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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.


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


anti-Semitism (plural anti-Semitisms)

  1. (narrower sense) Prejudice, discrimination or hostility directed against ethnic or religious Jews; antijudaism; judeophobia.
  2. (Can we verify(+) this sense?) (broader sense, rare) Prejudice, discrimination or hostility directed against any other 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.
  3. (Can we verify(+) this sense?) (broader sense, rare) Prejudice or hostility towards adherents of Abrahamic religions.
    • 1992, The Minaret: The Islamic Magazine, Page 36
      [] acquiescence when Muslims are harassed, and, since American Muslims have been the subject of scapegoating, this case symbolizes our struggle to earn our civil rights through legal channels and defeat anti-semitism against Muslims.
    • 2008, Gary Hewitt, Bethlehem speaks: voices from the little town cry out - Page 76
      Anti-Arab and Muslim racism Right now also, throughout the world, we see a great rise of a new kind of anti-Semitism against Muslims - it is anti-Arab, anti-Muslim Islamophobia, which manifests itself in very ugly []
    • 2003, Aslam Syed, Islam: enduring myths and changing realities, Page 8
      Reflective and autobiographical, it shows how connections between Islam and terrorism were invented. It also points out the dangers inherent in such an exercise: the rise of a new anti-Semitism against Muslims, which is already visible not []

Usage notes[edit]

  • Though Semitic refers in a broader sense to those who speak Semitic languages (e.g. Arabs or Assyrians), the term anti-semitism has historically referred to prejudice against Jews alone. To avoid the confusion of the misnomer, many scholars on 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: Antisemitism:Etymology and Usage



Related terms[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Antisemitism. The Power of Myth (Facing History), Defining Antisemitism p. 2 (PDF p.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