*** Judiasm anti-Semitism


Figure 1.--This piece from Valencia probably dating to the 14th century shows Jews attempted to destroy the Communion Host. It was designed to show how Jews were secretly seeking to undermine Christianity. Art work like this was commissioned by churches all over Europe and shows the central role of the Catholc Church in prompting and propagating anti-Semitism throughout Europe.

The Jewish people over time experienced periods of benign toleration followed by rulthless suppression. Anti Semitism became a prominent aspect of European life during the Medieval Era. Throughout the Medieval era Jews were the target of persecution by the Catholic Church. The history of the Jews and the extent of perscution has varied widely from country to country. Many states expelled the Jews entirely. The most famous such event was Spain's expulsion of the Jews (1492). Other countries also expelled the Jews, including England. There were a few islands of toleration, the most prominent being the Netherlands. Historically Islam was more tolerant to Jews and o ther Christian sects than the Catholic Church. In the late Medieval era, Jews in Poland and Russia were the target of horific pogroms. Only in the 19th century did Jews begin to gain full civil rights in Western Europe. The most horific explosion of anti-SEmitism was the NAZI attempt to eradicate European Jewery during World War II. After the War anti-Semitism declined, a trend based on having witnessed what anti-Semitism can lead to. In more recent years, however, anti-Semitism has become a growth industry around the world, including Europe. In the Arab world fired by the Palentinian-Israeli conflict, anti-Semitism has become a uesful scapegoat for Arab leaders who have poorly managed their countries. 【Timmerman】

Ancient Times

Most ancient people have been lost to history. We know about the more powerful civikizatiions, primarily thise that developed written languages, but most ancient peoples have duisappeared anf lost to history. The Jews are a rare rellatively small group that has survived. Most of the many peoole largely ubknown to history weee destroyed by a single great power. The Jews in sharp ontrast even before the Roman onslaught, survived four great poweres all detailed in the Bible. The Egyptian enslavement of the Jews and resulting Exodus is one of the great historical sagas. 【Book of Exodus】 Then the Jews were asaulted by the Assyrians 【Book of Isaiah】, Babylonians 【Book of Second Kings】, and Persians. The Persian official Haman the Agagite plotted to kill the Jews of Persia. 【Book of Esther】 Of course, the Jews were ultimately saved from the Babylonians by another Persian--Cyrus the Great. 【Book of Ezra】 Few smaller ancient people surcuved cintact with one of these great powers. The Jews somehow survived the major great powers of the Middle East.

The Diaspora

The Roman supression of the Jewish revolt was brutal. Thousands of Jews were killed. Thousands more were brought to Rome and other cities and sold as slaves. Other Jews migrated on their own. This began the Jewish diaspora throughout Europe and North Africa, much of which was part of the Roman Empire. The Jews driven from or fleeing Palestine attempted to set up communities in the new lands where they settled. They attempted to maintain their religion and cultural heritage while living as a minority. Cultures have varied as to hw minorities were treated and many varied over time. Thus Jews in many countries experienced long periods of varying degrees of toleration punctuated by terrible violence. Many European countries expelled them. These expulsions did not occur at the same time. Thus there were always places in Europe where Jews could live even during the times of terrible violence, such as the Crusades and plague epedemics. There are many factors involved in the enduring phenomenon of anti-semitism, but perhaps most important is their existence over time as a minority and their decesin not to assimilate in the countries where they lived.

Roman Empire

Jewish communities existed outside of Palestine before the Roman supression of the Jewish Revolt and exile of the Jews. Rgere were Jewish communities in Asia Minor (modern Turkey) and in the Levant. Not a lot, however, is known about their size abd origin. The Romans regarded the Jews as religious zealots. Caligula came cloes to launching a major campaign against them. The Jews were, however, a recognized religion, affirded some status within the Empire. The Romn exile of the Jews spread them in large numbers throughout the Empire. Some were brought to Rome and other Roman cities as slaves. Others migrated on their own. It was, however, the Jewsish offshhot, Chritisanity, which was targeted by the Empire. Jewish communities also attempted to supress the Christians in their midst, especially when preaching in or near religious gatherngs. Paul writes of persecuring Christians until is revelation on the Road to Damascus. He then describes how he was himself beaten by Jews when talking in any synagogue. 【Acts of the Apostles】 The early center for Chrstianity was Greece and Asia Minor. This in part probably reflected the existence of Jewish communities there. Jewih animosity toward Christians gradully abated as Christianity thanks to Paul expanded among the Gentiles. The Jewish community no longer became the center of Christian prostelizing. The relationship between Jews and Christians began to change gain with Consantine's conversion. Constantin by edict made Christians the religion of the Empire (312 AD). Then the Church gradually changed from an oppressed religion, to the dominant religion seeking to use the power of the Roman state to supress rival religions.

Development of Anit-Semitism

Christianity was one of many competing faiths within the Roman Empire. The Empire was extrenely tolerant concerning religion. The Romans did not impose their Gods upon conquered peoples. And both Romans and subject people were free to chose one of the many relgious sects that competed for the faithful. Christianity was one of the few such scects that were viciously persecuted, in part because their insistence on one god denied both the Roman Gids and the Emperor's divinity. In this atmpsphere the Christianity which developed out of Judism became at first strained and then hstile. This was not inevitable. Christianity was a first nutured with Judaism. Christ himself nd the appotles were all ews. And the Church fathers accepted the Jewish holy texts as part of the Bible. Major concepts within Judasim were accepted by the Church fathers, including bodily resurectiins, divine judgement, and messianic redemption. 【Fredriksen】 As Christians split from Judaism they clashed over interpretation of religious texts and competiton for converts. This ultimately to Christian condemntion of Judaism. The Church did not move just against the Jews. Breaking from the Roman traditon of tolerance, the Church moved against ll other religions and sects. With Constantine the status of Christianity changed. Eventually the Church was able to command the coercise power of the Roman state. All other faiths except Judaism were completely supressed. The Jews hd their defenders. The most notable was St Augustine Augustine f Hippo. He argued that the Jews shold not only be tolerated but should be unimpeded in the practice of their faith. ugustine wrote, "By the evidence of their own scriptures, they bear witnessfor us that we have not fabcated the prophecies about Christ." 【St. Augustine 】

Early Medieval Europe

The Jewish people over time experienced periods of benign toleration followed by rulthless suppression. Anti Semitism became a prominent aspect of European life during the Medieval Era.

Catholic Church

Throughout the Medieval era Jews were the target of persecution by the Catholic Church. The history of the Jews and the extent of perscution has varied widely from country to country. Some countries tolerated Jews over long period. One such country was Spain, in part because of the Muslim influence. In some countries Jews were welcomed, and they enjoyed long periods of peace with their neighbors. The Cristan Church after Constantine's converion becan to percecute other religions in an effot to eradicate paganism. Here with the authority of the state they largely succeeded. Church leaders debated about the Jews. Some wanted to supress them with forced conversions. Augustine argued that they should not be supressed, but rather living in a state of poverty and degradation would be an example of thise who refused the Christian faith. The Germanic ibvasions of the 5th and 6th cdnturies destroyed the Roman state and the implements of supression. This resulted in a period of relative tolerance for Jews in the West. Grdually as the the European kingdoms formed the Church again began to acquire the means of percecution. Charlemagne's toleration of the Jews and the Islamic influence in Spain resulted in an eraof relative tolerane. Church authorities, however, preached against the Jews and over time became less and less tolerant. With the Crusades an era of terrible persecution began with variatins from country to county. Jewsof course did not share the Christian belief that Jesus was the Son of God. The Church which became increasingly powerful, even challenging the authority of the Holy Roman Emperor grew less ad less tolerant. The Church preached that the Jews (rather than the Romans) were responsible for Jesus' death. The Church took the position that Jews were attempting to undermine Christianity. The paiting here of Jews descecrating the Holy Eucraist is an example (figure 1). The Church also depicted Judiasm as evil. Here rumors such as the Blood Libel became widespread.

Econonomic Factors

Economic factors were also important in the development of Europen anti-semitism. Here they were also tied to the Church because the Church so dominated Europen life. European rulers, often under Church influence, plced restrictions on Jews, excluding them from certain professions and preventing them from owning land. This meant tht Jews developed as an urban population and became concentrated in ceratain jobs. Often the guilds developing in Europen cities, prevailed on authorities to restrct Jewish activity to limit competition Because Jews unlike most Europens were literate, they were prominant in professions like medecine. And because the early Church did not permit usury (charging interest on loans), Jews became prominant in finance--a key factor as the Europen economies with the Renaisance began to grow. And this helped to increase their unpopularity and create the sterotype as grasping and money loving. Some princes would involve Jews in tax collecting.


Historically Islam was more tolerant toward Jews and other Christian sects than the Catholic Church. This of course is a relative matter. Mohammed at the very birth of Islam orred the killing of Jews in the Koran. And there were reprated ouburst of violence against Jews by the Arabs. Until modrn gimes, however, it is fair to say that Ilam was more tolerant thn Chrisendom. This changed wiuth the 18th century Enlightenment in the West.

The Crusades (11th-14th Centuries)

The anti-Semitism propagated by the Church became more and more intense, especially after the passing of Charlemagne and his empire. A factor here was the rising influence of the papacy and an oincreasing desire to purify Chrisendom. This strongly affected public thought which was also influenced by Jewish involvement with usury. Hatred of Jews took a terrible violent turn with the onset of the Crusades. The Partiarch in Byzantium forwarded repots to Rome of Muslims attacking Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem and defiling Christian holy places, especially the Church of the Holy Sepulcher--perhaps the most revered Christian sanctuary. Pope Urban II already addressing problems of intra-Christian Feudl conflicts decided that a Christian crusade aginst the infidel Muslims could both reduce the levcel of violence in Europe, but reclaim Jerusalem from the infidels. The result was the First Crusade (1095). This was the first of a series of Christian Crusades against the Muslims to regain the Holy Land. Crusading nobles fired by Christian preaching and the lure of booty begn a military campaign under the sign of the cross to liberte the Holy Land. This was a time of great religious passion in Europe. The Church reigned supreme throughout much of Europe. Other factors fueld the religious upsurge, including the turbulent times, Feudal coblicts, crop failure, famine, and plague. Many in these calamities saw the hand of God. Before the advent of modern science, superstion and religion dominated the popula mind. Many saw the Crusades as way of appeasing an apparently rathful God. Pope Urban promised salvation to the Crusaders who would fight the offending Muslims. Many Christian clerics saw little difference between the Jews of Europe and the Myslims. One monk taught, "First avenge the crucified, then go off to fight the Turks." Crusading bodies moving from various parts of Europe along with local mobs targetted Jewish communities as they marched to the Holy Land. Reports suggest that almost all of France's Jews were murdered, accepted those who convrted. Christian clerics did not interfere. It seemed only logical that Crusaders should not leave infidels at home as they went off to distant klands to fight the infidel. The abbot of Cluny asked this very question, why Christians should travel to "the ends of the world to fight the Saracens, when we permit among us other infidels a thousand times more guilty toward Christ than the Mohammedans?" Of course not only religious passions were at play, but the Crusaders who killed Jews and despoiled Jewish communities profited handsomely from the resulting booty. 【Weiss, p. 15.】 There were futher attacks on Jews resulting from the subsequent Crusades. A major factor here was the route of the crusading armies.


Expulsion does not capture what happened to the Jews of Western Europe beginning with the Crusader era. Most of Western Europe expelled their Jews. But the expulsion itself was the least of their travails. What actually happened is that many were stripped of their property and ordered out if the various kingdoms and principalities. Their property was seized and they were forced on the open road with no way to sustain themselves. Many were in or got to ports. Many were not accepted in other Christian ports. Even Amsterdam was not at the time safe. Many got to Muslim ports where they were often received with generosity. This was often the case within the Ottoman Empire. But some were robbed and enslaved in Muslim ports. The expulsions were very complicated. Often it was not an entire kingdom that acted. Often it was a city or region that acted. Making the history of the expulsions hugely complicated. Here we will look at onkly the majoe excpulssions.Jews expelled from Upper Bavaria (1276). France went through a period of expelling the Jews accompanied by robbing them of their property, followed by temporary readmission for further ransom. The French monarchy pursued this as a fiscal policy. Philip Augustus expelled the Jews in Paris (1182). Louis IX expelled the Jews from France (1254). Philip IV did so again (1306) as did Charles IV (1322), Charles V (1359), and Charles VI (1394). The Kingdom of Naples expelled the Jews from southern Italy (1288). King Edward expelled the Jews from England issuing the first Edict of Expulsion (1290). Many did not survive. The order was reversed by Oliver Cromwell (1656). Berne, Switzerland expelled its Jews. This was many of the Jews in the country (1294). This involved executing several as part of a blood libel, but a deal was arranged allowing Jews to return after paying a fine, but were expelled again (1408-27). Louis I expelled the Jews from Hungary (1360). Duke Albert V ordered the imprisonment and forcible conversion of all the Jews in Austria (1420-21). Some converted, but others fled the country. Pope Clement VIII expelled Jews from the papal states, with a few exceptions, most notably Rome. The Medici family was a rare exception, inviting Jews to help develop, who want to develop Tuscany into a commercial center. The Spanish Inquisition was formed to forcibly convert Jews and Muslims (1494). Spain had been a rare corner of Europe with a degree of religious toleration. The Spanish rulers saw this as a weakness. Ferdinand and Isabella demanded Jews convert. Those that did not convert were expelled (1492). Large numbers perished as a result of the expulsion process. The Inquisition closely monitored those that converted and remained--the Moranos. The Inquisition was not closed and ended until (1834). King John II played a duplicitous role with the Spanish deportee Jews. King Manuel deported the remaining Jews (1496). The Dutch were one of the few places in Christian Europe offering refuge to Jews. As part of the Dutch-Portuguese War, the Dutch seized Recife in Brazil and some Jews settled there. When the Portuguese recovered Recife, many of the Jews there settled in New Amsterdam (1654). This swould be the origins of the first Jews in what is now the United States. Emperor Leopold I expelled Jews from Vienna (1669). He subsequently prohibited Jews from living in Austrian. This was the first of many expulsions by Holy Roman emperors in Germany driving Jews east. Poland became a have for expelled Jews. Tsarina Catherine after seizing much of Poland as part of the Polish Partitions created the Pale of Settlement, deporting Jews in Russia (1791). The Pale became the largest Jewish settlement with over 4 million (late-19th century). Tsarist oppression would drive many Jews to America, creating another major Jewish population centers.

The Plague (14th Century)

As an unpopular minority in an age when superstitin was wide spred, Jews were commonly blaned for calamities. This was especially the case when the Black Deah struck Western Europe. The Plague descimated Europe, killing perhaps a third of the population. It killed both Jews and Gentiles, but Christians blamed the Jews and there were many instances of Jews being attacked during this period.

The Inquisition and Morranos (15-16th centuries)

The Holy Office of the Inquisition was founded in the Medieval era by the Church to enforce orthodoxy. This became known as the Roman Inquisition. The primary target were Christian heritics and not Jews. As Jews were not Christians, they could not be accused of heresy. As Isabella and Ferdinand were completing the Reconquista they established a separate body, the Spanish Inquisition which became infamous for torturing and buring suspected heritics. Jews came under the perview of the Inquisition after Isabella and Fedinanded issued an expullusion order (1492). Jews that agreed to convert could stay in Spain. But little effort was made to minister to those who converted who became known as confesos or Marannos. Many continued to pracive Judiasm in secret. They thus became guilty of heresy and were persued zealously by the Spanish Inquisition. The Roman Inquisition was revived by te Reformtion (1517). The Congregation of the Holy Office controlled the Roman Inquisition (1542). Their primary target was suspected Protestants in the Papl States, but Marranos were also targeted.

Late Medieval Europe

Jews wre expelled from many European countries. In these countries, anti-Semitism continued even without Jews. The most famous such event was Spain's expulsion of the Jews (1492), in pat because for ceturies the Jews had played such an important role in Spain and had been tolerated by both Islmic and Christian rulers. Other countries also expelled the Jews, including England.

The Netherlands

There were a few islands of toleration, the most prominent being the Netherlands.

The Reformation (16th century)

Martin Luther began the Reformatin when he nailed his 95 Thesis on the church doorat Wittenberg (1517) His attempt to reform the Church land return it to to a more pure Christianity led to a massive schism in Christianity and acentury of religious conflict. The Jews were not a major concern. He was particularly dusturbed by the selling of indulgences. The Jews did not, however, escape his attention. Luther does not appear to have been epecially anti-semitic in his early writings, a least in te context of the day. Luthur at first thought that the Jews would see the light and convert to Lutheranism, but he gradually realized that Jews were no more interested in his preeching than Catholicusm. He began writing hateful messages about Jews (1543). This change of mind is not fully understood. The early Luthur was an idealist. He was horrified with the social passions he un;eashed, especially the Peasant Rebellion. He came to accept the importance of secular authorities having the power to supress such uprisings. Perhaps he also decided it could be used to supress wht he saw as wring thinking such as Judiasm. Another factor may well have been his increasing obsessin with the devil as he grew older. He seems to have nightmares about the Devil trying to attck him. And in Luthur's mnd Judiasm was little short of devil worship. Other important Protestant leaders, such as John Calvin and Ulrich Zwingli, were more tolerant than Luther. They tended to focus more on their doctrinal disputes when the papacy. The same spirit of toleration did not occur in Catholic Europe. The Catholic Church struck back at the Reformation with the Counter Reformation. As so often in history, the Jews were caught between the two Christian movements. A series of Renaisance popes had been very tolerant toward the Jews. This changed with the Counter Reformation. A series of popes strucj out against not only Protestants, but any other group that was not Catholic, including the Jews. Jews and Morranos in the Papal states were targetted. There were buring of apostates and Jews not expelled were confined to ghettos. Over time Jews benefitted from the Reformation, especially in Protestant Europe. So many Protestant sects developed that no one denomination dominated. And out of the multi-plicity of denominations a spirit of toleration developed which gradually was extended to Jews, although anti-semitism did not disappear.

Western Europe: Enfranchisement and Race

Only in the 19th century did Jews begin to gain full civil rights in Western Europe. The French Revolution left in its wake both liberal ideas and nationalistic passions. The two threads had very different impacts on Jews. As liberal ideas spread, Europen countries began to abolish anti-semetic laws. Spain finally abolished the Inquisiton. Countries by the late-19th century had begun to change laws and and adopt increasingly secular appraches. Part of this was to fully enfranchise Jews. This did not end anti-Semetic thought, in fact it seems to have fueled it in some quarters. Supression continued in the Papal states and anti-Semetic thought continued strong within the Church. Anti-Semitism remained pronounced in many countries, especially among highly nnalistic and often Catholic sections of society. Support for Socialist parties among Jews also alientated mationslist and traditionalist elements. And a new form of anti-semitism apeared--racial prejudice. The race factor was not absent in earlier periods, but was secondary to religion. The 'limpieza de sangre' (purity of blood) laws of medieval Spain applied to all non-Christians, but had a particularly adverse impact on the Jewish converts (maranos). They continued to bear some of the disabilities to which Jews had historically been subject, But as religious began to decline in importance, especially during the Enlightenment, race and nationalism invreased in intensity. The two ideas were related as many countries defined natiinality in terms of ethnicity and race. Many Europeans, especully the Germans did not see Ameica as a real country because of its mixed ethnicity. Anti-Semitism and race nave been totally separate, but until the 19th century anti-semitism was primarily a religious matter. Countries that expelled Jews had often allowed them the option of converting. Race prejudice became increasingly pronounced in the 19th century. And it began to be justified in scientific terms, leading to the birth of apseudo-science--eugenics. Here a factor was the acquisition of African and Asian colonies as well as the appearance of Darwinism. (Darwin never appllied his theory to racial dictrine, but others did.) Europeans increasingly began to see the white race as superior. And racist theorists in some countries excluded the Jews from the national racial body. This became particulartly prevalent in France and Germany. These anti-Semites began defining Jews as not only a religious group, but a racial group. The mainstram trend, however, was for toleratioion and enfranchismen, although a kind of 'genteel' anti-Semitism remained pronounced. Anti-Semitism took two divergent paths. Jews that did not assimilate were criticised for being different. Jews that did assisilate were often criticised for doing too well in business and academia.

Eastern Europe: Repression

The Russian Tsars had barred Jews from their domains. There are instances when Russian armies conquering lands held by Lithuania and Poland would kill the Jews they found. The Russian exclusion of Jew dramatically changed with the Polish partitions (18th century) . Polish kings had encouraged Jews to settle in the kingdom. Thus the acquisition of a large part of Poland brought many Jews within the Tsar's domaines. Large numbers of the Jews of Eastern Europe were unassimilated. The Tsars in the 19th century wre confronted with two major problems. One was the demand for a more liberal regime and the kind of representative government as enjoyed in he West. The other was the desire for increased autonomy on the pat of the various nationalities making up the Empire. the assasination of Tzar Alexander II brouht repression. As Western Europe moved toward assimilation and emancipation, Eussia moved in a very different direction. Tzar Alexander III initiated efforts to Russianize minority populations. And in an effort to deflect the increasing unpopularity of Tzarist absolutism, he promoted a vicious anti-Semitic campaign. Tzarist police fabricated the widely destributed the Proticols of the Elders of Zion to enflame passions against the Jews. Terrible pogroms targetted Russian Jews. The result was that Jews fled Russia in large numbers, many entering the swell of immigrants seeking refuge in Germany and the United States.

World War I

Europe during the 19th century was an era of huge progress both in material and intelectual terms. The Jews as aesult of a steady secularization of society were a major bebeficuary. At the turn -of-the 20th century, there was enormous optimism about the future. Most people assumed that major wars were a thing of the past. But powerful forces were at play under the surface, especially nationalism and in Germany, militarism. This engenered sn arms rave which would eventually be am important factor in the outbreak of World war I. Caught up in this was a highly patriotic French artillery officer--Cpt. Alfred Dreyfus. Wen the French army discovered the Germans had stolen secret inormtion about rench artillery, they decided to procecute Cpt. Drefus who was Jewish rather than a Christian officer who they knew was guilty because they believed itbwoyld be bad for morale to identify a French traitor. Dreyfus would not have any impact morale because he was Jewish and many French people did not consider Jews to be real Frenchmen. It is notable that this travety of jutice occurred in democratic France and not Imperial Germany. Any assessment at the time would identified France nt Germany as the most anti-Semitic country in the west. When Wold war I finally erupted, ati-Semitism was not a factor. Jews fought on both sides in large njumbers and with honor. A lonly voice against the War was a very seculr Jew--Albert Einstein. The Germans occupied ares in Western Europ and much larger areas in the East. The German Army committed a range of attrocities, but were directed at Jews. In fact, Jews in ares of Russia occupie by the Germabs were treated better than by Tsarist authorities. After the War, right-wing groups in Germany that had supported the idea of using the military to advanbce German political gials had to expolain why they failed. The answer was the November Crome--Germany had been stbed in the back. Hitler ad the NAZIS were not the only group which agrued this charge, but he was the best at advancing it. And the collapse of the Austo-Hungarian, German, and Tsarist Empires created many new states which were highly nationalistic. This created difficulties for many Jews. The Bolshevik Revolution in Russia sweot away the Tsarist Empire. Many Jews swayed by the idea of social justice and internationism. supported socialist movements, including Communism. This also helpe fuel anti-Semetic thought.

The Holocaust

The most horific explosion of anti-Semitism was the NAZI attemp to eradicate European Jewery during World War II. The most cataclysmic action against the Jews was of course the Holocaust during World War II. The Holocaust was a crime without presidence in modern history. The NAZIs targeted the Jews for death camps. Many were killed by SS Einsatzgruppen in large-scale actions at first in Poland and than on a larger scale in the Soviet Union. Others Jews were concentrated in Ghettos for slave labor and eventual dispatch to the death camps. Tragically it was not just the Germans involved, but in many countries the local population led by Fascist groups were all to willing to participate in the robbery and killing. Jewish children were among the first to be killed by the NAZIs. They had no economic value which could be exploited. They also were the seed for the future of the Jewish people. The NAZIs also saw them as a force for future retribution if they were not killed. The NAZIs are estimated to have murdered over a million Jewish children. One can not forget the images of the starving Jewish children on the Warsaw Ghetto whose parents had been killed. A great body of literature exists on the Holocaust including the experiences of the children.

Current Trends

After the War anti-Semitism abated, a trend based on having witnessed what anti-Semitism can lead to. In more recent years, however, anti-Semitism has become a growth industry around the world, including Europe. In the Arab world fired by the Palentinian-Israeli conflict, anti-Semitism has become a uesful scapegoat for Arab leaders who have poorly managed their countries. 【Timmerman】


One has to ask why anti-Semitism haspersisted for some two millenium. The roots of anti-Semitism are undeniably theological, begining with Rome's conversion from pagan to Christian. But why hasit proven so persistent in Western siciety? We see anti-Semitism with and without Christianity. And we see anti-Semitism even as the influence of Christianity declined in the West. The NAZIs practiced the most virulent form of ant-Semitism and they were not only anti-Christiam, but planning to replace Christianity with a secular national reigion. And we see anti-Semitism among both Islamists and secular leaders in Muslim countries. And we saw anti-Semitism in the atheist Soviet Union. Stalin at the time of his death was at the opening stage of an old fashioned Tsarist pogram. But anti-Semitism is far outside even the bounds of religion and atheism. Sara Bloofield, Director of the Holocaust Museum tells us, "Anti-Semitism has existed with and without Christianity. With and witghout the right-wing. With and without the left-wing. With and without democracy. With and without economic problems. With and witghout globelization. With and without a Jewish homeland." 【Bloomfield】 And we might add, with and without Jews. One author dispairs of ever fully understanding antiSemitism. He writes, "Deep-rooted, complex, endlessy persistent, constantly changing yet remaining the same, it is a phenomenon that stands at the intersection of history, sociology, economics, political science, relgion, and psychology." 【Berger】 One journalist makes an important observation among all the varying ideas about the persistence of ant-Semitism. "But we do know that ant-Semitism has always been a kind of test -- a reliable measure of a nation's moral and social health. When the rights of Jews are violated, all human rights are insecure. When Jews and Jewish institutions are targeted, all minirities have reasonsfor fear. And by this standard, America has cause for introspective." 【Gerson】


Augustine. City of God.

Berger, David. Editor, History and Hate.

Bloomfild, Sara. Director of the Holocaust Museum

Fredriksen, Pauka. Augustine and the Jews: A Christian Defense of Jews and Judauism.

Gerson, Michael. "Why the Jews?" The Washington Post (June 12, 2009), p. A21.

Paul. "Acts of the Apostles".

Timmerman, Kenneth R. Preachers of Hate: Islam and the War on America (Crown Forum, 2003), 370p.

Weiss, John. Ideology of Death.


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Created: January 22, 2004
Last updated: 12:20 PM 9/19/2023