Simply put: Antisemitism is hatred, hostile behavior or discrimination against Jews just because they are Jewish.

The persecution of Jews has been around for millennia, taking many shapes and forms – whether because of their religion, their success, or simply for being different. It is a prejudice as old as time.

Antisemitism, including the belief that Jews are racially inferior, was the driving force behind the Holocaust – a government-sponsored mass genocide of six million Jews by the Nazis in the 1940s. In the modern era, antisemitism plays a role in multiple political and religious ideologies as a useful tool to cast blame for anything from the COVID19 pandemic to social injustice, perceived government control, and many other woes, often resurrecting old blood libels or promoting unfounded conspiracy theories.

Antisemitism often manifests itself as a form of religious discrimination, but it also extends beyond that, singling out Jews because of their identity, their shared ethnicity, ancestry, or presumed connection to the land of Israel.

Antisemitism can take many forms:

Examples of Antisemitism:

  • Claiming that Jews control the media/government/banks, etc.
  • Accusing Jews as a whole for real or imagined wrongdoings like the COVID19 pandemic
  • Using symbols and images like swastikas or grotesque facial caricatures to depict Jews
  • Blaming Jews for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ
  • Depicting Jews as sub-human – vermin, physically grotesque, or sadistic (typical blood Libels)
  • Denying or otherwise justifying or marginalizing the Holocaust

To help navigate this complex issue, the US government together with many other nations and organizations, has adopted the following definition for antisemitism, one that was developed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA):

“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

Annual Antisemitic Incidents

Antisemitic acts are not new, but as recent reporting by leading organizations such as the ADL demonstrates, there has been a significant increase in incidents involving attacks against Jews, both on religious and/or ethnic grounds. Attempted arsons, graffiti on synagogues, assaults on persons wearing religious garments, desecration of graves, and even murder have all been reported.

Hover over points for more data | Source: ADL