Anti-Semitism is a type of discrimination that specifically targets those of Jewish heritage. It is arguably one of the oldest and most widespread prejudices in the world as Jews have been the targets of innumerable acts of violence and harassment from ancient times (though they are by no means the only group to suffer such hostility). However, it is also associated with racism against Arabic people. There are racist Ashkenazi Jews who are anti-Arabic like there are Arabic anti-Jews.
Etymologically the word would seem to indicate opposition to Semitic peoples (a group characterized by speaking or earlier speaking Semitic languages). This is problematic since there are other Semitic peoples than Jews. This was originally somewhat less of a problem since there were few Semites except for Jews in Europe when the word was coined. Proponents of the Khazar theory may consider the word to be etymologically incorrect since some Jewish groups are argued to descend from the Khazars and not from Semitic populations.
Due to the genocide is known as the Holocaust, a significant number of nations began to address Anti-Semitism and the importance of tackling it in order to try and prevent a regime such as the Nazis from reaching power again: however despite increased levels of awareness on the issue like all prejudices Anti-Semitism is difficult to completely erase.
The root causes of Anti-Semitism will likely never be fully understood though some of it does stem from resentment of the fact many Jews in history were merchants or business people, who worked very hard to gain wealth but were nevertheless hated for their success: this was especially true in Medieval Europe and Jews were seen as a threat by other merchants, this coupled with xenophobia (fear of other cultures) probably fuelled most of the attacks on Jews at the time.
The deliberate demonization of the Jewish people also helped to fuel Anti-Semitism. This was rampant in Nazi Germany, where the Nazi Party continually tried to demonize the Jews so as to dehumanize them to the public: this became so bad that when the Nazis decided to commit genocide many did not see a wrong in it until much later, having become brainwashed by the power of propaganda.
Anti-Semitism comes under fire from opponents of the Zionist Movement due to a common argument that those who oppose Zionism are inherently Anti-Semitic, despite the Zionist Movement not representing the views of many mainstream Jews: Anti-Semitism is also used by some to try and silence opposition to Israel or other controversial subjects, making some label Anti-Semitism as an example of a "race card" that is used to try and slander legitimate criticism of a people or culture.
KNOWN ANTI-SEMITE GROUPS / SUPPORTERS
- Adolf Hitler
- Joseph Goebbels
- Josef Mengele
- Saddam Hussein
- Osama bin Laden
- The Islamic State
- Fred Phelps
- Ku Klux Klan