Antisemitism, Anti-Semitism and plain old Jew hate

antisemitism, racism and hatred of Jews

Antisemitism Reference Center

Antisemitism, Anti-Semitism and plain old Jew hate

Anti-semitism or Antisemitism? It's all just hatred of Jews, Jew hate, the oldest hate in the world. Learn how to recognise it and how to tell when someone had gone too far.

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Antisemitism, and new Antisemitism

Antisemitism or Anti-Semitism?

Jews may suffer from Antisemitism, but the changes of facing Anti-Semitism are zero to none. Outside of Microsoft Word's spell check (definitly not antisemitic!)... there's no such thing. The word you want is antisemitism. One word. It has (particularly since Word started making this mistake) often been writen as anti-Semitism instead of the correct one word, non hyphenated antisemitism. The problem with Anti-Semitism is that it's not actually against Semitism. Never has been. Semitic is the name of a language group including Hebrew and Arabic. Antisemitism is however not against people who speak these languages, it is specifically against Jews. The word was created to confuse, and to allow Antisemitism to be publically acceptable by distancing it from the words Jew and Hate and putting scientific shine on it.

Wikipedia says

Anti-Semitism (alternatively spelled antisemitism) is hostility toward or prejudice against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group, which can range from individual hatred to institutionalized, violent persecution. The highly explicit ideology of Adolf Hitler's Nazism was the most extreme example of this phenomenon, leading to a genocide of the European Jewry.

Wikipedia comments on the origin of Antisemitism

German political agitator Wilhelm Marr coined the related German word Antisemitismus in his book "The Way to Victory of Germanicism over Judaism" in 1879. Marr used the phrase to mean Jew-hatred or Judenhass, and he used the new word antisemitism to make hatred of the Jews seem rational and sanctioned by scientific knowledge.

Professor Yehuda Bauer an expert on Antisemitism explained
The term "antisemitism" is, as many of us realize, the wrong term for what we try to describe and analyze. It was coined, paradoxically, by an antisemite, Wilhelm Marr, in 1879, because he needed a new word for Jew-hatred. The old one, Judenhass, was identified as a Christian, basically theological, appellation, and Marr was anti Christian, because Christianity was, and in this he was quite correct, a Jewish invention. The new term sounded scientific, did not mention Jews, but everyone knew who and what was meant; it described a newly developed phenomenon, of a nationalistic and racial biological approach. Antisemitism, especially in its hyphenated spelling, is inane nonsense, because there is no Semitism that you can be anti to. There are semitic languages, and you can hardly be against semitic languages.

For propoganda purposes some Arab and Muslim groups have tried to claim antisemitism applies to them to. This is done for two reasons, the first is to establish a foundation defintion of antisemitism which naturally excludes themselves at perpetrators. They then claim they can't possibly be antisemitic because they're Arab. Having confounded any anti-racists, they then continue with their antisemitism and antisemitic hate activities. The second is perhaps worse, the claim has been stretched as far as saying that Antisemitism is not really about Jews. As such the Holocaust makes no sense as it was supposedly all abotu antisemitism, ergo, the Holocaust did not happen they say. This is all ofcourse rather dangerous racism, not "just antisemitism". Azmi Bishara, an Arab Israeli Member of the Knesset (the Israeli Parliment) wrote:

Basically, the concept of "anti-Semitism" occurred in a specific context hostile to Jews. It is meaningless to ignore the idiom's context and say that racism against Arabs is a form of anti-Semitism because they are Semitic people.

Leaving all this to one side, a person who exhibits antisemitic behavior may be of any ancestry, including a Jew or an Arab. Three examples of antisemitism are Johannes Pfefferkorn (German Christian theologian who was born Jewish and converted), Karl Marx (German philosopher, political economist, and revolutionary - born into a Jewish family, his father converted them to Christianity so he could keep practising Law) and Bobby Fischer (considered by many to be the greatest chess player in history, better known today for his anti-Americanism, anti-imperialism, and anti-Semitism - Fischer was also born Jewish). They all had Jewish ancestry, but the evidence clearly shows them to be anti-Semites. Fischer went so far as Holocaust denial, antisemitism by any strecth of the imagination.

Antisemitism is the world's oldest hate. It's not JUST the Holocaust. Before that there was the Massacres at York, the Spanish Inquisition, expulsion from most places on earth, antisemitic policy of the church, etc. These are all examples of antisemitism. As I read some where, in Rome, Black people could become citizens and had equal right to other citizens. Jews could not become citizens. Roman antisemitism? What do you think? While the Holocaust was the ultimate example not only of antisemitism but also in general of hate based purely on race, hatred of Jews dates back well before "racial science" was founded, and well before the term Antisemitism was coined to make this hate politely called antisemitism look acceptable.

Antisemitism is just racism. No more no less. It's unfortunatly that the very term antisemitism was coined to make it sound socially acceptable, but it is even more unfortunate that its acceptance is seems again to be growing.

Key references

The following may help you identify antisemitism and other types of racism

EU definition of antisemitism

Used by law enforcement throughout Europe

Behind much criticism of Israel is a thinly veiled hatred of Jews

Emanuele Ottolenghi, in The Guardian on Saturday November 29, 2003

A New Antisemitism

Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks, June 2002

Blurring the line

Fair critisism or antisemitism? By Abraham H. Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (the ADL), in Haaretz on April 4, 2004

Antisemitism in 3-D

Differentiating legitimate criticism of Israel from the so-called new anti-Semitism. By Natan Sharansky in Jerusalem Post, on February 23, 2004


What is Anti-Zionism?

Disagreeing with the policies of the Israeli government is in and of itself neither Antisemitic nor Anti-Zionist.

Even outside of this Anti-Zionism is not always Antisemitism, but many of those who claim to be anti-Zionist are in fact in fact peddling re-badged Antisemitism.

Our reference center can help you understand Anti-Zionism

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