Thursday, June 17, 2010

What is Antisemitism?

Yellow badge Star of David called Judenstern
Yellow badge Star of David called "Judenstern". Part of the exhibition in the Jewish Museum Westphalia, Dorsten, Germany. The wording is the German word for Jew (Jude), written in mock-Hebrew script.

Antisemitism 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 nations in which they reside. A person who practices antisemitism 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 under Adolf Hitler's 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"), and that has been its normal use since then.

Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License and Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)