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Related: discrimination - racism - Jew
Anti-Semitism, alternatively antisemitism, is hostility towards Jews. It ranges from ad hoc antagonism towards Jews on an individual level to the institutionalized prejudice and persecution once prevalent in European societies, of which the highly explicit ideology of Adolf Hitler's National Socialism was perhaps the most extreme form. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Semitism [Nov 2004]
Main article: Holocaust
Modern persecution of the Jews reached its peak under the Nazis from 1933 to 1945. The Nazis, who thought of themselves as a "Master Race", considered the Jews inferior and subhuman. These racist and Fascist beliefs and acts were embodied in the Nuremberg Laws specifically designed to discriminate against Jews. After emerging from Germany and capturing most of the European mainland, and in accordance with its Wannsee Conference, Nazi Germany first built concentration camps to incarcerate and kill its opponents and then the extermination camps designed for pure genocide, to kill Jews for the mere "sin" of being born ethnically Jewish. Over six million Jews perished under the genocidal policies of the Nazis, along with millions of non-Jews. Even Jews who had long assimilated and had been baptized into Christianity were not spared. With the defeat of the Axis Powers by the Allied Nations, many high German officials were punished by the Nuremberg Trials and Germany paid reparations to Holocaust survivors and to the State of Israel.
Even though many of the Old Bolsheviks were ethnically Jewish, they sought to uproot Judaism and Zionism and established the Yevsektsiya to achieve this goal. By the end of the 1940s the Communist leadership of the former USSR had liquidated almost all Jewish organizations, with the exception of a few token synagogues. These synagogues were then placed under police surveillance, both openly and through the use of informants.
The anti-Semitic campaign of 1948-1953 against so-called "rootless cosmopolitans," the fabrication of the "Doctors' plot," the rise of "Zionology" and subsequent activities of official organizations such as the Anti-Zionist committee of the Soviet public were officially carried out under the banner of "anti-Zionism," but the use of this term could not obscure the anti-Semitic content of these campaigns, and by the mid-1950s the state persecution of Soviet Jews emerged as a major human rights issue in the West and domestically. See also: Jackson-Vanik amendment, refusenik.
Christianity, which owes its origins and theology to Jewish teachings about the Messiah, has long had an ambiguous relationship with Judaism, giving rise to Christianity and anti-Semitism. Christians had difficulty with the Jews' claim to being God's Chosen people, and they were seen as having contributed to the demise of Jesus, the Christians' adopted Messiah and "son of God", which Judaism considers to be a serious heresy that negates the absolute unity, definite non-corporality, and complete invisibility of the Jewish God as mandated by the Jewish Torah.
In medieval Europe, many notorious persecutions of Jews in the name of Christianity occurred, notably during the Crusades—when Jews all over Germany were massacred—and in the Spanish Inquisition, when the entire Jewish population that had refused to be baptized into Christianity was expelled. They found refuge mainly in the Ottoman Empire and the Low Countries. From Alexander III's reign until the end of Tsarist times in Russia, Jews were restricted to the Jewish Pale of Settlement and subjected to frequent pogroms. On the other hand, in the 16th century, article four of the Council of Trent declared that the Jews were no more responsible for death of Christ than Christians, and this was later reaffirmed by the Second Vatican Council.
Arab and Islamic
Islam and Judaism have a complex relationship. Jews have generally enjoyed the benefits of "protected" Dhimmi status under Islam; yet the political conflict between Muhammad and the Jews of Madina in the 7th century left ample ideological fuel for Islam and anti-Semitism through the centuries.
During the Middle Ages, Jews had a better status in the Muslim world than in Christendom, though still short of full equality with Muslims. During the Holocaust the Middle East was in turmoil: In Egypt, with a Jewish population of 75,000, Anwar Sadat was imprisoned for conspiring with the Nazis to bring independence from the British Empire; the British-appointed Mufti of Jerusalem was in Berlin supporting Hitler; a coup briefly brought a pro-Axis government to power in Iraq, terrifying that country's Jews; and the Jewish Stern Gang assassinated Lord Moyne for closing Palestine to Jewish immigration.
The tensions of the Arab-Israeli conflict was also a factor in the rise of animosity to Jews all over the Middle East, as hundreds of thousands of Jews fled as refugees, the main waves being soon after the 1948 and 1956 wars. The vast majority of the Jews living in Iraq fled in 1952 although there is still a tiny population living in Baghdad. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jew#Persecution [Jul 2004]
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