Unit 3: Prejudice and Discrimination
Chapter 5: Antisemitism
Antisemitism – is hostility and hatred directed toward Jews as a group. It is a phenomenon of Western history dating back 2,000 years to the initial conflict between Christians and Jews. The term antisemitismus (German for antisemitism) was popularized by author Wilhelm Marr to express the aims of his political movement to remove Jews from public life in central Europe in the 19th century. Prior to the late nineteenth century, “Jew hatred” was the general term used to describe the hatred, hostility, and contempt for Jews in European societies. Antisemitism was the guiding ideology for Hitler’s “Final Solution to the Jewish Question,” known today as the Holocaust.
Stereotype – is a widely held oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing. In social psychology, a stereotype is a generalized belief about a particular category of people. It is an expectation that people might have about every person in a particular group regardless of individual differences.
Diaspora – means “dispersion” outside one’s homeland. The Jewish people have been physically dispersed since the Babylonian Exile in 586 BCE. The Jewish Diaspora has grown to include almost all the regions of the world.
Anti-Judaism – is hostility and opposition to the Jewish religion. Both Christianity and Islam have anti-Judaic elements in their writings and traditions. Christianity sees itself as the fulfilment of Judaism and, over many centuries, the Church taught Christians that Judaism was replaced by Christianity and had no further significance.
Anti-Zionism – is hostility and opposition to Zionism, which was a Jewish political movement to establish a homeland for the Jewish people. There were several options for the location of a homeland, but the most significant desired location was the area surrounding Jerusalem, the traditional home of the Jews, which at the time was Palestine and home to a mix of Arab Muslims, Arab Christians, and Jews. With the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, anti-Zionism evolved into opposition to the state and its policies.
Anti-Israelism – is opposition to the existence of the state of Israel. Proponents of anti-Israelism support the dismantlement of the state of Israel and its replacement with a Palestinian Arab state or a bi-national state with an Arab majority and a Jewish minority. Critics of anti-Israelism, which include the vast majority of Israelis and Jews in diaspora, reject these scenarios wholesale and point to the violence and bloodshed that would no doubt ensue from such ideas.
Jews constitute a tiny minority of the world’s population.
Contrast this with 2.3 billion Christians (31% of world population); 1.8 billion Muslims (23%); 1.2 billion Hindus (15%); and 1.1 billion with no religious affiliation (16%)
Currently there are approximately 393,500 Jews living in Canada, about 1% of the population, with the largest numbers living in Toronto and Montreal. The total population of Canada is 38 million.