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See also: antisemitism


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Alternative forms[edit]


From German Antisemitismus, which first appeared in the 1880 pamphlet Der Weg zum Siege des Germanenthums über das Judenthum ("The Way to Victory of the Germanic Spirit over the Jewish Spirit") by German political agitator Wilhelm Marr (though he possibly coined it earlier, c. 1879[1]) to replace Judenhaß (literally 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.


  • IPA(key): /ˌæntɪˈsɛmɪˌtɪzəm/, /ˌæntiˈsɛmɪˌtɪzəm/, /ˌæntaɪˈsɛmɪˌtɪzəm/
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anti-Semitism (countable and uncountable, plural anti-Semitisms)

  1. (narrower sense) Prejudice, discrimination, hostility or political or religious opposition directed against ethnic or religious Jews or against Judaism; antijudaism; judeophobia.
    Synonyms: anti-Jewishness, anti-Jewism, anti-Judaism, antijudaism, Jew-hatred, Jewhatred, Judeophobia
    Antonyms: anti-anti-Semitism, Judeophilia
    • 1919, Lenin, V. I., “Anti-Jewish Pogroms”, in George Hanna, transl., Lenin’s Collected Works[2], 4th edition, Progress Publisher, published 1972, pages 252 - 253:
      Anti-Semitism means spreading enmity towards the Jews. When the accursed tsarist monarchy was living its last days it tried to incite ignorant workers and peasants against the Jews. The tsarist police, in alliance with the landowners and the capitalists, organised pogroms against the Jews. The landowners and capitalists tried to divert the hatred of the workers and peasants who were tortured by want against the Jews. In other countries, too, we often see the capitalists fomenting hatred against the Jews in order to blind the workers, to divert their attention from the real enemy of the working people, capital. Hatred towards the Jews persists only in those countries where slavery to the landowners and capitalists has created abysmal ignorance among the workers and peasants. Only the most ignorant and downtrodden people can believe the lies and slander that are spread about the Jews. This is a survival of ancient feudal times, when the priests burned heretics at the stake, when the peasants lived in slavery, and when the people were crushed and inarticulate.
    • 2020, Joel Swanson, “Are anti-Semitism fears stopping Jewish Dems from supporting Bernie Sanders?”, in The Forward:
      It isn’t surprising that American Jews fear far-right anti-Semitism more than anti-Semitism from any other source: the Anti-Defamation League has found that it is the source of the vast majority of ideologically motivated extremist violence in the U.S.
  2. (broader sense, rare, nonstandard, chiefly in anti-Israel discourse) Prejudice, discrimination or hostility directed against any Semitic people (ancient or modern), such as Samaritans, Palestinians, Arabs or Assyrians.
    Hyponyms: anti-Jewishness, anti-Jewism, anti-Judaism, Jewhatred, Judeophobia, anti-Arabism, Arabophobia, anti-Palestinianism, anti-Samaritanism, anti-Assyrianism
    • 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.
    • 1991 April 6, Steve Rose, “A Human Drama”, in Gay Community News, page 5:
      Debate on Middle East issues is limited by what can only be seen as anti-Arab racism (itself a form of racist anti-semitism, since Arabs are semitic peoples), based on a severe lack of information.
    • 2002, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism, numbers 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.[2][3][4] (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.
  • Some use the term to hatred/prejudice against speakers of Hebrew, Arabic, Syriac, or any other Semitic language, as well as ethnic and religious groups associated with these languages.
  • 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.



Related terms[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ anti-Semitism”, in Online-Wortschatz-Informationssystem Deutsch (in German), Mannheim: Leibniz-Institut für Deutsche Sprache, 2008–
  2. ^ “Antisemitism. The Power of Myth (Facing History), Defining Antisemitism page 2 (PDF page 5)”, in (Please provide the book title or journal name)[1], 2007 August 2 (last accessed), archived from the original on 7 August 2007
  3. ^ “…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.
  4. ^ “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