Anti-Semitism (Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity)
Anti-Semitism is hatred, fear, and hostility that harms, has harmed, or has the potential to harm Jews. The term anti-Semitism was coined in 1879 by German anti-Semitic agitator Wilhelm Marr, who claimed that the term was based on "science," rather than religious concepts that would have justified antagonism toward Jews. Yet antipathy toward Jews (sometimes known as Jew-hatred, Judaeophobia, or "the longest hatred") is centuries old, and centuries ago became elaborated into an ideology. Anti-Semitic ideology, whose adherents have drawn and continue to draw on anti-Jewish myth and legend, has led to social and legal discrimination, demagogic political mobilization, and spontaneous or state-sponsored violence that has striven to isolate, expel, or annihilate Jews as Jews. That ideology considers the Jewish character as permanently and unreformably degenerate. And as per that ideology, Jews, no matter how few or assimilated, are perpetually engaged in conspiracies that seek to dominate, exploit, and destroy society or the world, and hence are menaces to society. Although some Greek and Roman authors (most notably Tacitus) expressed hostility toward Jews, no anti-Semitic ideology emerged in antiquity.
The New Testament and the Middle Ages
There are competing schools of thought as to the origins of anti-Semitism. One of these schools of thought holds that the roots of anti-Semitism are religious, that anti-Semitism derives from the narrative of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus Christ in the four New Testament gospels. Expressions of anti-Semitism that are essentially nonreligious (except perhaps racialist language) are transformations, secularizations, extensions, and "new" applications of the religious original.
Christianity is the only world religion that accuses another religion of murdering its god. Owing to Christian allegations that Jews are culpable for the crime of deicide, or Christ-killing, Jews aren many settingsefined as criminals linked to the anti-Christ, a Jewish son of Satan who thwarts the Second Coming and will rule the world via a reign of terror that will mean affliction for all Christians. Also adumbrated in the New Testament is the myth of the Wandering or Eternal Jew. (See John 18:40, 202, parallels in Matthew 26:51, Mark 14:47, Luke 22:501) The Wandering Jew, supposed to be emblematic of the Jewish people, is doomed to wander to the end of time, homeless, alienated, unable to die, fated to live in misery, and suffering repentance for his unforgivable crime of having mocked Christ.
The medieval accusation of ritual murder is also adrumbrated in the gospels. In Matthew (27:236) the Jews of Jerusalem cry out to Pontius Pilate: "Crucify him. . . . His blood be upon us and our children." Thus are Jews made to pronounce an eternal curse on themselves. The most pernicious anti-Semitic motif in the gospels is the demonization of Jews. In John (8:447) Jesus excoriates the Pharisees (one of several Jewish parties or sects, and other Jews present):
Your father is the devil and you choose to carry out your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and is not rooted in the truth; there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie he is speaking his own language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
And so Jews became alleged to be pledged in allegiance to Satan's superhuman powers and to be devoted to his work of subversion and overturning God's plan, echoed (many centuries later) in Shakespeare's describing his character Shylock (in The Merchant of Venice) as a "fiend" and the "very devil incarnal." The putative capacity of Jews to lie, deceive, and manipulate is rooted in the same ideology as the image of the Jew as standing menace and arch-conspirator. That the origins of anti-Semitism are economics-related (a "doctrine" that tends toward the portrayal of Jews as greedy Judases, carnal, antispiritual, and rejected by Godnd of the
The Church Fathers (theologians, whose beliefs and writings are termed patristic) of the third to the seventh centuries wove anti-Semitic New Testament passages into an intellectually sophisticated ideology. For St. Augustine (35430), Jewss he stated some twenty times in his influential Treatise against the Jews and elsewherere the "witness people," fated to exist as suffering Cains (in collective punishment for the crime of deicide) until the Last Judgment. His writings strove to justify the degradations to which Jews were subject, but at the same time may have helped to shield them from genocidal aggressiony advocating that limits be set on their persecution. Augustine wrote in his Reply to Faustus the Manichanean: "The continued preservation of the Jews will be a proof [of the truth of Christianity] to believing Christians." St. John Chrysostom (c. 34707), the most vituperatively anti-Semitic of the Church Fathers, gave expression to almost every allegation that was part of the anti-Semitism of his day. In his writings Jews were devil-possessed, "impure, criminal, impious," their religion a "disease." And "Like an unruly draft animal, the Jews are fit for killing. And this is what happened to the Jews: while they were making themselves unfit for work [by rejecting Christianity], they grew fit for slaughter" (Perry and Schweitzer, 1994, 11415). The need to shun Jews and to regard them as dangerous, polluting, and corrupting was a patristic teaching.
It was a staple of medieval Christian folklore that Jews suffered from terrible physical maladies and needed the blood of Christian children to carry out their medicinal and magical artsr would simply exact that blood as revenge. According to the fable known as blood libel: Each spring a band of Jewish conspirators selected a town in which a Christian child was to be kidnapped. That child was sacrificed (a reprise of the crucifixion), and the child's blood was used in the making of matzohs and wine, to be consumed at Passover. As part of the aftermath of an accusation of ritual murder, Jews were expelled from cities and towns, their properties were expropriated, or they were massacred. Typically, a shrine to the "martyred saint" was erected. The first blood libel is supposed to have taken place in Norwich, England, in 1144; this species of slander became common all over Europe, and lived on into the twentieth century.
A parallel anti-Semitic fable is host desecration. As part of Christian dogma, a consecrated or "transubstantiated" host is the equivalent of the flesh of Christ. Mostly in Germany during the late Middle Ages, Jews were accused of stealing consecrated hosts, of "torturing Jesus again"y stabbing, beating, boiling, or burning hosts, thereby causing hosts to "bleed" or cry out. Jews who had been accused of host desecration were made to confess and suffered the same consequences as the victims of blood libels. Unlike ritual murder accusations, which several medieval popes condemned, the host libel myths flourished with papal blessing. Almost all Protestant denominations condemned transubstantiation; hence, allegations of host desecration disappeared from Protestant countries, but lived on in Catholic areas until Vatican Council II (1962965).
Another expression of popular anti-Semitism was the passion play, a genre that originated in the church's liturgy of holy week. An early dramatization was the elaboration of the gospel narratives into an oratorio, combining singing and acting. There was clerical resistance to such developments on the grounds that dramatic performance is pagan and improper (the Latin for play, ludes, has the same root as lewd). But with the heightening of religious emotion that accompanied the Crusades, such inhibitions ended. There were also the precedents of liturgical plays (many included anti-Semitic motifs) dealing with the Nativity, Jesus' miracles, anti-Christ, the second coming, and the end of the world.
From the twelfth century, Christian art and drama dwelled on Jesus' sufferingocked and pilloried, beaten and tortured, bleeding and tormented by the villainous Jews, with Judas and Caiphas prominent as Satan's evil-doing minions, and as greedy, blood-thirsty, power-hungry conspirators. The earliest manuscript of passion play dates from the mid-twelfth century. The first recorded performance occurred in Siena, Italy, c. 1200. By the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, almost every town and hamlet in Europend many a local parishut on its version of the story. The Protestant Reformation, except for the Calvinists and later Puritans, did not object to the performance of passion plays. They went on in England throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, as elsewhere in Europe and especially Germany (503 examples have been traced in southwest Germany alone in the early sixteenth century). Throughout all these centuries the fear and hatred unleashed by such productions meant that performances were often followed by Christian attacks on the community's Jewish ghetto, resulting in sack, arson, pillage, massacre, and expulsion. So often did such mayhem ensue that town ordinances required guards to be placed in defense at the ghetto gates, or performances were barred, as at Freiburg in 1338, Frankfurt in 1469, and Rome in 1539.
The most famous passion play, Oberammergau, dates from 1634, but that Bavarian village was the scene of similar performances centuries before; for all its elaboration and dramaturgical finesse, it closely resembles its medieval anti-Semitic archetypes and, notoriously, won the admiration of Adolf Hitler.
During later medieval centuries in Europe, Jews were isolated in ghettos and were required to wear badges and clothing that would identify themndignities receiving the solemn sanction of church councils. Ordinances forbade Christians to associate with Jews, including marriage between Christians and Jews, eating with or buying food from Jews, or frequenting Jewish physicians (who were alleged to poison their patients). During the Black Plague (1347350) Jews were scapegoated and sometimes massacred; they were expelled from cities and towns for poisoning the air and water. In the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas (1225274), Jews were to be toleratedowever he went beyond the condemnations of the Church Fathers in his denunciations of "usury" and of Jews who were usurers. As part of that worldview Jews were "destined to absolute servitude" and rulers might confiscate their propertytreating Jewish goods as their own" (Perry and Schweitzer, 2002, p. 17). The Vatican cited Aquinas when it gave its approval to the anti-Semitic laws of Vichy France during World War II.
During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries Christian theologians discovered the great body of Jewish biblical commentary and interpretation known as the Talmud. Christian theologians and even some popes believed that Jews had replaced the Bible with the Talmud, and that Judaism had ceased to be biblical. In the view of these Christian scholars and ecclesiastics, Judaism was heretical and "of earth." Jews thus forfeited their right to be tolerated in Christendom and were a proper focus for the Inquisition courts (Roman Catholic courts set up in several European countries to punish heresy, most notably in Spain under royal auspices from 1378 on). For many Christian theologians, the Talmud and other Jewish texts affirmed Christ as the messiah. Accordingly, the lying Jews had concealed this revelationhich was justification for the involuntary progressions of Jews toward the baptismal fount. The Dominican and Franciscan friars were fanatical in their efforts to compel Jews to convert to Christianity, confiscating their books and forcing them to listen to conversionist sermons. The end result was forced conversions en masse, the best known of which occurred in the Spanish kingdoms in the century that followed 1391.
Many of these forced converts, known variously as crypto-Jews, New Christians, Conversos (converts), or Marranos (swine), and/or their descendants became steadfast Christians; others secretly remained steadfast Jews. Conversos became successful in all walks of life (as the laws that had discriminated against them were withdrawn). Before long, however, envied and under suspicion of "Judaizing," they were ruthlessly scrutinized and abused by Spanish and Portuguese Inquisition authorities for centuries. Anticipating the anti-Semitism of Nazi Germany, Spanish and Portuguese laws established "purity of blood" requirements for numerous kinds of employment, which had the intended effect of excluding Conversos from many occupations.
Other readers of the Talmud purported to find that its text enjoined Jews, as part of their religious duty, to malign, rob, maim, enslave, and kill Christians; to undermine Christian belief; to bankrupt and destroy the church. Copies of the Talmud were seized and burnt; consequently few copies of the Talmud survived into the more tolerant Renaissance period. By the end of the Middle Ages, western Europe was essentially barren of Jews, who had either fled (mostly to Poland and the Ottoman Empire) or, fleeced of their property, been expelledrom England in 1290, France in 1306, Austria in 1421, and Spain in 1492. The Summa Angelica of the fifteenth-century Italian theologian Angelo di Chivasso epitomized the church's position: "To be a Jew is a crime, not, however, punishable by a Christian" (Poliakov, 1974985, vol. 3, p. 6). In practice, however, fifteenth-century Christian rulers, crusaders, ecclesiastics, and municipalities did punish Jews because they were Jews.
Jewish literacy and erudition (often acquired under the religious obligation to know Torah) long conferred economic advantages on Jews. However, their alleged mental and intellectual superiority weapon Satan reputedly bestowed on Jewsecame an anti-Semitic stereotype: "Intelligencehat is the mortal sin of the Jews" (Weiss, 1996, p. 157). Because Jews in Christian Europe were normally excluded from owning land and barred from the crafts, their academic distinction and literacy would often enable them to become prominent in trade, and, later, finance, callings deemed disreputable and unprestigious by Christians during the Middle Ages and after. Socioeconomic standing enabled some Jews (most were poor) to play prominent roles in the commercial, financial, and industrial expansion of Europe.
Jewish emancipation, beginning in revolutionary France in 1790, and the more secular attitudes that obtained in Europe in the nineteenth century enabled many Western Jews to prosper as never before. Antisemitic explanations of Jewish prosperity abounded. Karl Marx equated Jews and Judaism with capitalism (so-called mammonism) and claimed that money-worshipping Jews had invented capitalism and had "Judaized" Western society because "Jewish" capitalism rose there and became the dominant economic system. Accordingly, capitalism would not end until Judaism, its source, ended. Marx pronounced this goal of Jewish annihilation in his essay of 1843, "The Jewish Question." The German economic historian and eventual Nazi Werner Sombart published an influential book, The Jews and Modern Capitalism (1911), which allegedly proved Marx's contentions.
Modern Period: Luther to Hitler
The acolytes of Reformation Calvinism were not obsessed with the strengthening of Christianity via the persecution of Jews and even tended toward philo-Semitism. In contrast, the Catholic Counter-Reformation and Lutheranism upheld the tradition of anti-Semitic persecution. Martin Luther, contemptuous of and dismissive of Judaism, was intent on converting Jews to Christianity. Frustrated by the failure of his attempts at conversion and fearful of accusations of "Judaizing," Luther vented his wrath against Jews in letters and pamphlets, in which age-old anti-Semitic calumnies were spewed. In his treatise On the Jews and Their Lies (1543), he delivered an edict: Burn their synagogues and homes, their prayer books, and Talmuds; on pain of death forbid rabbis to teach; outlaw Jews and exempt them from any protections afforded to travelers on highways; bar them from all financial and banking activity and confiscate their money; ostracize them; make them "earn their bread in the sweat of their brow"; treat them "as a physician treats gangreneithout mercy, to cut, saw, and burn flesh, veins, bones, and marrow" (Luther, 1971, pp. 26874, 292). Much later German nationalists exploited Luther's hatred of Jews, and the Nazis reissued his diatribes as endorsements of their anti-Semitic ideology. In 1938 a Lutheran bishop published excerpts from the 1543 treatise and extolled Hitler and Martin Luther as Germany's "greatest anti-Semites" (Perry and Schweitzer, 2002, p. 83).
Voltaire was perhaps the most celebrated exemplar of the distinctly secular eighteenth-century Enlightenment philosophy (and its secular anti-Semitism). In his attacks on Christianity, he condemned Judaism as its source and denounced both religions as "superstitions." In his view Jews were avaricious and detestable. He informed his readers: "Still, we ought not to burn them." His instruction to Jews: "Renounce your sacred books" (Levy, 1991, pp. 41, 46). Thus, would Jews cease to be Jewish; Voltaire had proposed a form of cultural annihilation comparable to medieval forced conversions and later European nationalists' demands for Jewish assimilation. The nineteenth and twentieth centuries were periods of intense nationalism in Europe, and the particular forms of nationalism that had evolved fostered perceptions of Jews as foreigners and aliens who could never become true nationals.
As theories of "race" came to the fore, perceptions of Jews as inassimilable strangers and dangerous polluters grew in intensity, as racialist phobias and biological pseudoscience became conflated with hypernationalism. As distinct from Christian teaching, according to which baptism effaced Jewishness, "racial science" decreed that race (and separateness) could never be changed. The composer Richard Wagner expressed his own paranoia in this regard in his adoption of the neologism Verjudung ("Jewification," similar to Marx's "Judaizing"), which denoted the danger of "infection" by the Jewish spirit of German culture, German institutions, or the German soul. In his essay "Jewry in Music," he pronounced his verdict of annihilation in the form of a command: "Go under."
Adherents to the political anti-Semitism that emerged in Europe in the nineteenth century strove to curtail Jewish emancipation, to expel Jews from cities, towns, and neighborhoods on racialist grounds, and to require their conversion and assimilationnd, more generally, to combat political and social liberalism as a manifestation of Jewish influence. On the continent the ideologies and platforms of virtually all major political parties were tainted with anti-Semitism. For many years the members of left-leaning, socialist, and/or social democratic parties were prone to making an equation between Jews and "the capitalist enemy" (in the manner of Marx), and were slow to rid themselves of this bias. A pioneer of political anti-Semitism was the Lutheran pastor and German court preacher Adolf Stoecker, who founded the German Christian Social Workers' Party in 1878. In 1892 Germany's Conservative Party absorbed several anti-Semitic splinter parties by pledging itself "to battle against the manifold aggressive, decomposing, and arrogant Jewish influence" (Weiss, 1996, p. 116). In France in the 1890s and after, the Marquis de Morés and ouard Drumont led the Anti-Semitic League, which elected a dozen or so deputies to the National Assembly and which was clamorously active during the Dreyfus Affair (centered on the 1895 treason conviction of Army captain Alfred Dreyfus, who was innocent but not acquitted until 1906nd whose accusers were motivated by anti-Semitism). In the late nineteenth century the governments of Romania and Russia were overtly anti-Semitic, and encouraged pogroms against their Jewish citizens. Although a short-lived organization called the International Anti-Jewish Congress held yearly conventions in the 1880s, a most negative portent was the coming to power of the Austrian Christian Social Party (the lone example of an anti-Semitic party winning elections and holding power over a span of several years). The party's leader was the demagogue Karl Lueger, who became mayor of Vienna in 1897 after gaining a clear majority in Vienna's city council elections; his anti-Semitic tactics and demagoguery were greatly admired by the young Hitler. In between the two world wars Europe's fascist parties (except Italy's before 1938), flourishing under the aegis of Adolf Hitler prior to and during World War II, were virulently anti-Semitic.
A noteworthy example of anti-Semitic hate literature is the Russian document The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. Written in France in the l890s at the behest of the Russian secret police, it sought to justify the tsarist regime's anti-Semitic policies and pogroms. Intended for the credulous, and recapitulating anti-Semitic mythology almost in its entirety, it is supposed to be the secret minutes of a conclave of Jewish elders meeting in the ancient Jewish cemetery of Prague and plotting to take over the world. To implement their plan, the Jewish conspirators employ every imaginable weapon. Acting like the evil god Vishnu with a hundred hands, they undermine religion; hatch revolutions (the French Revolution and all since); manipulate stock exchanges; ignite class warfare; set off economic crises; maneuver sources of power (judicial, parliamentary, the press, institutions of learning, and moneyover which [Jews] alone dispose"); dominate workers through socialism and trade unionism; promote alcoholism, prostitution, pornography, and humanism in order to befog the minds of non-Jews; and create anti-Semitism in order to bind the Jewish masses to their cause until the plot is fulfilled. Then the elders will eliminate all religions except Judaism and thus "shall determine the destiny of the earth." First published in Russia in l903, the Protocols won the enthusiasm of Tsar Nicholas II at the time of the catastrophic Russo-Japanese war time when Russia was quaking with impending revolution. Nicholas blamed these catastrophes on the Jews, and joined with Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany in signing the treaty of Björkö, in which they pledged to form a "continental league" to combat revolution and international Jewry. The next year Nicholas signed a secret agreement (which reads like the Protocols and was probably based on it). Nicholas envisioned a great alliance whereby combined powers would engage in "an active joint struggle" to avert "the impending general European revolution" and fight the "Judaeo-Masonic" conspiracy. No part of this plan materialized, but it is illustrative of how unconcealed anti-Semitic ideology could enter into the highest-level diplomatic exchanges and provide a basis for treaties and policy aims. Deploying the Protocols in the public arena for the first time, Nicholas exhibited the credulousness of most European minds and the willingness of those minds to believe bizarre myths about Jews, as well as his belief in the utility of anti-Semitism (as Hitler believed) in furthering the aims of foreign and domestic policy. Since 1918 the Protocols has remained a staple of anti-Semitic discourse worldwideillions of copies in many languages continue to circulate in print and on the Internetespite the fact that it was demonstrated to be a forgery and nothing other than paranoiac hate literature as early as 1921.
Hitler was immersed in the mental universe of the Protocols all his life. His speech before the German Parliament in January 1939 contained a prophecy: "If international Jewry . . . succeeds in plunging the peoples into another war, then the end result will not be the Bolshevization of the earth and the consequent victory of Jewry but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe" (Cohn, 1967, p. 190). His belief that Jews were menaces and a highly organized race of evil-doing supermen was a modern, secularized version of the medieval idea of the demonized Jew. He spoke in medieval accents when he declared: "The struggle for world domination will be fought between . . . Germans and Jews. We are God's people. Two worlds face one another: the men of God and the men of Satan." And: "The Jews . . . invented capitalism . . . an invention of genius, of the devil's own ingenuity" (Rauschning, 1940, p. 23738). There is nothing original about Hitler's version of anti-Semitism except his political genius in promoting anti-Semitism. He feared Jewshey were "the people of Satan," people who conspired to enslave and rule the world through communism, socialism, capitalism, internationalism, democracy, pacifism, biological degeneration, and disarmament. In his eyes Jews were "culture-destroyers"; they embodied everything he feared, hated, and sought to destroy. Other high-ranking Nazis shared these viewsn amalgamation of medieval, racial, and Protocols anti-Semitism. The demagogue Julius Streicher, publisher and editor of anti-Semitic newspapers and part of Hitler's inner circle, promulgated an anti-Semitism that was as much medieval and religious as it was modern and secular. He scoured specious texts such as J. A. Eisenmenger's Judaism Uncovered (1700), Theodor Fritsch's Handbook of the Jewish Question (1887), novels such as Gustav Freytag's Debit and Credit (1885), and forgeries such as Protocols (1903) as part of an attempt to prove (in his own words): "This satanic race really has no right to exist." He was perhaps the first Nazi to invoke and articulate the concept of a Final Solution, saying in a 1925 speech before a mass audience in Nuremberg: "[F]or thousands of years the Jew has been destroying the nations. . . [W]e can annihilate the Jews." Since the 1870s there had been many calls for the destruction of the Jews; until 1914 these calls had been more pervasive and vehement in France, Russia, Romania, and Austria-Hungary than in Germany, but it was Hitler's Germany that carried out what many in Europe believed to be history's mandate and science's dictate.
Holocaust denial is a new from of anti-Semitism, but one that hinges on age-old motifs. Another new form of anti-Semitism is that sponsored by the Nation of Islam (an anti-white supremacist movement founded in the United States in the 1930s) and its leader, Louis Farrakhan, who has employed a wide range of anti-Semitic propaganda weapons in his demagoguery. The Nation of Islam fabricated the myth that Jews originated and dominated the 400-year Atlantic slave trade, profited immensely from it, owned disproportionate numbers of slaves, and were the cruelest of slave masters. The Secret Relationship between Blacks and Jews (1991), with authorship attributed to the Historical Research Department of the Nation of Islam, purports to provide the evidence of Jewish culpability for "the black Holocaust." That some Jews were involved in slave trading is well-known, but their participation, when compared to that of many Muslims, Catholics, Protestants, freed blacks, and black Africans, was minuscule.
Since the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, there has been a media focus on Muslim anti-Semitism and on radical Islam or Islamism (distinct from Islam and characterized by deep antagonism toward non-Muslims and the West). Muslim hostility toward Jews has its origins in the Qur'an, in which several passages express hostility toward Jews and in which Jews are described, variously, as "the worst enemies of the Muslims," a "cursed people," "slayers of prophets," "perverters of scriptures," and "apes and swine" (Suras 2:73, 88; Qu'ran 5:605, 782). Jews lived for many centuries in Muslim lands as dhimmis (Jews or Christians living in Islamic countries as protected minorities), and were subject to governments that sought to degrade and humiliate them; there were pogroms and periodic forced conversions. Since the 1870s there has filtered into the Middle East the entire range of Christian/European/German/Nazi anti-Semitic beliefs, the principal intermediaries having been Christians who live in the Middle East. The principal literary sources for anti-Semitic ideologues living in the Middle East have been the Protocols, Hitler's Mein Kampf, Henry Ford's International Jew, and the churchman August Rohling's Talmudic Jew (which attempts to prove the myth of ritual murder; translated into Arabic by 1899). Some scholars have argued that Muslim anti-Semitism is essentially a byproduct of the Israeli-Palestinian struggle, and that when that struggle is concluded, Islamism will evaporate. Yet Islamism, which predates the founding of Israel by twenty years, contains a hatred so vile that Muslim anti-Semitism is unlikely to wane anytime soon. The "moderate" ex-president of Iran, Hashemi Rafsanjani, in a speech of December 2001 at Teheran University, urged Muslim countries to develop nuclear weapons: "It is theologically imperative. . . . Nothing will remain after one atom bomb is dropped on Israel. . . . The founding . . . of Israel is the worst event in all history." Islamism shares with mid-twentieth-century fascism ideological fanaticism, genocidal anti-Semitism, and terrorists' indifference to human life.
For half a century after 1945 anti-Semitism was disreputable in Western countries. Since 2000, however, exacerbations of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have generated a resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe. The Israeli military campaign in the West Bank in the spring of 2000, a response to suicide bombings in Israel, provoked a rash of anti-Semitic incidents in several parts of the world: Cemeteries were vandalized, Holocaust memorials defaced, synagogues torched, buses carrying Jewish children stoned, Jews beaten. Muslim fanatics were the main perpetrators of the violence. In protests against the military campaign, whether coming from the political right or the left, Israel was attacked as a belligerent, uncompromising, imperialistic state. At rallies and demonstrations in many cities of Europe, crowds shouted: "Death to the Jews!" Britain's Guardian proclaimed: "Israel has no right to exist." The Vatican's L'Osservatore Romano attacked Israeli "aggression that turns into extermination." A 2003 European Union poll reported that a majority of citizens believe that Israel is the greatest threat to world peace.
Communism and fascism have gone, but anti-Semitism remains and is again becoming socially and intellectually acceptablelthough it often rears its head under the cover of anti-Zionism, or anticolonialism, or antiglobalism. In reportage on Israel, the European news media are biased to varying degrees against that nation and its people. They continue to rely on anti-Semitic stereotypes. These media, in their analyses of Israeli government actions (which include no comparisons to other bloody conflicts), dredge up ancient anti-Semitic topoi, a shared body of half-conscious, half-remembered motifs. All the European countries, despite some constructive efforts, remain shackled to age-old anti-Semitism. Almost all the European countries are burdened with the heritage of the Holocaust and a reluctance or unwillingness to face up to their collaborations with the Nazi regime. This is most clearly visible in France, where memory of the Vichy regime lingers on and recent anti-Semitic violence has been the worst.
SEE ALSO Catholic Church; Ethnic Groups; Hate Speech; Heydrich, Reinhard; Himmler, Heinrich; Hitler, Adolf; Holocaust; Inquisition
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