anti-Semitism

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From the German Antisemitismus, which was coined in 1879 by German political agitator Wilhelm Marr to replace Judenhass ("Jew-hatred") to make hatred of the Jews seem rational and sanctioned by scientific knowledge. The similar term antisemitisch ("anti-semitic") was first used in 1860, by Jewish scholar Moritz Steinschneider. See Wikipedia's article on the etymology and usage of the term.

The term is superficially/synchronically equivalent to anti- +‎ Semitism (see Semite), for which reason it is rarely extended to cover prejudice against any Semitic people, or against adherents of any of the religions that originated among the Semitic peoples (the Abrahamic religions). See the usage notes.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): /ˌæntɪˈsɛmɪˌtɪzəm/, /ˌæntiˈsɛmɪˌtɪzəm/, /ˌæntaɪˈsɛmɪˌtɪzəm/

Noun[edit]

anti-Semitism (plural anti-Semitisms)

  1. (narrower sense) Prejudice, discrimination or hostility directed against ethnic or religious Jews; antijudaism; judeophobia.
  2. (broader sense, rare, nonstandard) Prejudice, discrimination or hostility directed against any Semitic people (ancient or modern), such as Samaritans, Palestinians, Arabs or Assyrians.
    • 1986, Akhileshwar Singh, Political leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru, page 228:
      But Israel's policy of anti-semitism against Palestinians was not to the liking of India.
    • 2002, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, issues 1-39, page 36:
      At this university, a faculty member has even gone so far as to declare Zionism a form of anti-Semitism against Palestinians.
    • 2003, Jeffrey St Clair, The Politics of Anti-Semitism, page 41:
      Bluntly put: if you want to end today's "anti-Semitism" against Jews, end Zionism's "anti-Semitism" against Palestinians.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Though Semitic refers in a broader sense to all those who speak Semitic languages (including e.g. Arabs and Assyrians), the term anti-Semitism has historically referred to prejudice against Jews alone. To avoid the confusion of the misnomer, many scholars of the subject (such as Emil Fackenheim) now favor the unhyphenated antisemitism in order to emphasize that the word should be read as a single unified term, not as a meaningful root word-prefix combination.[1][2][3] (See Wikipedia's article on the etymology and usage of the term.) Use of the term to refer to prejudice against any Semitic people is rare and nonstandard.
  • A very small number of writers use the term to refer to prejudice against Muslims, apparently considering them to constitute a Semitic race as opposed to only a religion. See citations.

Hyponyms[edit]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ Antisemitism. The Power of Myth (Facing History), Defining Antisemitism page 2 (PDF page 5)
  2. ^ “…the spelling ought to be antisemitism without the hyphen, dispelling the notion that there is an entity 'Semitism' which 'anti-Semitism' opposes.” -- Emil Fackenheim, Post-Holocaust Anti-Jewishness, Jewish Identity and the Centrality of Israel, in World Jewry and the State of Israel. ed. Moshe David, p11, n2.
  3. ^ “Antisemitism is not a scientific word, and it is entitled to neither a hyphen nor a capital.” Dr. James Parkes, 1953, quoted in Holocaust Almanac: David Irving's Hitler: Postscript