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The yellow badge used to identify Jews during the Holocaust.
Hate for hate's sake
Perpetuating prejudice
Hate mongers
The anti‐Semite has chosen hate because hate is a faith; at the outset he has chosen to devaluate words and reasons... If the Jew did not exist, the anti-Semite would invent him.
—Jean-Paul Sartre.[1]:13
If my theory of relativity is proven successful, Germany will claim me as a German and France will declare that I am a citizen of the world. Should my theory prove untrue, France will say that I am a German and Germany will declare that I am a Jew.
Albert Einstein[2]

Antisemitism is the prejudice against, the hatred of, or the discrimination against Jews as an ethnic, religious, or racial group, and is widely recognized as a form of racism.[3][4] While the term antisemitism might, by parsing the word into its component parts, appear to mean prejudice against all Semitic peoples and religions — Arabs, Assyrians, Samaritans, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Yazidi, Druze, and other groups who are associated with the Semitic family of languages and culture — the term refers exclusively to anti-Jewish bigotry and prejudice, reflecting the historical origins of the term as a euphemism for the German Judenhass (literally, "Jew-hatred").[note 1] Broadened usage despite historical meaning, though sometimes done out of ignorance rather than bad faith, is frequently associated with bad faith as a derailing or erasure technique to derail legitimate criticisms or historical documentation of anti-Jewish prejudice emanating from non-Jews of other Semitic groups.

Antisemitism has taken on a number of different forms over the centuries, with severity that ranges from hateful or inflammatory discourses that paint Jews as embodying particular stereotypical and malignant characteristics, to the outright organized mass genocide of Jews with the overt goal of depleting their populace regionally or even globally. Historically, antisemitism has had a long-standing presence in Christian and Muslim communities alike, and the unprovoked stirring of antisemitic animosity against the Jewish people has been undertaken (to a varying degree, at different times and in various nations) by both church and state, sometimes to a sufficient extent (over the decades and even centuries) as to climax into the outbreak of pogroms directed against the Jews.

While the accusation of antisemitism is occasionally used as a snarl word to dismiss valid criticisms of Zionism and of Israeli foreign policy,[5][6][7] it can be aptly applied to many cases of anti-Zionist crankery — typically involving variants on the International Jewish conspiracy theory, the Zionist Occupation Government, or other nonsense involving The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. Holocaust denial also embodies one of several modern pseudohistorical outlets of antisemitic sentiment, as do various conspiracy theories regarding allegedly malevolent Jewish banksters.

Much less commonly, antisemitism can also be used to refer to prejudice against speakers of Semitic languages or adherents of Abrahamic religions.[8]

Origin of the term[edit]

"Antisemitism" was coined in the late 1800s by Austrian Jewish scholar Moritz Steinschneider to describe racist views about Semitic peoples. This was then narrowed by others into meaning bigotry toward Jews. It replaced the more colloquial term for anti-Jewish racism, Judenhass, or "Jew-hatred." At that time, antisemitism had become a coherent political movement that succeeded in founding political parties and winning local elections. Most famously, the populist leader Karl LuegerWikipedia was elected mayor of Vienna on an explicitly antisemitic platform. These movements, their leaders, and their members proudly referred to themselves as "antisemites" and there was little stigma attached to the term. This explicitly political antisemitism eventually led to the rise of the Nazi Party, which expanded antisemitism into an all-encompassing racist worldview that saw the Jewish people as an almost metaphysical form of evil, eventually leading to the Holocaust.


It would be futile to deny that the Nazis built a vast mass of evil on a vast mass of prejudice. It would be equally futile to deny that strong prejudices against the Jews existed among Christians during the centuries before the Shoah.[note 2] Since, moreover, the childhood of the European nations was passed under the tutelage of the clergy, we should not be surprised that these prejudices were, in part, ecclesiastically inculcated.
—Mark Riebling, US historian.[9]
Your friendly neighborhood Evil Jew (Cartoon from Vienna, Austria, home of Hitler, 1873.)

Hatred of Judaism and the Jewish people is quite ancient. In Jewish tradition, antisemitism first appears in the Book of Esther, in which the evil Haman plots to annihilate the Jews of Persia because their traditions and laws are different from others. The ancient Jewish historian Josephus Flavius wrote an entire work, "Against Apion" that sought to refute the claims of ancient antisemites such as Manetho, the eponymous Apion, and others. Ancient writers like Tacitus also wrote about the Jews in highly negative terms. In general, pre-Christian antisemitism portrays the Jews as savage, barbaric (circumcision was particularly frowned upon), warlike, fanatical, anti-social, in at least one case ritual cannibals (i.e., blood libel), and in all cases without mixing in religion except for their refusal to participate in Pagan ceremonies and honor such deities.

Christianity made antisemitism into religious doctrine through blaming the Jews for rejecting the revelation of Jesus and then engineering his crucifixion (even though, as Christians believe, that crucifixion was necessary for our salvation). Besides, it's not as if the state religion of the Roman Empire(s) would want to shift the focus away from the Romans who tortured and executed the man. Church doctrine held that the Jews were a cursed people doomed to walk the Earth for eternity due to their sins against God. Over the centuries, this led to considerable discrimination, prejudice, and violence. In Europe, Jews were often confined to ghettos, exiled, forced to convert, killed en masse, and accused of nefarious crimes and rituals, most infamously, the blood libel, which holds that the Jews kill Christian children and consume their blood in a ritualistic manner. The rise of Protestantism did not help matters, as its founder, Martin Luther, became a ferocious antisemite after the Jewish community failed to convert to his new form of Christianity.

The Enlightenment and the growth of secularism did away with much of this, allowing the Jews to become free and semi-equal citizens in many areas of Europe. However, it also created new problems, not to mention resulted in a large amount of backlash. Jews were often asked to choose between their Jewish identity and the deracinated civil identity, as demanded by the new, modern nation-states. At the same time, opponents of modernity saw the Jews as the symbol and primary beneficiaries of the new order they despised. This led to a new, political form of antisemitism that saw the Jews as undermining civilization in order to assert Jewish control over the non-Jewish world. The most famous expression of this was the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a notorious fraud that remains popular among neo-Nazis and other antisemites and has become a bestseller in the Muslim world. These issues eventually led to the creation of the Zionist movement, which sought to solve the "Jewish question" by achieving self-determination in a Jewish nation-state.

The new political antisemitism eventually merged with a distorted form of social Darwinism and racial determinism, forming the antisemitism eventually embraced by the Nazi Party, which saw the Jews as a parasitical disease that was destroying the 'master race', i.e., 'Aryan' white Europeans. This led directly to the murder of six million Jews in the Nazi Holocaust.

The Muslim world historically had been more tolerant of Jews than of Christians, but not universally. The Quran contains several anti-Jewish passages, including one saying that the Jews are sons of apes and pigs who will be killed on the apocalyptic day of judgement.[10] Muhammad himself conquered the Jewish tribes of the Hijaz and, in several cases, committed atrocities against them, such as slaughtering all the male members of the Banu Qurayza.[11]

Under Islamic law, the Jews and Christians were placed under a system that allowed them to practice their religions and retain their autonomy as second-class citizens, though they faced numerous restrictions, were forbidden from owning weapons or joining the military lest they become capable of rebelling, were generally barred from government or any position that would give them higher status than a Muslim, were usually required to humiliate themselves in some form, and were required to pay a hefty tax (Dhimmi). This status changed, however, depending on the political and religious atmosphere in any given part of the Islamic empire. For example, the Jews of Yemen were expelled several times,[12] the Jews of North Africa were subjected to forced conversion,[13] and female Jewish children were often forcibly taken from their parents and raised as Muslims.

With the rise of Zionism, a number of Jews began to immigrate to the Holy Land. Around this time, Arab nationalism began to flourish. There were a minority of Arab nationalists who sought to allyWikipedia with the Zionist groups, seeing them as "fellow Arabs" with skills that could be used to modernize the Arab world without being placed under the European colonial boot. Obviously this did not pan out, as the Zionists' vision of separate Jewish state controlled by Jews and the Arab Nationalists' vision of a giant pan-Arab state controlled by Arabs were in the long term incompatible, and with things such as the betrayal of the British and the Balfour Declaration, Jews began to be viewed as a 5th column. With the Arab world carved up by Britain and France, propaganda by a certain German group became rather popular.[14] Even the Jews that had been living in the Arab world since before the Arabs themselves arrived became viewed with suspicion, and life grew steadily worse.

Then came the civil war in the Mandate of Palestine, culminating in the founding of Israel. This was not a good time to be an Arab; ethnic cleansings occurred, and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were displaced.[note 3] Local Jews were blamed, and in retaliation riots broke out, and Jews throughout the Arab world were cleansed in response. The only Muslim countries with Jewish populations of note are Turkey and Iran, though most Jews left during the Iranian revolution. Whereas Israel was eager to absorb the Jews into their population, the Arab world was not so eager to do the same with the Palestinians, keeping the issue alive. Life has steadily gotten worse for most of the refugees, and since violence breeds more violence, well, today Jews do not win any popularity contests in the Arab world. And as long as the issue remains open, with Palestinians stuck in camps for decades and the Israelis and Palestinians unable (or unwilling) to settle it peacefully, it's unlikely to get better.

General prejudice[edit]

"Le Happy Merchant," a racist cartoon popular in alt-right circles.

Most such beliefs feed off of ignorance and prejudice that arises from historical interpretations of Christianity and its teachings. It has been traditionally been fanned with accusations of heresy and obvious cultural differences, as well as Biblical associations of Jewish leaders (often referred to simply as 'the Jews', or that perennial sign of Nazi beliefs, 'the Jew', by the ignorant and those who tend to misspeak), with the death of Jesus. Antisemitism also pops up among Muslim communities, often combined with banking conspiracies and 9/11 conspiracy theories.

Antisemites frequently claim that Jews secretly control/controlled banks/governments/the media/the Treaty of Versailles. It is similar to racism in that it frequently applies a stereotype or stereotypes to all members of a diverse group. Nazism took antisemitism to horrific extremes, resulting in the Holocaust. Modern antisemitism frequently takes the form of Holocaust denial or mass media/governmental conspiracy theories such as the 'Zionist Occupation Government' (ZOG), beloved of white supremacists, but classic antisemitic tracts including the infamous 19th century Russian forgery The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion have become increasingly popular in the Middle East. Some lunatic antisemites may think that almost every person he/she doesn't like (especially if they're rich and/or are doctors) is Jewish, even when they aren't.

Both the left and right are guilty of antisemitism. Ruth Fischer, a communist leader of Weimar-era (1919-1933) Germany, called for "Jewish capitalists" to be hanged from lampposts (despite being half-Jewish herself); ironically, her contemporary, Hitler, considered Communism to be a Jewish plot — but he also liked the stereotype of the Jewish banker. Some antisemites (including the Nazis) have claimed that both communism and capitalism are Jewish plots.

How antisemitism differs from plain old racism[edit]

A Ben Garrison cartoon modified to claim that Jews control the global monetary system.
Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. The anti-Semites have the right to play. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past. It is not that they are afraid of being convinced. They fear only to appear ridiculous or to prejudice by their embarrassment their hope of winning over some third person to their side.
—Jean-Paul Sartre[1]:13-14

While most racists believe that the victims of their hatred are inferior to them (e.g. no white supremacist thinks that black people secretly control the world), antisemitism is almost unique in that it ascribes some traits of "superiority" to its victims. In the mind of the antisemite, "the Jews" own or control "the money", "the media", and are behind capitalism, communism, or both. The idea that Jews naturally have traits that allow them to rise to the top of society (ergo, the "real" "Master Race") is not in itself a complete contradiction with (insert-race-here) Supremacy; rather, in order for a Supremacist to make their race the new "master", the Jews would need to go. Also characteristic for antisemitism and rarely found in other forms of racism[note 4] is completely contradictory stereotypes about Jews. Jews are simultaneously so prudish they need a sheet separating the men and women to have sex or are impotent with small penes, but are also perverts creating depraved pornography. Jews that are poor are a drain on the welfare system, but Jews that are rich 'control the banks' and are 'usurers'. Jews are pathetic athletes, but when Jews dominated the basketball court in the 1930's, it was because their "naturally dodgy" personalities made them excel at such sports. While many antisemites grant that Jews are (supposedly) more intelligent than average people, they are again accused of using that intelligence for their nefarious schemes.

Antisemitism does not necessitate the presence of Jews. In Japan, for example, there is virulent antisemitism within the right wing, but there are hardly any Jews to be found. The same is true for much of the Muslim world, although that animus is driven by some legitimate anger over Zionism and Palestine. And even more surprisingly, antisemitism may indeed work while never uttering the word "Jew". Some simply replace "Jews" for "Zionists" (see below), while others use the evil bankster trope without ever saying or implying that the "banksters" are Jews. (Hint: If your opponent starts quoting the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, they might just be a tad antisemitic.) This kind of antisemitism has also infected mainstream political culture in Malaysia to some extent.[16] And it can be found to some degree or other around the world.

Khazar myth[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Khazar myth‎

Some antisemites attempt to discredit Israel and the ethnic origin of many Jews by claiming that Ashkenazi Jews (i.e., those whose ancestors lived in central and eastern Europe) actually descended from the Turkic Khazar Empire and therefore are not the 'real' Jews. This myth has no evidence behind it. Although Jews did settle in the Empire and the Khazar ruling class adopted Judaism, Jews had already inhabited Europe long before the Turkic Khazar Empire came about. There is historical and genetic evidence that discredits this pseudohistorical 'theory', too.[17] This myth is often used as a way to justify the elimination of Israel and/or to explain why the British/Aryan/[insert race here] are the chosen people of the Bible, and not the Jews.

A similar myth espoused by some people, such as Louis Farrakhan, is that Jewish people who come from Europe are not the original Semitic peoples,Wikipedia and that many Arab Muslims are more closely related to the original Semites.[18] Based on this myth, they claim that even if they hate Jews, they like Muslims, so they aren't antisemitic, you are. Regardless of who the 'real' Semites are, the term antisemitism was popularized in Germany in 1873 specifically to replace Judenhass ("Jew-hatred") with a more scientific-sounding word.[19]

Antisemitism of various groups[edit]

While many like to portray antisemitism as a problem of the fringes of society and political discourse, antisemitic tropes, stereotypes, and even more-or-less open hostility can be found in basically all strata of society and all political groups. Unfortunately, it has become a bigger taboo to call someone an antisemite — unless they are foaming at the mouth 'gas the Jews'-types — than to hold certain antisemitic views.

Christian antisemitism[edit]

Islamic antisemitism[edit]

Palestinian nationalist Amin al-HusseiniWikipedia with Adolf Hitler. Despite what Bibi claims, Husseini did not influence Hitler in any way in the execution of the Holocaust.

In a very similar way to Martin Luther, Muhammad was initially somewhat sympathetic to the local Jews, especially since he was accepted by them when he fled Mecca for Medina and as he believed that all previous 'false' religions were not worthy for the Jews to convert to, but he, having the truth right from Allah himself, would make them see the error of their ways and they'd convert en masse. After said mass conversions failed to occur, Muhammad became increasingly hostile towards Jews, even calling them infidels. Surprise, surprise, it is excessively easy to find suras in the Quran that portray Jews as bad and evil.

Despite this early seed for antisemitism within Islam, Jews sometimes lived comfortable lives under Islamic rule and Islamic rulers were not necessarily worse to their Jewish subjects than Christian rulers of the same era and region. As a matter of fact, perhaps the greatest Jewish scholar of all times — MaimonidesWikipedia — lived under Islamic rule. However, pogroms and calls for persecution happened under Islamic rule as well, and Jews had to flee or were expelled from Islamic lands as well as Christian lands. Rulers sometimes exploited the anti-Jewish sentiment of their subjects, sometimes tried to protect their Jewish subjects from a hostile population, and sometimes fanned the flames of religious and ethnic hatred for personal gain or out of bigotry.

During the 19th century, the Islamic world was in a crisis, as the Ottoman Empire was increasingly weakened and European powers made more and more inroads into territories like Egypt or Algeria. This initially prompted a response where Arab intellectuals called for learning from the Europeans and copying their progressive ideas. Unfortunately, antisemitism fell on a fertile ground of pre-established animosity towards Jews in many places and was seen as 'scientific' and 'modern'. Both secular thinkers such as the founders of Arab nationalist movements, and Islamists, increased their hatred of and rhetoric against Jews.

Also during the late 19th century, there was increasing Jewish immigration into the general area of the Levant, which provoked various responses. While some local Arabs hoped for economic development and investment, others stoked xenophobia and yet others combined xenophobia and antisemitism, resulting in massacres targeting even those Jews whose families had lived in the area for centuries. After the establishment of Israel and the humiliating defeats of Arab armies in basically all wars they fought against Israel, autocratic leaders made hatred of Israel and/or Jews (the two basically being portrayed as one and the same in propaganda) the only kind of expression allowed to manifest itself publicly or in the media.

Consequently, many Muslims from Arab states — but even some from Iran or the Philippines — today hold antisemitic views. On the other hand, this is frequently exploited by xenophobic populists in the West who say they're opposed to Arab immigration on the grounds of their (supposed or real) antisemitism.

Left-wing antisemitism[edit]

Graffiti against Judios (Jews) in Venezuela, note the hammer and sickle.

Though antisemites often use anti-Zionism as a smokescreen, anti-Zionism is not in and of itself antisemitic (e.g., there have been and are anti-Zionist Jews[20]), and calling it as such silences legitimate criticisms of Israel.

Socialism of fools[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Evil Jew § Money-controllers

A small minority of Jews served as bankers to noblemen as the church often prohibited Christians from usury (charging interest for a loan). To this day, Jews are overrepresented among the most successful financiers. Today, in a long line of bigotry being masked with critique of capitalism/neoconservatism, the opposition towards usury is often used as a leftist cover for antisemitism, specifically the idea that Jewish wealth and power is the source of social injustice.

While not everybody who speaks of "banksters" and "loan sharks" may necessarily mean Jewish "banksters" and "loan sharks", the undertone is quite notable in many of those screeds. Some leftists have always criticized this wrongheaded criticism of capitalism, including Karl Marx who has written about this phenomenon.[citation needed]

Antisemitic criticism of Israel[edit]

When Israel was founded, many leftists around the globe had sympathy with Israel, in support of Jews escaping persecution that was prevalent throughout Europe, plus socialism being politically dominant throughout the country's first twenty years of statehood and the kibbutzim beginning as utopian communities, a combination of socialism and Zionism.

But after the Six-Day WarWikipedia when Israel first demonstrated to the world that it was capable of militarily defeating its neighbors, Zionism is now seen by most leftists as colonialist and imperialist. This criticism often uses antisemitic stereotypes, alleging that Israel sacrifices children's blood and poisons wells, as well as portraying Israelis with long noses, as an octopus holding the world in its grasp, or otherwise shadowy "controlling" figures.[citation needed] Talk of a "Jewish lobby" and its supposed or real influence on the governments of the West is also a frequent antisemitic trope employed by leftists when pushed into ZOG levels.[citation needed]

Militant anti-Zionism[edit]

There have been attacks on synagogues, individual Jews and Jewish institutions as well as Israeli citizens or other Israeli targets perpetrated by Western and Japanese leftist groups from their own volition and in cooperation with Arab and Palestinian militant groups.

Several of these groups in Europe and Japan have cooperated with violent Palestinian and other Arab groups throughout the Cold War era, where they shared their views on Jews and Israel.

Right-wing antisemitism[edit]

Dumbass conspiracy theorist Trump supporter holds an antisemitic conspiracy theory sign. Note the parentheses.

The most universally acknowledged antisemitism:

A specific type of antisemitic screed by the following internet kooks

Everyday antisemitism[edit]

Antisemitic tropes crop up in everyday conversation even among 'normal' people. Examples include:

  • Using the word 'Jew' inappropriately, e.g. using 'Jew' as an adjective ("Jew Banker") or verb ("He Jewed me down.")
  • A compulsory reflex to say something about Israeli foreign policy when Israel is mentioned however tangentially (think about it, how many people would react with a tirade about Emmanuel Macron when you talk about French wine?)
  • The "joking" use of anti-Jewish stereotypes

Unfortunately, this all combines to make Jews one of the most targeted minorities for violence based on ethnic or religious persuasion, and synagogues or Jewish community centers have to have police protection and other security measures in many places where churches, temples, or mosques don't need to be protected like this.

Zionism and anti-Zionism[edit]

David Ben-Gurion declares the establishment of the Jewish world government Israel.

Israel is odd because (tongue entirely in cheek) it was a successful Jewish conspiracy and is run by Jews. Criticism and support of Israel is plagued by hardliners on both sides who are leveraging different causes and labels. There are hard-right Israelis who call for the creation of 'Greater Israel'Wikipedia (no, not the conspiracist Greater Israel) and just place it under the label of "Zionism", so any criticism is conflated with calls to eradicate Israel altogether. Those who'd dismantle Israel happily use that equivocation, claiming they are only "anti-Zionist" in terms of thinking Israel is big enough already.

An analogy might be useful here. It is perfectly possible (and common) to criticize this or that female politician, say, without being misogynist. Similarly, criticism of Israel's policies or government is not necessarily antisemitism, nor anti-Zionism either: it doesn't typically imply Israel is illegitimate or needs to be dismantled. It is also possible to care for the welfare of men without hating women. For example, the "men's lib" group in the 1970s demanded that, just like women's lib argued women can be CEOs without social disapproval, men may be homemakers without social disapproval. (They were allied with the feminists, in fact.) Similarly, it is quite possible to support a Palestinian state without thinking Israel is illegitimate or should be dismantled. So criticism of Israel per se, or support of Palestinian rights per se, do not necessarily imply anti-Zionism or antisemitism.

However, it is not hard to see that the so-called manosphere today, with its self-proclaimed men's rights advocated, simply hates women. Similarly, it is usually easy to see when a person's self-proclaimed "concern for the Palestinians", "anti-Zionism", or "politically incorrect criticism of Israel you will not hear in the mainstream media" (etc.) is just a thin cover for antisemitism, with "Zionist" (or "Israeli") simply replacing "Jew".

Indeed, many antisemites use anti-Zionism as a kind of cover for entry-level recruiting. In addition, most antisemites see Zionism not as a modern movement to first create a Jewish state in Palestine and subsequently support Israel, but as really being a kind of ancient, all-encompassing world conspiracy — in their language, the term 'Zionism' means more or less the same as 'The Jews'.

On the flip side, Israel's staunchest gentile defenders in the United States tend to be extreme evangelical Protestants, who eagerly look forward to the "ingathering" of Jews in Israel followed by their massacre and/or forced conversion to Christianity, and bringing forth the end times in their minds. No, seriously: John Hagee, one of these tireless soldiers for Christ and Israel, got into a little trouble after opining that the Holocaust was all part of God's plan to punish European Jews for being too irreligious, or something. Strange bedfellows.

The 3D Test[edit]

Obviously, not all criticism of Israel and Zionism is antisemitism, but it can be difficult to determine the line as 'Zionism' is used as a dog whistle and many antisemites will hide behind criticisms of Israel (legitimate and otherwise). So there exists a need to demarcate. One such attempt at doing this is the so-called 3D Test, proposed by Soviet dissident turned Zionist Natan Sharansky:Wikipedia

  • Demonization. Exaggerations or outright lies intended to portray Israelis or all Jews as subhuman or evil.
  • Delegitimatization. Claims that Israel has no right to exist or the Jews are not "real" Jews or descendants from the Jews that left Israel 2000-2500 years ago, commonly using the Khazar myth.
  • Double Standards.

Important: While having a heavy or even exclusive focus on Israel is not in itself evidence of a double standard (people volunteering at animal shelters don't necessarily hate the homeless), focusing on the plight of the Palestinians while handwaving away or outright denying the extent of ethnic cleansing of Jews from the Islamic world very much is. On the flip side, highlighting the Jews that fled while engaging in apologetics or outright denial of the ethnic cleansing the Palestinians faced is also double standards.

This does not mean the test is without critics. As an example, some opponents of current Israeli policies call for a bi-national single state with both Jews and Palestinians. This would entail the dissolution of current Israel, but only to be replaced with another state that included Jews (the merits of such a proposal are of course debatable, and this so-called one-state solution remains a minority idea). Anarchists and some leftists may also call for the dissolution of both Israel and the State of Palestine out of opposition to states in general and a belief that a change in governance won't necessarily stop violence against Palestinians on its own. This in itself is not anti-Semitic, as the goal of this dissolution wouldn't be to undermine Jewish people's autonomy. Sharansky himself was also criticized for his hawkish attitude towards Palestinian self-determination, arguing that Jews "have a biblical claim to Palestine".[21]

Freedom of speech at stake, or is it?[edit]

The problem with the 3D test is the implementation. Both the term 'double standard' and the term 'demonization' are arguably very open to interpretation. Free speech 'extremists' like Christopher Hitchens were opposed to laws against Holocaust denial for that reason — once you start outlawing speech, it becomes hard to draw the line and define which speech is just disgusting, racist, and stupid and which should be a crime. However, the test can still be applied without it being made law. While applying the 3D test cannot and should not replace a critical mind with regard to statements that may or may not be antisemitic, it provides a handy tool for lay people who don't want or can't visit a three-year course on the history of antisemitism to decipher all the dog whistles. Those who do believe freedom of speech is endangered will point to laws such as France passed which has made it de facto illegal to advocate for boycotts of Israel.[22]


A philo-Semite is an anti-Semite who likes Jews.
—Franklin Foer[23]

A less-obvious form of antisemitism is philosemitism, literally the liking of Jews. It is still antisemitic because it requires stereotyping: a philosemite likes Jews primarily because of their (positive) stereotypes of Jews, not primarily because they might have Jewish friends.[23][24] Examples of philosemitism are widespread, even in Taiwan and South Korea.[25] The reason that philosemitism is not benign is because the person or entity advocating philosemitism uses stereotypes that are also appealing to antisemitism.[25]

Donald Trump is a prominent example of philosemitism. He has had many close Jewish associates and his daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism, but Trump has expressed stereotypes of Jews throughout his life.[25]

  • "I've got black accountants… Black guys counting my money! I hate that. The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes every day."[26][27]
  • "If you vote for a Democrat, you're very, very disloyal to Israel and to the Jewish people."[28]

The first quote is based on the stereotype that Jews are better at accounting or business (and is also noticeably racist). The second quote is based on the stereotype that Jews have divided loyalty between their country of nationality and Israel.[25] It also, oddly, implies that Democrats are more loyal to the US than Republicans are, or at least don't have a divided loyalty. Or something.

An older example is Mark Twain, whose work Concerning the JewsWikipedia is in part philosemitic.[29][30]

Formal definition[edit]

In 2016, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance decided on a non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism, which has been adopted by multiple governments:[31][32][33]

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.

The definition included several examples of antisemitism:

  • Calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.
  • Making mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as collective — such as, especially but not exclusively, the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.
  • Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group, or even for acts committed by non-Jews.
  • Denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust)
  • Accusing the Jews as a people, or Israel as a state, of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust.
  • Accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations.
  • Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, e.g., by claiming that the existence of a State of Israel is a racist endeavor.
  • Applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation.
  • Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis.
  • Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.
  • Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel.

The definition however, was met with criticism by academics, civil libertarians, and anti-Zionists on the grounds that it would stifle free speech and legitimate criticisms of the state of Israel by conflating protected political speech with discrimination.[34][35]The American Civil Liberties Union noted that the adaptation of the IHRA definition led to the censure of pro-Palestinian activism among students and academics in European universities.[36]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. While this may be confusing, language is notoriously inconsistent; for example, "inflammable" and "flammable" are synonyms.
  2. Shoah is a synonym for the Holocaust.
  3. "The ultimate question that leftist opponents of Zionism like to hurl at liberal Zionists, the one the former believe the latter cannot answer, is, to use Finkelstein's formulation: 'How does one excuse ethnic cleansing?' If one is a liberal, committed to human rights, how can one justify the expulsion and dispossession of Palestinians in 1948 as Israel was born? [Ari] Shavit’s answer comes in the form of the two chapters that sit at the heart of the book. First comes 'Lydda, 1948,' a meticulously assembled account of the three July days when soldiers of the new Israeli army emptied that city of its Palestinian inhabitants and, according to Shavit, killed more than three hundred civilians in cold blood and without discrimination. Piecing together the testimony of those who did the killing, Shavit writes: 'Zionism carrie[d] out a massacre.'"[15]
  4. The only other set of contradictory stereotypes of a major group would be Hispanic immigrants being simultaneously "lazy" while "stealing jobs".


  1. 1.0 1.1 Anti-Semite and Jew by Jean-Paul Sartre (1995 [1948) Schocken Books. Translated by George J. Becker. ISBN 0805210474.
  2. Albert Einstein - Wikiquote
  3. Measures to combat contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance Resolution Adopted by the General Assembly (1 March 1999) United Nations.
  4. Report on Antisemitism in Australia (2014) Executive Council on Australian Jewry (archived from November 11, 2014).
  5. The "anti-Semitism" smear campaign against CAP and Media Matters rolls on: A campaign to disparage progressive writers makes a shameful comeback by Glenn Greenwald (January 19, 2012 2:59PM UTC) Salon.
  6. Moser, Benjamin (Jan 2, 2024). "Anti-Zionism isn’t the same as antisemitism. Here’s the history.". 
  7. Weisman, Jonathan (Dec 10, 2023). "Is Anti-Zionism Always Antisemitic? A Fraught Question for the Moment.". 
  8. See the Wikipedia article on Etymology of Antisemitism.
  9. Jesus, Jews, and the Shoah by Mark Riebling (January 27, 2003) National Review. Book review of: A Moral Reckoning: The Role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust and Its Unfulfilled Duty of Repair by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen.
  10. See the Wikipedia article on Islam and antisemitism.
  11. See the Wikipedia article on Invasion of Banu Qurayza.
  12. See the Wikipedia article on Yemenite Jews.
  13. Jews in Islamic Countries: The Treatment of Jews (September 2011) 'Jewish Virtual Library.
  14. National Socialism and Anti-Semitism in the Arab World by Matthias Küntzel (2005) Jewish Political Studies Review 17:1–2.
  15. The Liberal Zionists: The cause of Zion once served as a bridge between Jews and the liberal left. These days it drives them apart. by Jonathan Freedland (August 14, 2014) The New York Review of Books. Book review of: My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel by Ari Shavit.
  16. See the Wikipedia article on Mahathir Mohamad § Antisemitic comments.
  17. The Khazar Myth and the new antisemitism by Robert Plaut (May 9, 2007) Jewish Press.
  18. Farrakhan: In His Own Words ADL. "The real anti-Semites are those who came out of Europe and settled in Palestine, and now they call themselves the true Jews, when in fact, they converted to Judaism." — Al Jazeera TV interview (3/18/07).
  19. See the Wikipedia article on Antisemitism.
  20. See the Wikipedia article on Anti-Zionism § Jewish anti-Zionism.
  21. Desch, Michael (28 March 2005). "Sharansky's double standard". The American Conservative. 
  22. Anti-Israel Activism Criminalized in the Land of Charlie Hebdo and 'Free Speech' by Glenn Greenwald (October 27 2015, 7:34 a.m.) The Intercept.
  23. 23.0 23.1 Trump Loves Jews Like Cohen And Dershowitz — For All The Wrong Reasons by Jane Eisner (April 13, 2018) Forward.
  24. Ira Forman in Conversation With Deborah Lipstadt (March 21, 2019) Moment.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 Trump keeps pushing anti-Semitic stereotypes. But he thinks he's praising Jews. Philo-Semitism may seem benign. It isn't. by Yair Rosenberg (August 21, 2019) The Washington Post.
  26. With both candidates viewed unfavorably, expect a bloodbath by Joe Garofoli and John Wildermuth (June 11, 2016 Updated: June 11, 2016 9:10pm) San Francisco Chronicle.
  27. Trumped!: The Inside Story of the Real Donald Trump-His Cunning Rise and Spectacular Fall by John R. O'Donnell (1991). Simon & Schuster. ISBN 067173735X.
  28. Trump, frustrated by unpopularity with Jews, thrusts Israel into his culture war by Philip Rucker (August 22, 2019) The Washington Post.
  29. Kahn, Sholom J. (1985). "Mark Twain's Philosemitism: "Concerning the Jews"". Mark Twain Journal 23 (2): 18–25. ISSN 0025-3499. 
  30. Kravitz, Bennett (2002). "Philo-Semitism as Anti-Semitism in Mark Twain's "Concerning the Jews"". Studies in Popular Culture 25 (2): 1–12. ISSN 0888-5753. 
  31. Romanian Chairmanship (26 May 2016) International Holocaust Remembrance Committee.
  32. What is Antisemitism? Campaign Against Antisemitism.
  33. Anti-Semitism United States Department of State.
  34. Speri, Alice (6 June 2023). "Biden Embraces Antisemitism Definition That Has Upended Free Speech in Europe". 
  35. Staff, Al Jazeera. "Adoption of anti-Semitism definition curbs free speech: Report". 
  36. Alonso, Johanna (2024-02-08). "ACLU Warns Against Adopting Antisemitism Definition" (in en).