Antisemitism Essay Generic Hatred In Memory Simon Wiesenthal
- legal restrictions, physical violence, etc.).2 These descriptions are often modified by reference to a specific type of antisemitism, such as "economic", "racial" or "theological" antisemitism.
Although the subject has been studied from many perspectives and disciplines, there is still much that remains uncertain, including questions regarding its origins and the motives of its adherents.
Again, as in the classical era, the record was not totally one sided.
Popes such as Gregory the Great (590-604) attempted to protect Jews according to the rights that they were allowed while maintaining a balance of not allowing Jews more rights than they were permitted.17 This basic pattern would continue to dominate European Jewish history for hundreds of years, well into the medieval period.
Norwich, England in 1144 saw the first recorded case of an allegation of ritual-murder, the charge that Jews tortured and murdered Christian children.Interestingly enough, the Second Crusade was preceded by calls for protection of the Jews by prominent churchman, such as Bernard of Clairvaux.19 Even this call, however, was built upon antisemitic stereotypes, as Bernard wrote: "the Jews are not to be persecuted, killed, or even put to flight...for they remind up always of what our Lord suffered.Director of Government Affairs, Simon Wiesenthal Center Past Chair, Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance This article was originally written in 1994 for a forthcoming volume that was commissioned by the Council of American Jewish Museums.It is published here with the kind permission of Ori Soltes, editor of that volume.Some of the anti-Jewish acts that did take place were even understandable as reactions to Jewish rebellions and other actions.Furthermore, there existed a pattern of successful proselytization, which would indicate an openness or even sympathy to Judaism.Robert Chazan, who has studied this period extensively, points out that antisemitism is a combination of both inherited stereotypical themes that combine with the existing majority (in this case Christian) society as well as the Jewish minority to form the specific manifestations of antisemitism that are particular to that time and place.18 For example, in the medieval period, the papacy's call for crusades to retrieve the Holy Land was not, in and of itself, antisemitic.But, the reality of an armed crusade against infidels, when faced with the presence of the stereotyped "Killers of Christ" in their midst, resulted in an ideology and outburst of violence aimed at the Jewish communities of Worms, Mainz and Cologne (in the German Rhineland) during the First Crusade of 1095.The Scroll of Esther as well as the Apocryphal books of Judith and Tobit have been viewed, in the words of one popular history, as being "the first evidence of those virulent anti-Jewish attitudes that were to become so frequently directed at major Jewish communities"3 in the Diaspora.The debate over historical references to antisemitism intensifies when we turn to the classical Greco-Roman period.