- This article is an introductory overview of the phenomenon of antisemitism. For an alternative non-wiki view, see the external link anti-Semitism at Britannica.com.
- For an extensive socio-historical analysis as viewed from the perspective of contemporary scholarship, please see:
Antisemitism is the generally accepted name for any form of opposition to Jewish people as individuals and as a group. It can take many forms, including discrimination, ostracism, violence, and in the worst cases outright murder of Jews. Such abuses go back over two thousand years. Antisemites typically accuse Jews of various conspiracies perpetrated against non-Jews. Mainstream commentators agree that such conspiracy theories are not only wrong, but are also likely to reveal personality flaws in those who believe them. The only exception involves accusations made against the domestic and foreign policies of the state of Israel.
Antisemitism is generally seen as a cultural phenomenon, not an evolved biological response against outsider or minority groups. Opposition to Jews is seen as different from the oppression of other minority groups. In part this is because Jews have a worldwide presence, unlike other ethnicities. Antisemitism is also alleged to be more intense and deeper-rooted than other forms of discrimination, like a particularly pernicious meme.
Since the start of the Jewish diaspora, Jewish populations spreading across Europe and parts of Asia have come under various evolutionary selection pressures, and have had to adapt to many novel challenges. According to theories of human biodiversity, Jews are more likely to be K-selected, meaning that due to their outsider status they have had more difficulties in forming families that have left surviving offspring. This implies that Jewish populations may have been forced to select for various cognitive traits like intelligence, the ability to cooperate with each other, and to get along with non-Jews in various challenging environments. This may also have been reflected in Jewish culture.
Antisemites are likely to claim that Jews have evolved to take advantage of their host populations in ways that damage and weaken these hosts, and that antisemitism is an evolved response to this threat. The mainstream view is to deny that any such evolution has occurred. However, if it did happen then the consensus view would be that Jews and gentiles are likely to have co-evolved in ways that are mutually beneficial, in a form of social symbiosis that generally advanced human progress.
There have been countless attacks of non-Jews against Jews throughout history, mostly in Europe, Eurasia, and in the Middle East and Muslim north Africa. The worst was probably the Holocaust. However, the face of antisemitism has changed in the twenty-first century. By the 2010s, it was most commonly perpetrated by Muslim immigrants to Western countries against local Jewish populations, that had often lived there for centuries. In the 2010s, opposition to alleged Jewish political influence in the West became a common alt-right theme, as expressed in the triple parentheses meme.
- 1 List of claimed reasons for antisemitism
- 1.1 Identity politics
- 1.2 Jealousy
- 1.3 Claimed nepotism
- 1.4 Claims about Jewish long-term advantages
- 1.5 Opposition to diversity
- 1.6 Opposition to progressive culture
- 1.7 Diabolical conspiracy theories
- 1.8 Diabolical Antisemites
- 1.9 Diabolical world theory
- 1.10 Talmud conspiracy claims
- 1.11 Kosher tax conspiracy theory
- 1.12 Conflict with Christianity
- 1.13 Over-representation in politics and business
- 1.14 Over-representation in the legal system
- 1.15 Over-representation in the media
- 1.16 Alleged vulnerability of non-Jews to clever rhetoric
- 1.17 Parasitism
- 1.18 The Free Rider problem
- 1.19 Holocaust hoax theories
- 1.20 Need for a scapegoat
- 1.21 Irrational overreaction
- 1.22 Genetic self interest
- 1.23 The belief that it would be better if the Jews did not exist
- 1.24 Actions of Israel
- 1.25 Repressed guilt
- 1.26 Moral calculus error
- 1.27 Higher expectations
- 1.28 References
List of claimed reasons for antisemitism
Many different reasons for Antisemitic beliefs, statements, and deeds have been given through the centuries. However, these reasons are often contradictory. It remains unclear why Antisemitism appears in so many guises, and is so strongly felt. Therefore, all such theories are highly speculative.
A list of possible reasons for Antisemitism:
Jews are considered to have a strong group identity. Members of other groups may not feel affinity with that identity. They may recognize a separate culture they can't be part of, and dislike the perceived Jewish personality type(s).
Some critics have accused Jews of forming favor networks among each other that give them unfair advantages. These critics claim Jews form partnerships with other Jews on terms they don't extend to gentiles. Gentiles supposedly do not normally favor each other to the same extent. Jewish cohesion allegedly allows them to cooperate and rely on each other, making it easier to exploit gentiles. Antisemitism would be a way to "redress the balance".
Claims about Jewish long-term advantages
Some antisemites may feel that non-Jews like them are being manipulated by the Jews, but they can't resist because they aren't as disciplined. Jews are claimed to be very patient, an alleged genetic advantage. This allegedly helps them to improve their position, and gives them an unfair advantage over time. A related advantage might be their higher average IQ, an aspect of human biodiversity.
Opposition to diversity
Aware of their own minority position, Jews may encourage other existing minority groups to assert their identity, so they will be safer to express their own identity. Jews may also encourage minority groups to immigrate to dilute the influence of the existing majority. The existing majority may oppose this, Antisemites violently so.
Opposition to progressive culture
Jews may encourage new minority groups to form, and strive to dilute the existing majority culture by encouraging new factions and interests groups to form (feminism, homosexuals, birth control). Traditionally-minded opponents may consider these new groups and practices useless or degraded.
Jews are accused of encouraging social atomization of Gentile communities, while maintaining cohesive Jewish communities. However, Jewish communities have themselves experienced increasing outmarriage with other groups.
Diabolical conspiracy theories
Claims about Jewish plots to subvert society from within most famously include The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. That book and other conspiracy theories claim Jews knowingly conspire at high levels to corrupt and exploit their host societies. Such plots would be treasonous if true, like the Stab-in-the-back myth. Today, Antisemites claim the USA has been diabolically corrupted by the Zionist Occupation Government (ZOG).
All the above claims have been debunked in the sense that no accepted proof has ever been produced beyond hearsay and unsourced writings. Often these sources have been shown to be forged. Many counter-arguments have also been produced.
Jean-Paul Sartre wrote in his essay Anti-Semite and Jew (1946) that Antisemites have contemptible personality defects, and that is the only reason for Antisemitism. If Jews didn't exist, then Antisemites would do other evil things instead.
Diabolical world theory
The world might really be diabolical, a belief sometimes called malism, but not only the Jews should be blamed for that. Even if the Jews were mostly to blame (and relatively few people believe that), the gentiles might be just as bad for having allowed these bad things to happen.
Talmud conspiracy claims
Kosher tax conspiracy theory
A much smaller conspiracy theory claims that privately-run Jewish firms providing voluntary Kosher certification for many food products are exploiting non-Jewish consumers, who must still pay for the certification through their purchases. Allegedly, these services are much too expensive. The certifiers' websites and their clients decline to state these fees. Their defenders claim that food producers choose to pay these fees. The resulting sales to Jews lower the cost per item despite the included fees. However, food producers may also pay these fees, estimated to be "in the billions" by their opponents, to avoid being charged with Antisemitism.
Conflict with Christianity
Jews retained their religious identity as Europe became Christianized.
The majority Christian culture punished them for this reason. Christian Antisemitism often took the form of the Jewish deicide story, which states the Jews are collectively responsible for executing Jesus Christ.
Over-representation in politics and business
Jews are claimed not to have a monopoly, but a better understanding than other groups of the "hidden" power levers that control society. Jews themselves counter that while they have indeed been successful, they have earned their success through honest work, and their contributions have been a net positive.
Over-representation in the legal system
Through the years Jews have specialized in complex services like finances and legal representation. Critics allege the legal system has deliberately been made too complex and too expensive, or commercialized, and open to abuse, and that its practitioners (many of them Jewish) use it to extract excessive wealth.
However, the laws they use were passed by legislators, most of them non-Jews. Also, non-Jews will not hesitate to call upon Jewish lawyers for help.
Over-representation in the media
Critics allege Jews wield excessive influence in publishing, motion pictures, and popular entertainment. Jews mostly serve as executives in these industries, though many columnists are also Jewish. They have been blamed for promoting degenerate content and exploitation of artists.
Alleged vulnerability of non-Jews to clever rhetoric
It is claimed that non-Jews are easier to manipulate into changing their society by activists like George Soros. It is said they don't even notice the effects until it's too late, and that they can then only resist through antisemitism.
Jews have been accused of pursuing socially useless or harmful professions. However, many papers have extolled the social benefits of banking and legal services in the economy and as a means of conflict resolution. Jews as a group have been blamed for exploiting the labor of others.
The Free Rider problem
A small but well-organized group passionate about its identity may promote its interests over a majority that is opposed to these interests, but not as passionate about them. That way interest groups may establish tariffs and regulations that benefit them.
Holocaust hoax theories
Critics claim the Jews invented the myth of the Holocaust to gain sympathy for themselves and make it riskier to criticize them (the "Holohoax"). However there is a great deal of evidence the Holocaust happened.
Holocaust revisionists claim that Jewish scholars won't publish accurate figures, including times and places of the murders; only personal stories designed to elicit sympathy. These critics say the absence of such data implies the actual Holocaust death toll was as low as one tenth the usual quoted figure. However, mainstream historians say these critics are knowingly dishonest, and should be called Holocaust denialists instead.
Need for a scapegoat
When things go wrong for inscrutable reasons, humans may feel an irresistible urge to blame someone. Jews may be the most convenient target.
It cannot be ruled out a priori that some Jews have established genuinely unfair advantages on a systemic basis, even if this is not proven. Difficult to define and resolve, such arrangements could frustrate their rivals, stimulating them to lash out inappropriately and excessively. Antisemites might also not really be angry at the Jews, but at the toleration of alleged Jewish influence by non-Jews.
Genetic self interest
Human evolution could have selected for hatred even if that hatred is irrational. The justification doesn't matter, as long as it helps genes to spread. This hate would likely target distinctly separate groups, as they are likelier to have different genes. Eliminating them would leave more resources for the survivors, making it easier for their genes to spread.
The belief that it would be better if the Jews did not exist
People with such a belief may feel the world is too difficult, with too many inscrutable rules and regulations and hidden power networks. Some people might really be better off if the Jews did not exist, and could be more successful under the ensuing social changes. This belief does not have to be hate-based. A right-handed man who doesn't know any left-handed people might be better off if the latter group all died, so there would be more resources for him. However, that wouldn't justify this belief any more than Genghis Khan's plans to create grazing lands justified killing millions of Chinese peasants.
Actions of Israel
The New Antisemitism asserts the Jewish people bears responsibility for the actions of Israel against its Arab minority population. In this case the Jews are operating from a position of strength, making it acceptable to oppose them.
Many other countries treat their own minorities worse than Israel treats Palestinians. However, in those cases protests wouldn't work.
Antisemites could be lashing out because of subconscious feelings of moral inadequacy, since they themselves aren't able to live as morally justified lives as the Jewish people.
Moral calculus error
It is possible the Jews really did many bad things. However, they might also have done more good things, making their contributions a net positive. Antisemites would be unable to see these contributions, or would take them for granted.
Jews themselves have speculated that Antisemitism is part of their destiny. Being unassimilatable, the Jews are meant to be an example for the world, and other people can sense this. So far the Jews have failed to fix the world however, causing resentment.
If Jews have organized major portions of society as Antisemites assert, they may be to blame for at least part of its faults.
- Louis H. Feldman (1996) "Studies in Hellenistic Judaism" BRILL. p. 177. ISBN 9004104186. https://books.google.com/?id=pACJYw0bg3QC&pg=PA177&dq=antisemitism+Jews+occupations+ancient#v=onepage&q&f=false
- Oxford University Press (Jan 16, 2013) https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130116195333.htm
- William Saletan (Nov 1, 2007) http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/human_nature/2007/11/jewgenics.html
- Kurt Hilmar Eitzen, "Zehn Knüppel wider die Judenknechte", Unser Wille und Weg (6) 1936, p.309, http://research.calvin.edu/german-propaganda-archive/responses.htm, retrieved 2016/12/02
- Tani Goldstein (Oct 26, 2011) http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4099803,00.html
- antisemitic article (2011) http://www.realjewnews.com/?p=685
- "Why Are Jews Liberals?", book by Norman Podhoretz, 2010
- The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Political Movements, Kevin MacDonald, ISBN-13: 978-0759672222
- A Portrait of Jewish Americans, Findings from a Pew Research Center Survey of U.S. Jews, 2013/10/01, http://www.pewforum.org/files/2013/10/jewish-american-survey-full-report.pdf
- Michelis, Cesare G. De (2004). The non-existent manuscript : a study of the Protocols of the sages of Zion. Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press
- David Mikics (Sep 4, 2013) http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-arts-and-culture/books/143487/academic-anti-semitism
- (Jul 28, 2017) https://www.henrymakow.com/2017/07/talmudic-nwo.html
- (retrieved Jul 28, 2017) https://www.radioislam.org/islam/english/toread/jewras.htm
- Volume 4 of The International Jew: Aspects of Jewish power in the United States, Henry Ford, Dearborn Publishing Company, 1922
- Jewish Power in America: Myth and Reality, Henry L. Feingold, Transaction Publishers, 2011
- antisemitic examples (retrieved Jul 28, 2017) https://radioislam.org/jewish-photos/manipulat-the-wold/world-leaders-manipulated.htm | https://theendofzion.com/masters-of-deceit-a-short-history-of-the-jews-ben-klassen/
- G. G. Otto, "Der Jude als Weltparasit", Eher Verlag, 1943, http://research.calvin.edu/german-propaganda-archive/weltparasit.htm
- The Dearborn Independent (Nov 13, 1920) http://www.jrbooksonline.com/Intl_Jew_full_version/ij23.htm
- "Anti-Semitism in America"; Harold Earl Quinley, Charles Young Glock; 1979; p. 87
- "The Psychology of Genocide, Massacres, and Extreme Violence: Why Normal People Come to Commit Atrocities"; by Donald G. Dutton; Praeger Security International; 2007
- (Nov 5, 2015) https://www.reddit.com/r/changemyview/comments/3rnjpr/cmv_the_world_has_become_too_complex/
- "Progressive" Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism, 2006, Alvin H. Rosenfeld, AJC
- (Sep 2014) http://listovative.com/top-10-major-reasons-why-people-hate-jews/