Jew hatred has existed in most places where Jews have lived throughout history, but the severity of antisemitism varies drastically from time to time and place to place. Modern antisemitism manifests in many forms, including anti-Zionism. 

An Introduction to Antisemitism

 

Antisemitism is hatred of or bigotry toward Jews, and it's not new—one of the earliest examples of hatred toward Jews is found in the biblical book of Esther. Another was recorded in Alexandria, Egypt, in the third century BC. An Egyptian priest named Manetho wrote that the expulsion of the Jews from Egypt happened at the command of the Egyptian gods because Egypt had to be purified of unclean people.

The first government persecution of Jews occurred under the Ancient Greek Empire when Jews began to be restricted from religious practice and certain legal rights.  The story of Hanukkah chronicles the resistance of Jewish Maccabees who rebelled against Assyrian Greek conquerors who sought to stop Jews from practicing Judaism. 

Jew hatred has existed in most places where Jews have lived throughout history, but the severity of antisemitism varies drastically from time to time and place to place. Modern antisemitism manifests in many forms, including anti-Zionism. 

Hamas' barbaric attack on October 7 that left more than 1,200 innocent civilians dead or kidnapped to Gaza spurred a dramatic increase in antisemitism worldwide when Israel rightly responded defensively. Anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian protests erupted around the world, and antisemitic incidents on American college campuses spiked. Jewish students have consistently been bullied and harassed simply because they are Jewish and/or support the State of Israel, but the problem has so dramatically increased since October 7 that one in four Jewish college students say they have avoided wearying, carrying, or displaying things that would identify them as Jewish our of fear of antisemitism. According to the American Jewish Committee (AJC), 24% of current or recent college students now say they feel uncomfortable or unsafe at campus events because they are Jewish. But since the war began, antisemitism on social media is where Jews feel most attacked.

But antisemitism had already been surging prior to October 7. In Europe, the rise of extreme far-right parties, the increase in immigration from countries with antisemitic regimes (like Syria and Afghanistan), and the proliferation of anti-Zionism and radical Islam have resulted in violent attacks against Jews, causing many Jews to be afraid to openly identify as Jewish. This has also caused many Jewish communities to isolate or emigrate to Israel. In the United States, American Jews experienced the deadliest antisemitic attack on US soil when 11 people were murdered at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania on October 2018. In April 2019, during the Jewish holiday of Passover, a gunman entered the Chabad in Poway, California, killing one woman and injuring three others.

In many Middle Eastern countries, Jew hatred is entrenched in everyday life. Hatred against Jews is propagated in the media, by governments, in schools, and places of worship.

Learn more about antisemitism.