Modern antisemitism takes many forms. Sometimes the racists brutally attack Jews. Other times it is more subtle, yet disgusting nonetheless.
What is antisemitism?
Antisemitism refers to hostile ideas or actions toward Jews simply because they are Jewish. People sometimes express it in religious teachings that claim that Jews are not equal or inferior. Or they express it in political efforts to isolate, oppress, or otherwise injure Jews. Anti-Semites may also include prejudiced or stereotyped views about Jews.
A brief history of antisemitism
For thousands of years, people criticized and sometimes punished Jews for their efforts to remain a separate social and religious group. Jews refused to adopt the values and the way of life of the non-Jewish societies in which they lived. For example, they avoided pork and didn’t work on the Sabbath. Yet for their different lifestyle, they were horrifically attacked.
In the modern era, as other religions became more popular, hatred towards Jews increased. Anti-Semites accused Jews of poisoning rivers and wells during times of disease. They tortured and executed Jews for supposedly abducting and killing children to drink their blood or to use it in baking matzoh — a charge known as the “blood libel.” This was a completely fictitious excuse for killing Jews. Lies are always an essential ingredient that fuels anti-semitism.
Rampant antisemitism forced many Jews to convert to other religions in order to avoid death, torture, or expulsion, though many secretly practiced Judaism after their conversions. (In recent times, the Catholic church and other Christian churches have rejected these anti-Semitic falsehoods.) Sadly, modern antisemitism is not showing any signs of letting up and innocent Jews continue to suffer at the hands of haters.