certain sign it is anti-Semitic.

Mein Kampf and Nazism - Any Web site or work that disseminates Hitler's Mein Kampf approvingly and or other Nazi works and memorabilia is obviously anti-Semitic.

Jewish conspiracies and Jewish "pernicious" influence - work that asserts that there is a Jewish conspiracy or conspiracies behind world wars or other events is anti-Semitic. Sometimes "Zionist" is used in place of "Jewish" but the reference may be to events that occurred before the rise of modern Zionism, such as the French revolution or to persons or institutions that have no clear relation to Zionism.

Anti-Semitism versus Criticism of Israel

Anti-Semitism should not be confused with legitimate criticism of Israel or Israeli policy. A person may be opposed to particular Israeli policies without being anti-Semitic. It depends how the opposition is expressed, and whether the criticism is reasonable. "Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the Gas" is not a "legitimate criticism." "Israelis are worse than Nazis" is not a legitimate criticism, unless someone can find evidence that Israelis are committing mass genocide.

When it is alleged that "Zionists" or the "Israel lobby" is all powerful and controls the governments of the world, or that Israel committed atrocities similar to those committed by the Nazis, it is obvious that the motivation for the criticism is racist and unrelated to facts. Very often the same persons or organizations or Web sites will be involved in Holocaust denial, descriptions of the Talmud as a dangerous document and other clear manifestations of anti-Semitism.

Anti-Semitism - a detailed overview and Historical summary

This overview outlines the essential history and characteristics of anti-Semitism. A more detailed discussion from a slightly different perspective is available at Judeophobia or 'Antisemitism - a History.

Ancient Anti-Semitism

Anti-Jewish sentiments and theories were in evidence in pagan culture. Apion of Alexandria (about 20 BCE -45 CE)  alleged that Jews killed non-Jewish children for ritual purposes. This fable was repeated as true by others. and found its way into Christian belief as the Blood libel   A large anti-Jewish riot took place in Alexandria about 38 years before the birth of Christ. Tacitus' views of the Jews are given in The Histories 5.2-5 (see  here  ) http://www.livius.org/am-ao/antisemitism/antisemitism-t.html). Jews are also reviled in the satires of Juvenal.

Following is a summary of ancient views of the Jews:

  • The Jews were  descendants of lepers (Manetho) or victims of a wasting disease (Tacitus), who had been exiled by the Egyptians  .
  • The Jews were rescued in the desert by a wild ass or other animal, and therefore worshipped the ass.
  • In the Symposium of  Plutarch of Chaeronea (c.45-120),states  that the object of the Jewish cult was the pig.
  • The Jews did not worship the usual gods, like others did. Jews were sometimes considered to be responsible for the divine anger when disasters befell a community.
  • In their temple in Jerusalem, the Jews sacrificed human beings.
  • Jews are lascivious and "sexy" - this is found in Tacitus and elsewhere.
  • Jews were considered to be lazy, and therefore observed the Sabbath, according to the Fourteenth satire of the Roman poet Juvenal (c.67-c.145).
  • The Jews had strange customs. The kashrut and other laws were the object of many jokes and superstitions.
  • Those who followed the Law of Moses were thought to ignore the law of the state in which they resided.
  • Jews were believed to be antisocial ("Exclusivist"). They separated from the other people living in the ancient Mediterranean world. Perhaps this arose from separate dietary habits or failure to sacrifice to pagan gods, or perhaps it was because pious Jews were had to live within walking distance of their synagogues.
  • The 'mutilation of genitals' (circumcision)  was considered barbarous.  In 132, the Roman emperor Hadrian tried to root out this practice, which led to the Bar Kochba revolt. Romans and Greeks felt the human form and particularly the phallus was sacred. This was confounded with homosexuality. In particular, Hadrian was in love with a beautiful young man.

 The emperors Tiberius and Claudius are said to have expelled the Jews from Rome.

Philostratus (170-c.244) states that Jews are subhuman or different from humanity:

For the Jews have long been in revolt [...] against humanity; and a race that has made its own a life apart and irreconcilable, that cannot share the pleasures of the table with the rest of mankind  nor join in their libations or prayers or sacrifices, are separated from ourselves by a greater gulf than divides us from Susa or Bactra or the more distant Indies.

[Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana 5.33; ]

Christian anti-Semitism

 According to early fathers of the church, "the Jews" were damned because they had killed Christ.

Saint Hippolytus, 170-236, evidently was the first to pioneer the theme that the Jews deserved punishment for the killing of Jesus:

"Now then, incline thine ear to me and hear my words, and give heed, thou Jew. Many a time does thou boast thyself, in that thou didst condemn Jesus of Nazareth to death, and didst give him vinegar and gall to drink; and thou dost vaunt thyself because of this. Come, therefore, and let us consider together whether perchance thou dost boast unrighteously, O, Israel, and whether thou small portion of vinegar and all has not brought down this fearful threatening upon thee and whether this is not the cause of thy present condition involved in these myriad of troubles." (Hippolytus Expository Treatise Against the Jews)

For this reason, according to Eusebius of Caesaria, Jews could not rebuild the Jerusalem or the temple in Jerusalem, as their destruction had been visited upon them for killing the Messiah.

St Augustine of Hippo developed the idea that the Jews must be kept alive, their sufferings serving witness to the correctness of Christian doctrine:


The Jews who killed him [Jesus] and who refused to believe in him... were dispersed all over the world... and thus by the evidence of their own scriptures, they bear witness for us that we have not fabricated the prophecies about Christ... It is in order to give this testimony which, in spite of themselves, they supply for our benefit by their possession and preservation of those books, that they themselves are dispersed among all nations, wherever the Christian Church spreads... Hence the prophecy in the Book of Psalms: "..My God has shown me concerning mine enemies, that You shall not slay them, lest they should at last forget Your law: disperse them in Your might." Therefore God has shown the Church in her enemies the Jews the grace of His compassion, since, as says the apostle, "their offence is the salvation of the Gentiles." Romans 11:11 And therefore He has not slain them, that is, He has not let the knowledge that they are Jews be lost in them, although they have been conquered by the Romans, lest they should forget the law of God, and their testimony should be of no avail in this matter of which we treat. But it was not enough that he should say, "Slay them not, lest they should at last forget Your law," unless he had also added, "Disperse them;" because if they had only been in their own land with that testimony of the Scriptures, and not every where, certainly the Church which is everywhere could not have had them as witnesses among all nations to the prophecies which were sent before concerning Christ.. [City of God, 18:46] 
In addition to bearing witness, the Jews must also be preserved, according to Augustine, for their ultimate conversion to Christianity, which is their only route to salvation.(Robert Chazan. The Jews of Medieval Western Christendom, 1000-1500. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006, pp. 36-37 )
The Catholic Church insisted that it must protect the Jews, elaborating on the doctrines of Aquinas. Yet, on the other hand,  if  the suffering of the Jews was deserved punishment from God, it was a short step to believing it was a holy duty to help God out and make the Jews suffer.
The thesis of the collective guilt of "the Jews" inherently anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic. It formed the basis for a cultural norm that treated the Jews as a single legal and moral person. If all the Jews, for all eternity were guilty because some Jews had allegedly crucified Jesus, then all "the Jews" could likewise be collectively guilty of poisoning wells, or supporting this or that political party or any other imagined or real misdeed. 
The Crusades became first major occasion for wholesale slaughter of Jews in Germany and elsewhere despite the attempt of the Catholic church to moderate the violence. During the Crusades and in other anti-Jewish riots, whole Jewish towns and Jewish quarters were burned and people were thrown from the walls of cities. Often Jews were rounded up in the synagogue and burned  alive. This treatment has been characterized euphemistically by some modern Christian writers as "indignities suffered by the Jews."
The record of early persecutions is surely incomplete, but that does not mean there was no anti-Semitism in the early years of Christianity, other than the theological judgments of Church fathers. There was violence and discrimination. It is certain that synagogues were burned from the 4th century. Jews were expelled from a number of places:

  554 - France - Diocese of Clement
  561 - France - Diocese of Uzzes
  612 - Visigoth Spain
  642 - Visigoth Empire
  855 - Italy
  876 - Sens
1012 - Mainz
1182 - France
1182 - Germany

In the Middle ages, Jews were periodically expelled from  European countries and their property was confiscated. For example, Jews were expelled  from Spain more than once. The time was  in 1492 (followed in 1496-7 by expulsion from Portugal). They had been expelled from England under Edward I (1290) and France under Philip Augustus (1182), and previously from other places. Philip readmitted the Jews in 1198, carefully regulating their banking business for his benefit. In Spain, Jews were forced to convert, often on pain of death, over a very long period, and then under Ferdinand and Isabella, the "conversos" were subject to an Inquisition and forced to admit that they were secret Jews and heretics under torture. The motivations for the Inquisition were Christian piety, consolidation of the rule to the state as against noblemen who either were conversos or were supported by them, and confiscation of converso lands and wealth. Inquisitors were canonized as saints by the Roman Catholic Church as late as the 19th century.

Forced Conversions - In addition to conversions effected in Spain under the the threat of expulsion or death, Jews were sometimes forced to attend periodic sermons intended to convert them.

Disputations - A characteristic persecution consisting of holding a public debate between a Christian priest or church official and a Rabbi or leader of the Jewish community. The debate was meant to "prove" the correctness of the Christian faith. At the conclusion of the debate, Jews were killed or subjected to mass conversion, or Jewish books such as the Talmud were burned (see illustration at right).

Medieval Anti-Semitism - Burning the Talmud
Anti-Semitism - Pope Gregory orders the Talmud to be burned A.D. 1239 after a disputation. Panel - Pedro Berruguete, 15th century. Note the non-heretical book floating above the fire.

Replacement Theology - The Old Testament prophets stated that Israel were the chosen people of God who would be rescued and restored to the holy land. Church fathers devised replacement theology to reinterpret references to "Israel" as the Christians and the Christian Church. This notion was a central tenet of anti-Jewish thinking in the Middle Ages. The emperor Ferdinand of Spain believed that he was destined to bring about the restoration of "Israel" which required expulsion of the Jews from Spain, and ultimately a crusade to reconquer the holy land. Replacement theology has been revived and popularized by "anti-Zionists" such as the Reverend Sizer.

Medieval Superstitions about Jews - Some of the typical medieval superstitions about Jews included:

Jews poison the wells - This libel was supposed to be the origin of plagues and particularly the black plague.

Jews desecrate the host - Spoilage of communion wafers, which turned red from a fungus, was attributed to Jews who had dipped the wafers in the blood of slaughtered Christians.

Jews kill Christians in secret - For example, explaining the reasons for expulsion of the Jews from France, the French monk Rigord (d. 1205) related that [Philip Augustus had often heard] that the Jews who dwelt in Paris were wont every year on Easter day, or during the sacred week of our Lord's Passion, to go down secretly into underground vaults and kill a Christian as a sort of sacrifice in contempt of the Christian religion. For a long time they had persisted in this wickedness, inspired by the devil, and in Philip's father's time, many of them had been seized and burned with fire.

The blood libel - A variation of the secret killings theme, the blood libel insists that Jews kill pre-pubertal Christian boys in order to prepare the unleavened bread (Matzoth) of the Passover. It was possibly born in 1144 in England, where a Christian mob accused Jews of murdering the boy William of Norwich during Easter. This story was related in The Life and Miracles of St William of Norwich, by Thomas of Monmouth, a Norwich monk. This story, did not claim that the Jews used the blood to bake unleavened bread, but rather claimed the boy had been crucified. Nonetheless, it is often considered to be the first "blood libel." Others soon followed, including Simon of Trent and Andreas of Rinn. In one variant, the child was not killed but rather bled to death.

In Spain in 1490 or 1491 Spanish inquisitors forced Jews to confess that they had killed a Christian child, one Christopher of Toledo or Christopher of La Guardia, later made a saint of the Roman Catholic church and venerated as Santo Nino de La Guardia. No missing child was ever reported that would correspond to this child and corroborate the tale. The tale was elicited from the victims by the holy inquisitors under torture, by suggestion (for example, "Confess that on this date you did do X") it is likely that the blood libel was well known by this time.

The Talmud - The Talmud supposedly contained conspiratorial formulae, imprecations against Jesus and Mary and injunctions to cheat and discriminate against non-Jews. Therefore it would often banned or censored.

Physiognomy - In addition to characteristic large noses and stooped postures, Jews in the Middle Ages may be shown with tails and horns, similar to the devil.

Anti-Semitism of the Catholic Church

The attitude of the Catholic church regarding Jews was equivocal. In some cases, the Church intervened to grant Jews protection or to decry mass murders such as those that occurred during the Crusades.

At other times, it pursued forced conversions and promulgated various encyclicals and bulls ordering the examination of Jewish books of Law, burning of the Talmud and restriction or expulsion of the Jews. Though the origins of there atrocities were in the Middle Ages, the practices continued and were actually renewed after the end of the Middle Ages during the counter reformation.

Since the promulgation of the code of Justinian, the position of the Jews in Rome had been that of an inferior race held in suspicion andexcluded from important functions of the city. They could not expect civil employment and the law declared them forever disqualified.

Throughout the Christian world ecclesiastical authority severely excluded Jews from the Christian community. In France the councils were unanimous;  Vannes 465, Agde 506, Epaone, of the diocese of Vienna 517, all forbade the marriage of Christians with Jews; the second council of Orleans likewise prohibited marriages between Christians and Jews; that of Clermont in 535 excluded Jews from the magistracy; that of Macon 581 which deprived them of collecting taxes; that of Paris 615 confirmed at Reims, which declared them disqualified for all civil employment.

The constant humiliation of the Jews was carried out in symbolic ways as well as in material injury. In the Middle Ages, when the Popes  received the homage of the delegates of the Roman-Jewish community on the day of their coronation, they traditionally answered: "Legum Probo, sed improbo gentium"("I approve of the law but I disapprove of the race.")

Later, when the Rabbis of Rome were forced to offer a magnificent copy of the Pentateuch, the Pope would  answer: "Confirmamus sed non consentimus."("We ratify but we do not consent.")

Much of this history has been deliberately repressed. Relevant documents include:

Bull Cum Nimis Absurdum - An example of European anti-Semitism in the renaissance period, this Papal decree of 1555. established the ghetto of Rome as well as re-imposing restrictions on Jewish dress and trades that had been enforced intermittently.

Hebraeorum gens solaa, Bull of Pope Pius V, issued on Feb. 26, 1569, restricted Jews in the Papal States to Rome and Ancona, temporarily reversed subsequently).

Caeca et Obdurata Hebraeorum perfidia - (Blind and obdurate is the perfidy of the Hebrews) of February 25, 1593, expelling the Jews from all Papal states and territories other than Rome, Ancona and Avignon, and in particular from Bologna and several other cities. 

Cum Hebraeorum malitia (or Quum Habraeorum malitia) of 1592 or 1593, a Bull of Pope Clement VIII, decreeing that all copies of the Talmud and Kabbalah were to be turned over to the inquisition  for burning. It was evidently soon rescinded or superseded however.

Bull Beatus Andreas - In 1755 Gregory XIV examined a request for canonization of Andreas of Rinn, a child supposedly murdered by Jews. Centuries after the end of the Middle Ages, the bull unequivocally supported the claim that Jews perform ritual murders of Christians.

Additional Bulls and background are listed here: List of Papal Bulls concerning Jews

Anti-Semitism in European Culture

Anti-Semitic stereotypes were fed by Christian beliefs and popular folklore also fed Christian anti-Semitism. Hatred of Jews became a staple of European culture that was autonomous of religion and eventually, in the twentieth century, became a scourge within the Catholic church that has been combated with only modest success by successive Popes since Vatican II. One cultural motif that repeated itself was the Judensau - a pig that was somehow connected with Judaism, along with persistent beliefs in Jewish sex perversions, lasciviousness of "Jewesses" and other pornographic themes.

The cultural motif of the Judensau was by no means limited to the Middle ages, as it appeared throughout the 19th century and was revived under Nazism. The Frankfurt  engraving below expresses two dominant themes. Its upper panel depicts the child martyr Simon of Trent, subject of a blood libel case. The lower panel shows a Judensau. The Devil is  looking on while at left, a Jewish woman is having sex with a goat, and in the foreground, two Jews are having sexual communion with a pig, while a Jewish child is suckling from the same pig. Similar themes are found both in German books and in cathedral and Protestant Church decorations and bridges in Germany.   

Anti-semitism - Judensau

Modern European Anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitism was evident in the enlightenment writings of Voltaire and others. Edward Gibbon, who wrote the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, stated in a footnote  quoting Dio Cassus that Jews had rioted and engaged in cannibalism. Like many enlightenment figures, one of his complaints against the Christian religion was that it was derived from Judaism. Modern anti-Semitism is associated with racial theories of 19th century Germany, who insisted that Jews are a separate and inferior race. Adolf Stoecker, Wilhelm Marr,  Richard Wagner and Heinrich von Treitchke were prominent anti-Semites   This notion probably developed as a reaction to assimilation of Jews who had converted to Christianity. Popular figures such as  Mendelsohn, Heine and others who were converted Jews attracted the envy and suspicion of fellow Germans. Russia became vigorously anti-Semitic. Pogroms (anti-Jewish riots) occurred in a number of cities and towns in the 1880s. These were ignored or encouraged by authorities. The Tsarist secret police forged the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a document that claims to outline the secret plan of the Jews to conquer the world.

In France, hopes that the enlightenment had put an end to race prejudice were dashed by the Dreyfus Affair (beginning in 1894). Dreyfus, a Jew, was accused of treason against France. The affair was accompanied by a large anti-Semitic outcry, claiming that Jews are not loyal to the countries in which they live. Dreyfus was eventually exonerated thanks to Emile Zola and others.

Elsewhere in Europe and North American exclusion of Jews and denigration of Jews according to standard stereotypes was considered acceptable in polite society. Novelists such as Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie and F. Scott Fitzgerald portrayed Jewish characters who were shifty gangsters or loud, pushy and gauche. Somerset Maugham wrote a diary as a young man that is filled with imaginative descriptions of dishonest and seedy looking Jewish men and lascivious "Jewesses." Strangely, in Britain these sentiments coexisted with growing sentiment for restoration of the Jews (see Daniel Deronda ). In the USA, the industrialist Henry Ford published the forged Protocols of the Elders of Zion in his Dearborn Independent newspaper, and kindled the myth that they were true. Father Coughlin, the popular Captain Charles Lindbergh and  others agitated against Jews and in favor of Nazi Germany in the period prior to WW II.

Common European social restrictions on Jews included forcing them to live in special areas (Pale of Settlement in Russia or ghettos before the late19th century), special taxes on Jews, censorship or banning of Jewish law books, quotas on entrance to university allowing only a limited number of Jews ("numerous clausus"), barring from employment in government positions or universities, barring of Jews from social clubs and associations and banning Jews from residence in "exclusive" neighborhoods.

Communism was officially non-racist, but in fact, persecution of the Jews as "rootless cosmopolitans" or "Zionists" was initiated during several periods under Stalin, and reincarnated as "anti-Zionism" under his successors.

European anti-Semitism seemed to have culminated in the Nazi Holocaust. The Nazis attempted to kill the Jewish population of Europe, and managed to kill about 6 million of them.

After WW II, the horror of the Holocaust produced a revulsion against anti-Semitism in polite society in Europe, except for the USSR, but it seems to be slowly returning, either directly or under the guise of thinly veiled "anti-Zionism.

Modern Anti-Semitism Surveys

A 2008 survey found that anti-Semitic attitudes persist in Europe: 

Substantial numbers of people in seven European countries agreed with these statements:

• Jews are more loyal to Israel than to this country.
• Jews have too much power in the business world.
• Jews have too much power in international financial markets.
• Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust.

In some countries there were were clear majorities who agree with anti-Semitic beliefs. For example, for the question, "Jews have too much power in the business world:"

Austria – 36%, down from 37% in 2007
France –  33%, up from 28% in 2007
Germany – 21%, unchanged from 2007
Hungary – 67%, up from 60% in 2007
Poland – 55%, up from 49% in 2007
Spain – 56%, up from 53% in 2007
The United Kingdom – 15%, down from 22% in 2007

Arab/Muslim anti-Semitism

Considering the treatment of Jews in European countries, the experience of Jews under Islamic rule was relatively benign, , giving rise to the idea that Muslims, Jews and Christians lived in perfect harmony. That is far from the truth, but it is true of the best of times and the best rulers in Islam, such as the Ottoman Sultans who invited Jews to settle in Turkey after they had been expelled by Spanish and Portuguese inquisitions, or to settle in communities such as Tiberias and Safed in the holy land.

The status of Jews under Islam, was variable, depending on the time and place. The Quran has mixed injunctions about Jews and Christians, variously praising them as people of the book and damning them as hypocrites because they didn't follow Muhammad. Early in his career, Muhammad attacked and destroyed the Jewish town of Khaybar, and the cry "Khaybar, Khaybar" became the rallying cry of Muslim anti-Jewish riots. In all cases, Jews, like Christians were formally considered to be protected second class citizens in Muslim countries. Only Muslims could fight in wars, and therefore Jews and Christians could not receive land grants in conquered countries as knights, which was a major source of wealth and social status. Jews and Christians paid a special tax and usually had to wear special clothing. Jews were confined to a "Mellah" (ghetto) in certain places. In many countries such as Morocco and Yemen, it was customary for little children to throw rocks at Jews and curse them. At times Jews were forced to convert to Islam or be expelled as under the Al-Mohad dynasty in Morocco, beginning in 1146.

Jews were generally despised as wily but weak people with no courage. For example, following the revolution of the Young Turks in Ottoman Turkey, Jews could serve in the army. A Turkish joke related that at great length it was possible to recruit and train a Jewish unit. They were then sent to the front. They returned quickly however, because they had been scared by a gang of bandits that they met on the road. A Muslim hadith (legend associated with the Qur'an)  relates that the end of days, Muslims will kill all the Jews, who will try to hide in trees. Only one sort of tree will agree to hide them however. This hadith is repeated in the charter of the Hamas organization, but it is of venerable origin.

In modern times, beginning in the 19th century, Muslim and Arab countries adopted European anti-Semitic themes such as the blood libel (an incident occurred in Damascus in 1840) and later, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, publication of Mein Kampf and other trappings of European Christian anti-Semitism such as Holocaust denial. Cartoons in Arab and Muslim journals regularly show Jews as having the characteristic "traits" of anti-Semitic portrayals such as bent posture, beady eyes and hooked noses.

Anti-Semitism - Arab cartoon

A more extensive treatment of the historical position of Jews in Arab countries, including source readings, is given in Jews in Arab lands: Introduction and readings,

See also: Arab and Muslim anti-Semitism, Arab Anti-semitism 1997, Arab Anti-semitism 1998, Arab Anti-semitism 1999, Arab Anti-semitism 2001, Arab Anti-semitism 2002, Arab Anti-semitism 2003. Arab Anti-semitism 2004, Arab Anti-semitism 2005, Arab Anti-semitism 2006, Arab Anti-semitism 2007, Arab Anti-semitism 2008 Anti-Zionist Quotes . Mahathir Muhammad  Speech 2003 , Racism in Saudi Texts, Jews and Muslims in Post-Israel Middle East - Azzam Tamimi, The Problem of Muslim Anti-Semitism - Irfan Khawaja

Anti-Semitic Jews - Apostate Jews and some others have often made a career of adopting and disseminating anti-Semitic opinions, libels on the Talmud and "revelations" about supposed secret and obnoxious Jewish customs. As there are anti-American Americans and Christians who denounced Christianity, there is no logical reason why there should not be anti-Semitic Jews. The mere fact that they are or were Jews lends a false authority to their claims. In some cases, the person in question is not really Jewish.

Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism - Anti-Zionism is opposition to the existence of the state of Israel or the idea of reconstituting a Jewish homeland. It is not necessarily anti-Semitic, but it usually is so, especially when the complaints against Israel and "Zionists" include controlling the government of the United States, conspiring to take over the world, starting world wars etc. (see above for characteristics of anti-Semitic Web sites). Anti-Zionism is usually based on the premise that Jews are inferior or different from any other group of people, and therefore do not have the right to declare themselves a nation or people. See article by John L. Strawson for a discussion of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism).

Anti-Zionist Web sites - "Anti-Zionist" Web sites such as abbc.com, ziopedia, radio-islam, serendipity and rense.com regularly feature articles about the Protocols of the Elders of Zion or Hitler's Mein Kampf, libels against the Talmud and Holocaust denial. Other sites, such as Stormfront, feature the same materials without the protective guise of "anti-Zionism"

A Concise Timeline of anti-Semitism

Detailed Timeline: Time-Line: Anti-Semitism

3rd cent. B.C.E. Manetho, Greco-Egyptian historian, says Jews were expelled from Egypt as lepers.
38 B.C.E. Anti-Jewish riots in Alexandria (Egypt): many Jews were killed, and all the Jews were confined to one quarter of the city.
66 Massacre of the Jews of Alexandria (Egypt) in which 50,000 were killed.
535-553 Emperor Justinian I issues his novellae to Corpus Juris Civilis expressing his anti-Jewish policy.
612 Visigothic king Sisebut of Spain inaugurates a policy of forcible conversion of all Jews in the kingdom.
624-628 Jewish tribes of Hejaz (Arabia) destroyed by Muhammad.
628 Dagobert I expels Jews from Frankish kingdom.
694-711 All Jews under Visigothic rule in Spain declared slaves, their possessions confiscated and the Jewish religion outlawed.
717-20 Caliph Omar II introduces series of discriminatory regulations against the dhimmi, the protected Christians and Jews, among them the wearing of a special garb.
1096-99 First Crusades. Crusaders massacre the Jews of the Rhineland (1096).
1144 Blood libel at Norwich (England); first record, blood libel - Martyrdom of St. William of Norwich related in the Anglo-Saxon chronicle.
1146 Anti-Jewish riots in Rhineland by the Crusaders of the second Crusades.
1235 Blood libel  at Fulda, Germany.
1242 Burning of the Talmud at Paris.
1255 Blood libel at Lincoln, England.
1290 Expulsion of the Jews from England, the first of the great general expulsions of the Middle Ages.
1298-99 Rindfleisch Massacres -Massacre of thousands of Jews in 146 localities in southern and central  Germany led by the German knight Rindfleisch.
1306-20 Pastoureaux ("Shepherds"), participants of the second Crusade in France against the Muslims in Spain, attack the Jews of 120 localities in southwest France.
1321-22 Expulsion from the kingdom of France.
1336-39 Persecutions against Jews in Franconia and Alsace led by lawless German bands, the Armleder.
1348-50 Black Death Massacres which spread throughout Spain, France, Germany and Austria, as a result of accusations that the Jews had caused the death of Christians by poisoning the wells and other water sources.
1391 Spanish Massacres (Seville, 1391) - Wave of massacres and conversions in Spain and Balearic Islands.
1399 Blood libel  in Poznan.
  Torquemada - Head of Inquisition
1490-91 Blood libel  in La Guardia, town in Spain, where the alleged victim (Christopher of Toledo)  became revered as a saint.
1496-97 Expulsion from Portugal: mass forced conversion.
1506 Lisbon Massacre - Massacre of Marranos  in Lisbon.
1516 Venice initiates the ghetto, the first in Christian Europe.
1531 Inquisition established in Portugal.
1535 Jews of Tunisia expelled and massacred.
1541 Expulsion from the kingdom of Naples. Expulsion from Prague and crown cities.
1544 Martin Luther, German religious reformer, attacks the Jews with extreme virulence.
1554 Censorship of Hebrew books introduced in Italy.
1555 Bull Cum Nimis Absurdum established the ghetto in Rome
1624 Ghetto established at Ferrara (Italy).
1648-49 Massacres initiated by Bogdan Chmielnicki, leader of the Cossacks, and peasant uprising against Polish rule in the Ukraine, in which 100,000 Jews were killed and 300 communities destroyed.
1670 Expulsion from Vienna: Blood libel at Metz (France).
1734-36 Haidamacks, paramilitary bands in Polish Ukraine, attack Jews.
1745 Expulsion from Prague.
1768 Haidamacks massacre the Jews of Uman (Poland) together with the Jews from other places who had sought refuge there.
1788 Haidamacks massacre the Jews of Uman (Poland): 20,000 Jews and Poles killed.
1791 Pale of Settlement-twenty-five provinces of Czarist Russia established, where Jews permitted permanent residence: Jews forbidden to settle elsewhere in Russia.
1819  Hep_Hep Riots in Germany.
1840 Blood libel in Damascus (The Damascus Affair). Blood libel in Rhodes
1853 Blood libel in Saratov (Russia), bringing a renewal of the blood libel throughout Russia.
1879 Wilhelm Marr, German agitator, coins the term anti-Semitism.
1881-84 Pogroms sweep southern Russia, beginning of mass Jewish emigration.
1882 A series of "temporary laws" confirmed by Czar Alexander III of Russia in May, 1882 ("May Laws"), which adopted a systematic policy of discrimination, with the object of removing the Jews from their economic and public positions.
1894 Dreyfus Affair - Alfred Dreyfus trial in Paris.
1903 Kishinev Pogrom - Pogrom at Kishinev, Russia.
1905 Russian Pogroms - 1905 - Pogroms in the Ukraine and Bessarabia, perpetrated in 64 towns (most serious in Odessa with over 300 dead and thousands wounded).
1905 First Russian public edition of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion appears.
1906 Pogroms In Bialystok and Siedlce, Russia.
1911-13 Menahem Mendel Beilis, blood libel trial at Kiev.
1917-21 Russian Civil War Pogroms - 50,000 to 100,000 killed.
1924 Economic restrictions on Jews in Poland.
1933 Adolf Hitler appointed chancellor of Germany. Anti-Jewish economic boycott: first concentration camps (Dachau, Oranienburg, Esterwegen and Sachsenburg).
1935 Nuremberg Laws introduced.
1938 Kristallnacht, Nazi anti-Jewish outrage in Germany and Austria (Nov. 9-10, 1938): Jewish businesses attacked, synagogues burnt, Jews sent to concentration camps.
1939 Outbreak of World War 11 (Sept. 1, 1939), Poland overrun by German army: pogroms in Poland; beginning of the Holocaust.
1940 Nazi Germany introduces gassing.
1940 Formation of ghettos in Poland: mass shootings of Jews: Auschwitz camp, later an extermination camp, established; Western European Jews under Nazis. Belzec extermination camp established.
1940 Algerian administration applies social laws of Vichy.
1941 Germany invades Russia and the Baltic states.Extermination camp established.  Pogroms in Jassy (Iasi), Rumania. Beginning of deportation and murder of Jews in France.
1941 Farhud - Pogrom against Jews in Iraq in consequence of Rashid Ali al-Jilani's coup d'?tat. Nazi Germany introduces gassing in extermination camps. Babi Yar massacre. .
1942 Wannsee Conference - Conference in Wannsee, Berlin, to carry out the "Final Solution" (Jan. 20, 1942). Beginning of mass transports of Jews of Belgium and Holland to Auschwitz. Massacres in occupied Russia continue. Death camps of Auschwitz, Majdanek and Treblinka begin to function at full capacity: transports from ghettos to death camps. Sobibor extermination camp established.
1943 Germany declared Judenrein. Transports of Jews from all over Europe to death camps. Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and final liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto (May 16, 1943). Annihilation of most of the ghettos. Transport of Italian Jews to death camps.
1945 Germany surrenders (May 8, 1945) estimated Jewish victims in the Holocaust 5,820,960.
1946 Pogrom at Kielce, Poland, 42 Jews murdered and many wounded (July 4, 1946).
1948 Pogroms in Libya and elsewhere in the Arab world.
1952 Prague Trials (Slonsk?y): Murder of Yiddish intellectuals in Russia and many Jews disappear or sent to work camps.
1953 Accusation of "Doctors' plot" in the U.S.S.R., cancelled with Stalin's death.
1954-6 Jews of Egypt expelled.
1961 Mustapha Tlass, Defense Minister of Syria, publishes a history of the Damascus blood libel which claims that Jews actually do murder Christian children.
1967 Arabic version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion published in Egypt.
2005 Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran, claims that the Holocaust was a myth or exaggerated, vows to achieve a "world without Zionism and Israel."

Source: Table - Adapted from "Anti-Semitism", Keter Publishing House,
Jerusalem, 1974, ISBN 0 7065-1327 4 Modifications and additions copyright by Ami Isseroff and https://Zionism-israel.com.

Ami Isseroff

Updated April 15, 2009

Synonyms and alternate spellings: Antisemitism, Jew hate, Judeo-Phobia

Further Information: Jew Judeophobia or 'Antisemitism - a History  Arab and Muslim Anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism - A Study  Jews & Jewish Religion Jew  Antisemitism  

External Sources:
Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Antisemitism

Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia Today

Anti-Semitism Research Resources

Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism

What is anti-Semitism?

Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism

In Dutch: Geschiedenis Joden en antisemitisme in Europa en de Arabische wereld

Hebrew/Arabic pronunciation and transliteration conventions:

'H - ('het) a guttural sound made deep in the throat. To Western ears it may sound like the "ch" in loch. In Arabic there are several letters that have similar sounds. Examples: 'hanukah, 'hamas, 'haredi. Formerly, this sound was often represented by ch, especially in German transliterations of Hebrew. Thus, 'hanukah is often rendered as Chanuka for example.

ch - (chaf) a sound like "ch" in loch or the Russian Kh as in Khruschev or German Ach, made by putting the tongue against the roof of the mouth. In Hebrew, a chaf can never occur at the beginning of a word. At the beginning of a word, it has a dot in it and is pronounced "Kaf."

u - usually between oo as in spoon and u as in put.

a- sounded like a in arm

ah- used to represent an a sound made by the letter hey at the end of a word. It is the same sound as a. Haganah and Hagana are alternative acceptable transliterations.

'a-notation used for Hebrew and Arabic ayin, a guttural ah sound.

o - close to the French o as in homme.

th - (taf without a dot) - Th was formerly used to transliterate the Hebrew taf sound for taf without a dot. However in modern Hebrew there is no detectable difference in standard pronunciation of taf with or without a dot, and therefore Histadruth and Histadrut, Rehovoth and Rehovot are all acceptable.

q- (quf) - In transliteration of Hebrew and Arabic, it is best to consistently use the letter q for the quf, to avoid confusion with similar sounding words that might be spelled with a kaf, which should be transliterated as K. Thus, Hatiqva is preferable to Hatikva for example.

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