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Lesson 2: Roots and impacts of Antisemitism

How do rumors get started?
Either by people that know a lot or know very little
ppl that know a lot: intentionally spread lies, is trusted bc known as trustable figure
ppl that know little: states assumption as fact
Why might lies and myths about people persist even after they have been proven wrong?
intriguing myths spread faster than the truth.
Have you ever helped to spread a rumor that you doubted or knew wasn’t true? Why?
Ancient World

Lived in territories ruled by polytheistic groups whilst being a monotheistic group
Constantly used as scapegoats for all misfortunes
Roman Empire

63 BCE
Romans conquered Jerusalem - holy city of Judaism, center of Jewish life
Even though Romans respected ulterior religions, they also expected worship of roman gods, which angered jewish population
Romans responded with aggravation, and destroyed the temple of Jerusalem
A Convenient Roman Excuse

Christianity, emerges from Judaism, spread.
To avoid judgement, Christians distanced themselves from Jews, eventually becoming separate religion.
300BCE, Christianity becomes official Roman religion.
Lies and myths begin to spread, Romans blame Jews for the death of Jesus, after the Romans executed Jesus.
Middle Ages

Jews barred from “Christian” professions
Middle ages - Church ran government.
Christians had strict rule against lending money, thus many Jews became bankers and investors.
Thus, Jews became wealthy, but this also made Jews easy targets. - blamed for all problems in society, including Black Death.
Attacked by Christian armies and forced to live in ghettos and wear badges.
Spanish Inquisition

1942 - Jews and muslims forced to leave Ibizan area unless converted to Christianity.
Rumors arose that Jews had “Jewish blood” and had to be procecuted
The Enlightenment

During this period, thoughts shifted from theology to science, which resulted in the laxation of many anti-jewish laws.
19th Century

As restrictions lifted, Jews became more involved in normal society, which allowed them to be visible as prominent/successful figures.
This sparked further backlash especially since they remained successful during economic relapse and rumors began to spread on how Jews controlled the world.
Emerging form of prejudice: “Racism”

Race science emerge from Europe
Portrays racism as natural, inferior race.
Began counting Jews as a race.
Wilhelm Marr - popularized idea that Jews are a dangerous race.
Aryans - pure whites that were superior.
Early 20th century

Once again used as scapegoat: for loss in WWI, for communist overthrowing of the Tsar, etc.
Further spread misconception and hate.