Antisemitism: A History

Antisemitism Throughout History

Understanding the origins of Christian and Islamic antisemitism provides the foundation for examining the historical timeline of antisemitism throughout European, Middle Eastern, and U.S. history. Historically, antisemitism has largely been a Western phenomenon, as Jews migrated from the Middle East to Europe and the Americas. Christianity and Islam both built empires that shaped the European continent, which in turn affected the role of Jews throughout the Western Hemisphere. Jews also traveled eastward toward Russia where they suffered persecution and became the object of global conspiracy theories. The following section examines how antisemitism manifested during Christianity’s spread from the Middle East through the Roman Empire and the ascendancy of the Catholic Church, to the Islamic conquest of Europe, the European Enlightenment, and the rise of Communism in the twentieth century.

This section does not provide a complete timeline of the Jewish people, nor does it record every major antisemitic incident. Instead, this section provides an overview of the progression of antisemitism in the Common Era, examining the sources of major and recurring antisemitic themes such as the blood libel, Jewish greed and capitalism, and communism.

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The media and commentators have noted an increasing number of antisemitic attacks and the emergence of what many are calling the new antisemitism.

Read about Antisemitism in the 21st Century

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Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

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On December 4, 2018, a gunman shot and killed a man sitting in his car waiting for his son outside of a primary school in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The gunman, who fled on foot, was suspected of having ties to dissident republicans.   

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