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A Chronology: Anti-Semitism and Persecution of Jews  From Ancient times and Today
shows what has happened over the past 2,000 years. In 135 CE Bar Kochba was defeated by the Romans.  The Romans ‘deleted’ the Jewish state Judah from the map and the Jews became stateless.  They then became ‘outsiders’ in theocratic countries who used a mixture of warfare, missionaries and local force to convert inhabitants to their religion.  Its severity varied depending upon local control and how religious and financial concepts were applied.

Anti-Jewish myths have been repeated causing riots and destruction.  These include ‘the Blood Libel’ and ‘Ritual Murder’.  

Wikipedia states there has been 150 recorded cases and thousands of rumours since then.  For example

Today’ 26% of the world’d population is antisemitic.. The daily consequences are discrimination, the major expense of sophisticated security systems, airport queues, guarding against planes being hijacked or blown up in mid flight, on a bus or tube and someone going into a civilian area and blowing themself up with those around them.  

For more detail see  

Christianity and  Antisemitism


Understanding Islam





Brittanica, Michael Berenbaum, Jun 21, 2019

Anti-Semitism, hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious or racial group. The term anti-Semitism was coined in 1879 by the German agitator Wilhelm Marr to designate the anti-Jewish campaigns under way in central Europe at that time. Although the term now has wide currency, it is a misnomer, since it implies a discrimination against all Semites. Arabs and other peoples are also Semites, and yet they are not the targets of anti-Semitism as it is usually understood. The term is especially inappropriate as a label for the anti-Jewish prejudices, statements, or actions of Arabs or other Semites. Nazi anti-Semitism, which culminated in the Holocaust, had a racist dimension in that it targeted Jews because of their supposed biological characteristics—even those who had themselves converted to other religions or whose parents were converts. This variety of anti-Jewish racism dates only to the emergence of so-called “scientific racism” in the 19th century and is different in nature from earlier anti-Jewish prejudices.


Anti-Semitism has existed to some degree wherever Jews have settled outside Palestine. In the ancient Greco-Roman world, religious differences were the primary basis for anti-Semitism. In the Hellenistic Age, for instance, Jews’ social segregation and their refusal to acknowledge the gods worshiped by other peoples aroused resentment among some pagans, particularly in the 1st century BCE–1st century CE. Unlike polytheistic religions, which acknowledge multiple gods, Judaism is monotheistic—it recognizes only one god. However, pagans saw Jews’ principled refusal to worship emperors as gods as a sign of disloyalty.

Although Jesus of Nazareth and his disciples were practicing Jews and Christianity is rooted in the Jewish teaching of monotheism, Judaism and Christianity became rivals soon after Jesus was crucified by Pontius Pilate, who executed him according to contemporary Roman practice. Religious rivalry initially was theological. It soon also became political.

Historians agree that the break between Judaism and Christianity followed the Roman destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem in the year 70 CE and the subsequent exile of Jews. In the aftermath of this devastating defeat, which was interpreted by Jew and Christian alike as a sign of divine punishment, the Gospels diminished Roman responsibility and expressed Jewish culpability in the death of Jesus both explicitly (Matthew 27:25) and implicitly. Jews were depicted as killers of the Son of God.

Christianity was intent on replacing Judaism by making its own particular message universal. The New Testament was seen as fulfilling the “Old” Testament (the Hebrew Bible); Christians were the new Israel, both in flesh and in spirit. The God of justice had been replaced by the God of love. Thus, some early Church Fathers taught that God had finished with the Jews, whose only purpose in history was to prepare for the arrival of his Son. According to this view, the Jews should have left the scene. Their continued survival seemed to be an act of stubborn defiance. Exile was taken as a sign of divine disfavour incurred by the Jews’ denial that Jesus was the Messiah and by their role in his crucifixion.

As Christianity spread in the first centuries CE, most Jews continued to reject that religion. As a consequence, by the 4th century, Christians tended to regard Jews as an alien people who, because of their repudiation of Christ and his church, were condemned to perpetual migration (a belief best illustrated in the legend of the Wandering Jew). When the Christian church became dominant in the Roman Empire, its leaders inspired many laws by Roman emperors designed to segregate Jews and curtail their freedoms when they appeared to threaten Christian religious domination. As a consequence, Jews were increasingly forced to the margins of European society.Enmity toward the Jews was expressed most acutely in the church’s teaching of contempt. From St. Augustine in the 4th century to Martin Luther in the 16th, some of the most eloquent and persuasive Christian theologians excoriated the Jews as rebels against God and murderers of the Lord. They were described as companions of the Devil and a race of vipers. Church liturgy, particularly the scriptural readings for the Good Friday commemoration of the Crucifixion, contributed to this enmity. Such views were finally renounced by the Roman Catholic Church decades after the Holocaust with the Vatican II declaration of Nostra aetate (Latin: “In Our Era”) in 1965, which transformed Roman Catholic teaching regarding Jews and Judaism.

Despite overwhelming physical evidence and testimony that Jews were targeted and that six million Jewish people were killed during the Holocaust, about a fifth of Americans believe that the Holocaust may not have happened.

Contrary to popular anti-Semitic theories, the American newspaper, television, and movie industries are all dominated by non-Jewish owners, producers, and editors. Jewish members of the media are also not a monolith, and they often disagree with each other politically and personally.

More than 1,300 pogroms are estimated to have been perpetrated in the Ukraine alone following the Russian Revolution.


Religious attitudes were reflected in the economic, social, and political life of medieval Europe. In much of Europe during the Middle Ages, Jews were denied citizenship and its rights, barred from holding posts in government and the military, and excluded from membership in guilds and the professions. To be sure, some European rulers and societies, particularly during the early Middle Ages, afforded Jews a degree of tolerance and acceptance, and it would be an error to conceive of Jews as facing an unchanging and unceasing manifestation of anti-Jewish oppression throughout this period. In 1096, however, knights of the First Crusade unleashed a wave of anti-Semitic violence in France and the Holy Roman Empire, including massacres in Worms, Trier (both now in Germany), and Metz (now in France). Unfounded accusations of ritual murder and of host desecration and the blood libel—allegations of Jews’ sacrifice of Christian children at Passover to obtain blood for unleavened bread—appeared in the 12th century. The most famous example of these accusations, that of the murder of William of Norwich, occurred in England, but these accusations were revived sporadically in eastern and central Europe throughout the medieval and modern periods. In the 1930s the blood libel became part of Nazi propaganda. Another instrument of 12th-century anti-Semitism, the compulsory yellow badge that identified the wearer as a Jew, was also revived by the Nazis. The practice of segregating the Jewish populations of towns and cities into ghettos dates from the Middle Ages and lasted until the 19th and early 20th centuries in much of Europe.

As European commerce grew in the late Middle Ages, some Jews became prominent in trade, banking, and moneylending, and Jews’ economic and cultural successes tended to arouse the envy of the populace. This economic resentment, allied with traditional religious prejudice, prompted the forced expulsion of Jews from several countries and regions, including England (1290), France (14th century), Germany (1350s), Portugal (1496), Provence (1512), and the Papal States (1569). Intensifying persecution in Spain culminated in 1492 in the forced expulsion of that country’s large and long-established Jewish population. Only Jews who had converted to Christianity were allowed to remain, and those suspected of continuing to practice Judaism faced persecution in the Spanish Inquisition. As a result of these mass expulsions, the centres of Jewish life shifted from western Europe and Germany to Turkey and then to Poland and Russia.

But where they were needed, Jews were tolerated. Living as they did at the margins of society, Jews performed economic functions that were vital to trade and commerce. Because premodern Christianity did not permit moneylending for interest and because Jews generally could not own land, Jews played a vital role as moneylenders and traders. Where they were permitted to participate in the larger society, Jews thrived. During the Middle Ages in Spain, before their expulsion in 1492, Jewish philosophers, physicians, poets, and writers were among the leaders of a rich cultural and intellectual life shared with Muslims and Christians. In collaboration with Arab scholars and thinkers in the tolerant society of Muslim Spain, they were instrumental in transmitting the intellectual heritage of the Classical world to medieval Christendom.

The idea that the Jews were evil persisted during the Protestant Reformation. Although Martin Luther expressed positive feelings about Jews, especially earlier in his life, and relied on Jewish scholars for his translation of the Hebrew scriptures into German, he became furious with Jews over their rejection of Jesus. “We are at fault for not slaying them,” he wrote. “Rather we allow them to live freely in our midst despite their murder, cursing, blaspheming, lying and defaming.” Such views were emphasized by the Nazis. They were renounced by the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod in 1983 and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in 1994.


The end of the Middle Ages brought little change in Jews’ position in Europe, and the Catholic Reformation renewed anti-Jewish legislation and reinforced the system of ghettoized segregation in Roman Catholic countries. Jews remained subject to occasional massacres, such as those that occurred during wars between Eastern Orthodox Ukrainians and Roman Catholic Poles in the mid-17th century, which rivaled the worst massacres of Jews in the Middle Ages. Periodic persecutions of Jews in western Europe continued until the late 18th century, when the Enlightenment changed their position, at least in the West. It did not necessarily reduce anti-Semitism. Although the major Enlightenment figures championed the light of reason in debunking what they regarded as the superstitions of Christian belief, their thinking did not lead to any greater acceptance of Jews. Instead of holding Jews responsible for the Crucifixion, Enlightenment thinkers blamed them for the advent of Christianity and for the injustices and cruelty committed by followers of monotheistic religions. Some of the most prominent, including Denis Diderot and Voltaire, pilloried the Jews as a group alienated from society who practiced a primitive and superstitious religion.

Until the French Revolution of 1789, the status of Jews in Europe remained tenuous. Treated as outsiders, they had few civil rights. They were taxed as a community, not as individuals. Exclusion from the larger society reinforced their religious identity and strengthened their communal institutions, which served judicial and quasi-governmental functions. In the French Revolution, with its promise of liberty, equality, and fraternity, the rights of citizenship were extended to Jews. Still, respect and rights were conditioned on the willingness of Jews to abandon their age-old customs and their communal identity. This was the meaning of the slogan “To the Jews as individuals everything, to the Jews as a people, nothing.”

France was the vanguard of the movement that gave civic and legal equality to the Jews. Napoleon’s conquest of the German states led to emancipation in some of them, but after his defeat, Jews faced a series of legal setbacks. Full emancipation of Jews throughout Germany came only with the unification of Germany in 1871.

Even in France itself, emancipation did not end anti-Semitism but merely transformed it. With the emergence of nationalism as the defining factor in European society in the 19th century, anti-Semitism acquired a racial rather than a religious character as ethnically homogeneous peoples decried the existence in their midst of “alien” Jewish elements. Pseudoscientific theories asserting that the Jews were inferior to the so-called Aryan “race” gave anti-Semitism new respectability and popular support, especially in countries where Jews could be made scapegoats for existing social or political grievances. In this new climate, anti-Semitism became a powerful political tool, as politicians were quick to discover. In the 1890s Karl Lueger won the mayoralty of Vienna—a city of diverse culture and many Jews—with his anti-Semitic campaigns. In both Germany and Austria in the late 19th century, anti-Semitism became an organized movement with its own political parties.

The Russian Empire had restricted Jews to western regions known as the Pale of Settlement ever since the partitions of Poland (in the 1790s) had brought large numbers of Jews under Russian rule. The empire’s May Laws of 1882, enacted after widespread anti-Jewish riots, or pogroms, had broken out in the Russian Pale the previous year, stripped Jews of their rural landholdings and restricted them to the towns and cities within the Pale. These measures, which crippled many Jews’ activities as rural traders and artisans, spurred the immigration of more than a million Jews to the United States over the next four decades. Another result was a somewhat smaller immigration of Jews to the countries of western Europe, where anti-Semitic agitators exploited xenophobic sentiments against them.

In France the Dreyfus Affair became a focal point for anti-Semitism. In 1894 Alfred Dreyfus, a highly placed Jewish army officer, was falsely accused of treason. His final vindication (in 1906) was hampered by the French military and the bitterly anti-Semitic French press, and the wrenching controversy over the case left lasting scars on French political life.

During the first decade of the 20th century, there was a period of moderate decline in anti-Semitic tensions—except in Russia, where serious pogroms occurred in Kishinyov (now Chişinău, Moldova) in 1903 and 1905 and where the Russian secret police published a forgery entitled Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, which, as the supposed blueprint for a Jewish plot to achieve world domination, furnished propaganda for subsequent generations of anti-Semitic agitators.

The widespread economic and political dislocations caused by World War I notably intensified anti-Semitism in Europe after the war. In addition, the many Jewish Bolshevik leaders in the Russian Revolution of November 1917 gave anti-Semites a new focus for their prejudices in the threat of “Jewish Bolshevism.” In postwar Germany, anti-Semites joined forces with revanchist nationalists in attempting to blame the Jews for that country’s defeat. In eastern Europe, anti-Semitism became widespread in Poland, Hungary, and Romania in the interwar period.


The storm of anti-Semitic violence loosed by Nazi Germany under the leadership of Adolf Hitler from 1933 to 1945 not only reached a terrifying intensity in Germany itself but also inspired anti-Jewish movements elsewhere. Anti-Semitism was promulgated in France by the Cagoulards (French: “Hooded Men”), in Hungary by the Arrow Cross, in England by the British Union of Fascists, and in the United States by the German-American Bund and the Silver Shirts.

In Nazi Germany, anti-Semitism reached a racial dimension never before experienced. Christianity had sought the conversion of the Jews, and political leaders from Spain to England had sought their expulsion because Jews were practitioners of Judaism, but the Nazis—who regarded Jews not only as members of a subhuman race but as a dangerous cancer that would destroy the German people—sought the “final solution to the Jewish question,” the murder of all Jews— men, women, and children—and their eradication from the human race. In Nazi ideology that perceived Jewishness to be biological, the elimination of the Jews was essential to the purification and even the salvation of the German people.

anti-Semitic grafitto

Nazi storm troopers guarding a Jewish-owned business in Vienna shortly after the Anschluss.
The graffito on the store window reads, “You Jewish pig, may your hands rot off!”

© Marschalek/United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

A novelty of the Nazi brand of anti-Semitism was that it crossed class barriers. The idea of Aryan racial superiority appealed both to the masses and to economic elites. In Germany anti-Semitism became official government policy—taught in the schools, elaborated in “scientific” journals and research institutes, and promoted by a huge, highly effective organization for international propaganda. In 1941 the liquidation of European Jewry became official party policy. During World War II an estimated 5.7 million Jews were exterminated by mobile killing units; in such death camps as Auschwitz, Chelmno, Belzec, Majdanek, and Treblinka; by being worked to death; or through starvation.


For a period of time after the Nazi defeat in 1945, anti-Semitism lost favour in western Europe and the United States. Even those who were anti-Semitic were hesitant, if not embarrassed, to express it. American Jews became an integrated part of culture and society in the postwar United States. Barriers to complete Jewish participation in business and politics fell, and Jews found few obstacles in their way as they sought to participate in American life. Anti-Semitism became a fringe phenomenon with occasional lethal manifestations in hate crimes. But even if they were fewer in number, less widespread, and less tolerated by American society, virulent anti-Semitic acts still occasionally occurred.

Moreover, anti-Semitism persisted in many other countries. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, whose troops had liberated Auschwitz, engaged in a purge of Jews that was halted only by his death in 1953. In the Soviet Union, opposition to the State of Israel after the Six-Day War (1967) and to the attempts of Soviet Jews to emigrate was linked to historic Russian anti-Semitism. There also were anti-Jewish purges in Poland in 1956–57 and 1968.

Under the leadership of Pope (later Saint) John XXIII and the Second Vatican Council, the Roman Catholic Church accepted the legitimacy of Judaism as a continuing religion and exonerated Jews for the murder of Jesus Christ by universalizing responsibility for his Crucifixion. Nostra aetate, arguably the most important document in Christian-Jewish relations in the 20th century also changed the Good Friday liturgy to make it less inflammatory with regard to Jews and altered the Roman Catholic catechism. In 2007, however, Pope Benedict XVI approved wider use of the old Latin mass, which included the Good Friday liturgy and a prayer that most Jews found offensive. Although the prayer was revised in 2008 to address Jewish concerns, some argued that it was still prejudicial.

A centrepiece of the papacy of Pope (later Saint) John Paul II, who witnessed the Holocaust directly as a young man in Poland, was the fight against anti-Semitism and his embrace of Jews. The pope paid a historic visit to a synagogue in Rome in 1986, and under his leadership the Vatican established diplomatic relations with the State of Israel in 1993, shortly after the conclusion of the Oslo peace agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. In March 2000 the pontiff visited Israel. At Yad Vashem, Israel’s memorial to the Holocaust, he described anti-Semitism as anti-Christian in nature and apologized for instances of anti-Semitism by Christians. At the Western Wall, Judaism’s most-sacred site, he inserted a prayer note of apology for past Christian misdeeds into the stones:

we are deeply saddened

by the behaviour of those

who in the course of history

have caused these children of yours to suffer,

and asking your forgiveness

we wish to commit ourselves

to genuine brotherhood

with the people of the Covenant.

In 1998 the Vatican had published a document titled “We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah,” which called upon the faithful to reflect upon the lessons of the Shoah (the Holocaust). In presenting that document, Edward Idris Cardinal Cassidy, president of the Holy See’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, said, “Whenever there has been guilt on the part of the Christians, this burden should be a call to repentance.”

Although it might have seemed likely that anti-Semitism would have been dealt a decisive blow by the collapse of the communist bloc in the early 1990s and by the transformation of the Roman Catholic Church’s and other Christian denominations’ teaching regarding Jews, that was not the case. In the 1980s and 1990s, international controversy over the legacies of Nazism in Austria and Switzerland triggered increased anti-Semitism in those countries. Foreign concern over Kurt Waldheim’s Nazi past provoked angry anti-Semitic reactions among some of his supporters during his successful 1986 campaign for the Austrian presidency. During the late 1990s, when it was revealed that Swiss banks had laundered Nazi gold (much of it likely confiscated from Jews) during World War II and had failed to return money to Jewish depositors after the war, international criticism and demands for restitution provoked increased anti-Semitism in Switzerland. In postcommunist Russia, political opposition to that country’s ruling regime and to the disproportionate representation of Jews among the powerful oligarchy often had anti-Semitic overtones.

Moreover, the founders of Zionism and the leaders of the State of Israel had presumed that the normalization of the Jewish condition—that is, the achievement of statehood and with it a flag and an army—would seriously diminish anti-Semitism; however, from the Yom Kippur War of 1973 onward, the existence of the Israeli state seemed to have the opposite effect, fueling rather than quenching the long-standing fires of anti-Semitic hatred. Thus, in the first decades of the new millennium, there seemed to be a marked rise in anti-Semitism.

In Europe the presence of a large Muslim immigrant population that was deeply concerned with events in the Middle East was believed to have intensified anti-Semitism. Often the targets of anti-Semitic actions were the most vulnerable of Jews living in immigrant neighbourhoods. It was argued that the large number of Muslim immigrants and the absence of hate-crime legislation led some European politicians to ignore or to downplay the significance of anti-Semitic incidents. Furthermore, anti-Semitic myths that in the post-Holocaust era had been discarded by western Europe, such as the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion and the blood libel, made their way into the Middle East, where they flourished with support from religious authorities, the media, and some governments. Although some observers were quick to argue that Islam was not by its nature anti-Semitic, currents of fiercely anti-Israel and openly anti-Semitic beliefs were abroad in the Muslim world.

For many centuries, Islamic societies had tolerated Jews as people of the book and dhimmīs, subordinate yet protected people who were required to pay special taxes, wear identifying clothing, and live in specified areas. Jews were thus treated much as other nonbelievers were in Muslim societies. But the immigration of large numbers of Jews to Palestine in the 20th century and the creation of the State of Israel (1948) in a formerly Arab region aroused new currents of hostility within the Arab world. Because the Arabs are Semites, their hostility to the State of Israel was primarily political (or anti-Zionist) and religious rather than racial. Whatever the motivation, however, the result was the adoption of many anti-Jewish measures throughout the Muslim countries of the Middle East. In response, most of the Jewish residents of those countries immigrated to Israel in the decades after its founding.

The vehemence of the anger and attacks against Israel, however, often appeared not to differentiate between Israelis and Jews. Armed attacks were aimed at civilian and military targets alike. Some of those who were alarmed by increasing anti-Semitism in the 21st century pointed to examples of Muslim leaders’ employing anti-Semitic tropes when addressing their own populations. At the same time, the Internet linked disparate group of anti-Semites and provided an online community for previously isolated factions.

Other factors loomed large in the consideration of what was characterized in the Western media as the “new anti-Semitism.” Notably, in many countries a significant part of the political left had become highly critical of Israel, a development that was disquieting to Jews who were once comfortable on the left and felt that their erstwhile allies had turned against Israel or Israeli policies. Some critics of those policies compared them to those of Nazi Germany, and in political cartoons Jewish figures were depicted in a manner not dissimilar to Nazi propaganda. At the same time, many conservative Christians (including many evangelicals) voiced ardent support for Israel. However, the nationalistic, xenophobic far right—which often embodied an open or thinly veiled anti-Semitism while capitalizing on economic dislocation and discontentment with immigration—gained considerable political power in countries such as Greece and Hungary.

Scholars and students of anti-Semitism struggled to distinguish between legitimate criticism of policies of the Israeli government and anti-Semitism. In 2004 then Israeli cabinet minister and one-time Soviet human rights activist Natan Sharansky suggested three markers to delineate the boundary between legitimate criticism and anti-Semitism. Under his 3D scheme, when one of these elements was detectable, the line had been crossed: double standards (judging Israel by one standard and all other countries by another), delegitimization (the conclusion that Israel had no right to exist), or demonization (regarding the Israeli state not merely as wrongheaded or mistaken but as a demonic force in the contemporary world).

Wikipedia shows illustrations of how antisemitism is classified.

The Roman Catholic historian Edward Flannery distinguished four varieties of antisemitism

Louis Harap separates "economic antisemitism" and merges "political" and "nationalistic" antisemitism into "ideological antisemitism". Harap also adds a category of "social antisemitism".


Anti-Semitism, sometimes called history’s oldest hatred, is hostility or prejudice against Jewish people. The Nazi Holocaust is history’s most extreme example of anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism did not begin with Adolf Hitler: Anti-Semitic attitudes date back to ancient times. In much of Europe throughout the Middle Ages, Jewish people were denied citizenship and forced to live in ghettos. Anti-Jewish riots called pogroms swept the Russian Empire during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and anti-Semitic incidents have increased in parts of Europe, the Middle East and North America in the last several years.

The term anti-Semitism was first popularized by German journalist Wilhelm Marr in 1879 to describe hatred or hostility toward Jews. The history of anti-Semitism, however, goes back much further.

Hostility against Jews may date back nearly as far as Jewish history. In the ancient empires of Babylonia, Greece, and Rome, Jews—who originated in the ancient kingdom of Judea—were often criticized and persecuted for their efforts to remain a separate cultural group rather than taking on the religious and social customs of their conquerors.

With the rise of Christianity, anti-Semitism spread throughout much of Europe. Early Christians vilified Judaism in a bid to gain more converts. They accused Jews of outlandish acts such as “blood libel”—the kidnapping and murder of Christian children to use their blood to make Passover bread.

These religious attitudes were reflected in anti-Jewish economic, social and political policies that pervaded into the European Middle Ages.


Many of the anti-Semitic practices seen in Nazi Germany actually have their roots in medieval Europe. In many European cities, Jews were confined to certain neighborhoods called ghettos.

Some countries also required Jews to distinguish themselves from Christians with a yellow badge worn on their garment, or a special hat called a Judenhut.

Some Jews became prominent in banking and moneylending, because early Christianity didn’t permit moneylending for interest. This resulted in economic resentment which forced the expulsion of Jews from several European countries including France, Germany, Portugal and Spain during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.

Jews were denied citizenship and civil liberties, including religious freedom throughout much of medieval Europe.

Poland was one notable exception. In 1264, Polish prince Bolesław the Pious issued a decree allowing Jews personal, political and religious freedoms. Jews did not receive citizenship and gain rights throughout much of western Europe, however, until the late 1700s and 1800s.


Throughout the 1800s and early 1900s, Jews throughout the Russian Empire and other European countries faced violent, anti-Jewish riots called pogroms.

Pogroms were typically perpetrated by a local non-Jewish population against their Jewish neighbors, though pogroms were often encouraged and aided by the government and police forces.

In the wake of the Russian Revolution, an estimated 1,326 pogroms are thought to have taken place across Ukraine alone, leaving nearly half a million Ukrainian Jews homeless and killing an estimated 30,000 to 70,000 people between 1918 and 1921. Pogroms in Belarus and Poland also killed tens of thousands of people.


Adolf Hitler and the Nazis rose to power in Germany in the 1930s on a platform of German nationalism, racial purity and global expansion.

Hitler, like many anti-Semites in Germany, blamed the Jews for the country’s defeat in World War I, and for the social and economic upheaval that followed.

Early on, the Nazis undertook an “Aryanization” of Germany, in which Jews were dismissed from civil service, Jewish-owned businesses were liquidated and Jewish professionals, including doctors and lawyers, were stripped of their clients.

The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 introduced many anti-Semitic policies and outlined the definition of who was Jewish based on ancestry. Nazi propagandists had swayed the German public into believing that Jews were a separate race. According to the Nuremberg Laws, Jews were no longer German citizens and had no right to vote.


Jews became routine targets of stigmatization and persecution as a result. This culminated in a state-sponsored campaign of street violence known as Kristallnacht (the “night of broken glass”), which took place between November 9-10, 1938. In two days, more than 250 synagogues across the Reich were burned and 7,000 Jewish businesses looted.

The morning after Kristallnacht, 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps.


Prior to Kristallnacht, Nazi policies toward Jews had been antagonistic but primarily non-violent. After the incident, conditions for Jews in Nazi Germany became progressively worse as Hitler and the Nazis began to implement their plan to exterminate the Jewish people, which they referred to as the “Final Solution” to the “Jewish problem.”

Between 1939 and 1945, the Nazis would use mass killing centers called concentration camps to carry out the systematic murder of roughly 6 million European Jews in what would become known as the Holocaust.


Anti-Semitism in the Middle East has existed for millennia, but increased greatly since World War II. Following the establishment of a Jewish State in Israel in 1948, the Israelis fought for control of Palestine against a coalition of Arab states.

At the end of the War, Israel kept much of Palestine, resulting in the forced exodus of roughly 700,000 Muslim Palestinians from their homes. The conflict created resentment over Jewish nationalism in Muslim-majority nations.

As a result, anti-Semitic activities grew in many Arab nations, causing most Jews to leave over the next few decades. Today, many North African and Middle Eastern nations have little Jewish population remaining.


Anti-Semitic hate crimes have spiked in Europe in recent years, especially in France, which has the world’s third largest Jewish population. In 2012, three children and a teacher were shot by a radical Islamist gunman in Toulouse, France.

In the wake of the mass shooting at the satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris in 2015, four Jewish hostages were murdered at a Kosher supermarket by an Islamic terrorist.

The U.K. logged a record 1,382 hate crimes against Jews in 2017, an increase of 34 percent from previous years. In the United States, anti-Semitic incidents rose 57 percent in 2017—the largest single-year increase ever recorded by the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish civil rights advocacy organization.


 Book Burning  *  Jews Enslaved  *  Stake Burnings * Burning Alive

     Forced Conversion  *  Holocaust  *  Pogrom  *  Book Confiscation

Synagogue Burning  *  Land Confiscation *  Mass Arrests   *   Boycotts  

Property Confiscation  *  Judaism Outlawed  *  Mob Attacks  *   Public Torture

Expulsion  *  Forced Conversion  *  Jews Burned Alive  *  Forced to Wear Badges


How these consequences were built into Catholic culture is described in
 the following article published in 1825
(from ‘The Popes Against the Jews’ pp 63-5 by David Kertzer)

Among the beneficiaries of the new Pope’s policies (Pope Leo XII 1823-29) was the Holy office of the Inquisition (Editor’s note: This refers to the Roman Inquisition, who were responsible to the Pope, and only abolished after Italian Unification in 1861 with the abolition of the Papal States).  which Leo XII turned to for help in his efforts.6  In the first year of his papacy, he had the Holy Office investigate the extent to which the old restrictions on the Jews in the Papal States were still being enforced……One of the first signs of this new ideological offensive was publication, in 1825, of a long treatise on the Jews in Rome’s Ecclesu cal Journal, which was subsequently published as a separate book and went through four printings in 1825-26. Written by the procura general of the Dominican order, Father Ferdinand Jabalot, it had been directly inspired by Della Genga when he was still cardinal vicar of Rome

The booklet resurrected many of the traditional Catholic accusations against the Jews: Jews were guilty of deicide, and were crazed with lust for lucre and the desire to bring about the ruin of Christians. So intense was their hatred of Christianity that no evil was too great for them: "They wash their hands in Christian blood, set fire to churches ' trample the consecrated Host... kidnap children and drain them of their blood, violate virgins," and on and on.8

The exiguous number of Jews in Italy—they constituted less than 0.2 percent of the population—did not deter Jabalot from attributing to them a huge—and pernicious—influence. "In many parts of our land the Jews have become the richest property owners. In some cities money can not be had, except through them, and so great has the number of mortgages they hold over Christians become, that it is only barely that the Christians have not yet become their vassals." As for the Jews’ character, the portrait could scarcely be worse: "Everywhere one hears of decep­tions and frauds they have committed.” Many of them are "pickpockets, thieves, swindlers, assassins," and their houses “are the general deposits for all kinds of stolen goods.” The Jews are ever busy "cheating, and hoodwinking Christians," which was no surprise, since the Talmud—the Jews' sacred compilation of rabbinical commentary on the laws that gov­erned both their religious beliefs and their social practices—called on Jews to cheat Christians at every opportunity. Christians unfortunate enough to fall into their clutches, Jabalot warned, are likely to emerge "not only without their shirt, but without their skin.”9

Along with the traditional Catholic charges, Jabalot’s text provides some of the germs of what would become the major focus of later-nineteenth-century Catholic characterizations of the Jews. Wherever they live, wrote the Dominican, the Jews “form a state within a state.” Unless Christians act quickly, the Jews "will finally succeed in reducing the Christians to be their slaves. Woe to us if we close our eyes! The Jews’ domination will be hard, inflexible, tyrannical. .. .”ro The year was 1825. Jews had not yet been given equal rights in any part of Italy, nor in most of the rest of Europe.  The Pope was pleased with Jabalot’s work, and not long after its publi­cation appointed him head of the Dominican order worldwide.11

The Holy Office’s request in 1823 that the bishops and inquisitors report on the situation of the Jews in their jurisdiction unleashed an out­pouring of complaints about the Jews. Everywhere, the bishops and inquisitors wrote, the Jews were flouting the laws of the land, trying to hold on to freedoms they had won during the French occupation.

The town of Pesaro, not far from Ancona, was typical. The inquisi­tor there recounted that the previous fall, during the local harvest festi­val, Jews had danced "promiscuously” with Christians, bringing to the inquisitor’s mind "a particular proclivity of the Jews for seducing Chris­tian women.” The gates of Pesaro’s ghetto were no longer closed at night, and conversations between Christians and Jews had become frequent; indeed, Jews thought nothing of inviting Christians to their weddings and circumcisions. Some Jewish families now lived outside the ghetto, he reported. Others, while living within the ghetto’s walls, employed female Christian servants, and these women had stopped

Zionism and Israel - Encyclopedic Dictionary - Anti-Semitism

Jews poison the wells - This libel was supposed to be the origin of plagues and particularly the black plague.

Jews desecrate the host - Spoilage of communion wafers, which turned red from a fungus, was attributed to Jews who had dipped the wafers in the blood of slaughtered Christians.

Jews kill Christians in secret - For example, explaining the reasons for expulsion of the Jews from France, the French monk Rigord (d. 1205) related that [Philip Augustus had often heard] that the Jews who dwelt in Paris were wont every year on Easter day, or during the sacred week of our Lord's Passion, to go down secretly into underground vaults and kill a Christian as a sort of sacrifice in contempt of the Christian religion. For a long time they had persisted in this wickedness, inspired by the devil, and in Philip's father's time, many of them had been seized and burned with fire.

The blood libel - A variation of the secret killings theme, the blood libel insists that Jews kill pre-pubertal Christian boys in order to prepare the unleavened bread (Matzoth) of the Passover. It was possibly born in 1144 in England, where a Christian mob accused Jews of murdering the boy William of Norwich during Easter. This story was related in The Life and Miracles of St William of Norwich, by Thomas of Monmouth, a Norwich monk. This story, did not claim that the Jews used the blood to bake unleavened bread, but rather claimed the boy had been crucified. Nonetheless, it is often considered to be the first "blood libel." Others soon followed, including Simon of Trent and Andreas of Rinn. In one variant, the child was not killed but rather bled to death.

In Spain in 1490 or 1491 Spanish inquisitors forced Jews to confess that they had killed a Christian child, one Christopher of Toledo or Christopher of La Guardia, later made a saint of the Roman Catholic church and venerated as Santo Nino de La Guardia. No missing child was ever reported that would correspond to this child and corroborate the tale. The tale was elicited from the victims by the holy inquisitors under torture, by suggestion (for example, "Confess that on this date you did do X") it is likely that the blood libel was well known by this time.

The Talmud - The Talmud supposedly contained conspiratorial formulae, imprecations against Jesus and Mary and injunctions to cheat and discriminate against non-Jews. Therefore it would often banned or censored.

Physiognomy - In addition to characteristic large noses and stooped postures, Jews in the Middle Ages may be shown with tails and horns, similar to the devil.


Following is a partial list of Papal Bulls and other relevant documents regarding the Jewish question, illustrating both the partial protection offered the Jews at different times
and the institutionalization of Anti-Semitism.

Where protection was offered, it was often done in a condescending manner, asserting the Christian duty to have mercy on the Jews even though they were collectively guilty of killing Jesus (or in modern times, "forgiving" the Jews for killing Jesus) or was simply rescinding previous decrees. Catholic persecution of Jews - and protection - began in the Middle Ages, but the persecution continued and was intensified well after the Middle Ages, notably in the Inquisition and in the formation and regulation of ghettos, which began in the 1500s, well after the end of the Middle Ages. The Papal bulls and encyclicals that advanced and supported anti-Semitism included the following sorts of decrees:

 Special badges or dress for Jews

 Special taxes for Jews

 Forcing Jews to remit debt of Christians

 Banning, confiscating or burning Jewish law books and other writings.

 Encouraging or forcing conversion of Jews 

 Expelling Jews from Papal territories or forcing Jews to live in ghettos.

 Inquisition for backsliding converted Jews,

Many believed and hoped that Catholic persecution of Jews had ended in the period of Pope John XXIII. Recent Bulls and Encyclicals of Pope Benedict XVI that reinstate anti-Semitic prayers and Catholic societies do not augur well.

Pius V was perhaps the worst of the anti-Semitic Popes. He was nonetheless canonized and the canonization was not rescinded.

In addition to the actual regulations depriving Jews of livelihood or home or forcing conversions, the Bulls often were prefaced with language of racist incitement that indicated the attitude of the Catholic Church to Jews.

The Bull Cum Nimis Absurdum ("How completely absurd") of Paul IV, 1555, which created the ghetto of Rome, began with these words:

As it is completely absurd and improper in the utmost that the Jews, who through their own fault were condemned by God to eternal servitude,

The Bull Hebraeorum gens ("The Jewish Race") 1569, of Saint Pius V, which expelled Jews from some of the Papal states, began with these words:

 "The Jewish people fell from the heights because of their faithlessness and condemned their Redeemer to a shameful death. Their godlessness has assumed such forms that, for the salvation of our own people, it becomes necessary to prevent their disease. Besides usury, through which Jews everywhere have sucked dry the property of impoverished Christians, they are accomplices of thieves and robbers; and the most damaging aspect of the matter is that they allure the unsuspecting through magical incantations, superstition, and witchcraft to the Synagogue of Satan and boast of being able to predict the future. We have carefully investigated how this revolting sect abuses the name of Christ and how harmful they are to those whose life is threatened by their deceit. On account of these and other serious matters, and because of the gravity of their crimes which increase day to day more and more, We order that, within 90 days, all Jews in our entire earthly realm of justice -- in all towns, districts, and places -- must depart these regions."

The above is quoted in modern anti-Semitic works, including Catholic publications and the Stormfront Website.

To the modern reader, the Papal bulls seem to present a conflicting picture. Sometimes privileges were revoked and sometimes extended. Often the same Pope would order protection of the Jews from bodily harm but enact discriminatory laws of various kinds. Thus, the church would encourage hatred of Jews, but then it would discourage violence against Jews. For Catholic theology there was no contradiction. The role of the Jews was to serve as an example of the wages of sin to Christians. Therefore, the Jews must be tortured and ridiculed, but never killed. 

The documents listed below are Papal Bulls unless otherwise noted. The Bulls get their titles from the initial words, generally the first three words, of the text of the document, which are known as the incipit. Note that there may be several Bulls with the same title by different Popes, and on entirely different subjects.


"Jus Gasaga" -
a corruption of "Jus Chazaka" - the law of the right of tenancy of Jews, usually in ghetto homes.

Catechumen -
a person being taught the Catechism, a new convert. The Bulls called for a special tax on Jews, to be used to support the catechumens. The house of Catechumens in Rome was used as an instrument for forced conversion, and its victims included the chief Rabbi of Rome.

Neophyte -
a new convert. 

The sources generally do not distinguish between Bulls, encyclicals and other documents of more limited circulation.  


Gregory I Sicut  judaeis non 598
A letter, supplemented by others, provided limited protection of Jews.

"Just as no freedom may be granted to the Jews in their communities to exceed the limits legally set for them, so they should in no way suffer through a violation of their rights"

The letter contained the phrase "Sicut Judaeis" - and thus to the Jews. Gregory forbade Jews to have Christian slaves, and encouraged conversions. The measures of protection along with limitations and persecution, and even the wording of Sicut iudaeis were repeated in subsequent bulls and letters of various popes. It became the model for treatment of Jews.  

Calixtus II Sicut Judaeis c. 1120  
Probably the first formal version of Sicut Judaies. Reiterates protection of the Jews in the wake of the persecutions of the first Crusade.  

Innocent III Post miserabile Aug. 1198
Addressed to prelates of Europe and dealt with the need for another Crusade. Suspended payment of interest and principal to Jewish lenders for crusaders. Since many did not return, the debt was effectively cancelled.

Innocent III Etsi non displiceat 1205
Addressed to King of France. Accuses Jews of usury, blasphemy, arrogance, employing Christian slaves and murder. Urges king to put an end to the "evils."  

Honorius III Sicut  judaeis non debet esse licentia Nov. 7, 1217
Forbids forced baptism of Jews or molestation.   

Honorius III In general consilio 1218
To archbishop of Toledo, requires enforcement of 4th Lateran Council decisions that Jews must wear special clothing and pay tithes to the local churches.   

Honorius III Ad nostram Noveritis audientiam April 29, 1221
Jews are obliged to carry a distinctive badge and forbidden to hold public office.

Gregory IX Sufficere debuerat perfidioe judoerum perfidia March 5, 1233
Jews forbidden to employ Christian servants.

Gregory IX Etsi Judeorum 1233
To prelates of France, urged prevention of physical violence against Jews.  

Gregory IX Si vera sunt 1239
To kings and prelates of Spain and France - orders seizure of Talmud and other Jewish books and examination for blasphemy against Jesus. These books were regularly burned or censored.   
Innocent IV Impia judoerum perfidia May 9, 1244 French King ordered to burn the Talmud. Jews forbidden to employ Christian nurses.

Innocent IV Lachrymabilem Judaeorum 1247
To German prelates; orders an end to persecution of Jews and declares that the blood libel accusation is false.  

Clement IV Turbato corde July 26, 1267
Christians forbidden to embrace Judaism

Gregory X Turbato corde March 1, 1274
(Identical to previous.)

Nicolas III Vineam Sorec Aug. 4, 1278
Addressed to orders of friars - Preaching to the Jews is encouraged and friars are to be specially trained for this purpose. Also known as Vineam Soreth.   

Nicolas IV Turbato corde  Sept. 5, 1288
Christians who embrace Judaism  

John XXII Ex Parte Vestra Aug. 12, 1317
Relapse of converts.

John XXII  Cum sit absurdum June 19, 1320
Converted Jews need not be despoiled.

Clement VI Quamvis Perfidiam September 26, 1348
Tries in vain to dispel the superstition that Jews are responsible for Black Death by poisoning the wells

Urban V Sicuti judaeis non debet June 7, 1365
Forbidden to molest Jews or to force them to baptism.

Benedict XIII
(Anti-Pope) Etsi doctoribus gentium 1415
A collection of anti-Jewish church legislation that served as an inspiration to other Popes.  

Martin V Sedes apostolica June 3, 1425
Jews obliged to wear distinctive badge.

Eugene IV Dudum ad nostram audientiam Aug. 4, 1442
Forbade Jews to live with Christians or fill public functions, etc.

Calixtus III Si ad reprimendos May 28, 1456
Confirmed the preceding Bull of Eugene IV forbidding Jews to live with Christians.  

Sixtus IV Numquam dubitavimus 1482
To Ferdinand of Aragon, to appoint inquisitors to extirpate heresy and investigate backsliding of Jewish converts to Christianity. The Spanish Inquisition and expulsion of the Jews from Spain followed.

Paul III Cupientes judaeos March 21, 1542
Privileges in favor of neophytes (
a new convert to a religion).

Paul III Illius, qui pro dominici Feb. 19, 1543
Establishment of a monastery for catechumens and neophytes.

Jules III Pastoris aeternivices  Aug. 31, 1554
Tax in favor of neophytes

Paul IV Cum Nimis Absurdum July 14, 1555
Jews forbidden to live in common with Christians, to practice any industry, etc.

Paul IV Dudum postquam March 23, 1556  
Tax in favor of neophytes

Pius IV Cum inter ceteras Jan. 26, 1562
Bull relative to monastery of catechumens.

Pius IV Dudum e felicis recordationis  Feb. 27, 1562
Bull confirming that of Paul IV.

Pius V Romanus Pontifex April 19, 1566
Bull confirming that of Paul IV

Pius V Sacrosanctae catholicae ecclesiae Nov. 29, 1566
Bull relating to convent of neophytes

Pius V Cum nos nuper Jan. 19, 1567
Jews are forbidden to own real estate

Pius V Hebraeorum gens Feb. 26, 1569
Accuses Jews of many evils including magic. Orders expulsion of Jews from Church States except Rome and Ancona.

Gregory XIII Vices ejus nos Sept. 1, 1577
Obligatory preaching of Christian sermons to Jews;. Creation of college of neophytes.

Gregory XIII Antiqua judaeorum improbitas July 1, 1581 Against blasphemers.

Gregory XIII Sancta Mater Ecclesiae Sept. 1, 1584
Obligatory preaching of Christian sermons to Jews;100 men and 50 women must be sent every Saturday to listen to conversion sermons delivered in a church near the ghetto.

Sixtus V Christiana pietas Oct. 22, 1586
Privileges granted to Jews by relief of former edicts. These were reversed. by Clement VIII.   

Clement VIII Cum saepe accidere  Feb. 28, 1592
Jews of Avignon forbidden to sell new goods.

Clement VIII Caeca et obdurata Feb. 25, 1593

Confirmation of the Bull of Paul III. Jews forbidden to dwell outside of Rome, Ancona, and Avignon.

Clement VIII Cum Haebraeorum malitia Feb. 28, 1593

It is forbidden to read the Talmud.

Paul V Apostolicae servitutis July 31, 1610

Regulars (of monks) obliged to learn Hebrew.

Paul V Exponi nobis nuper fecistis Aug. 7, 1610

Bull concerning the dowries of Jewish women.

Urban VIII Sedes apostolica April 22, 1625

Concerning heretical Portuguese Jews.  

Urban VIII Injuncti nobis Aug. 20, 1626

Privileges granted to the monastery of catechumens

Urban VIII Cum sicut acceptimus Oct. 18, 1635

Obligation to feed poor Jews imprisoned for debt.

Urban VIII Cum allias piae March 17, 1636

Synagogues of the Duchies of Ferarri and Urban, to pay a tax of 10 ecus.

Alexander VII Verbi aeterni Dec. 1, 1657
Bull relating to rights of neophytes regarding jus gasaga.(rights of tenancy in the ghetto)  

Alexander VII Ad ea per quae Nov. 15, 1658
Jus Gasaga (rights of tenancy in the ghetto)  

Alexander VII Ad apostolicae dignitatis May 23, 1662

Concordat between the college of neophytes and German college.

Alexander VII Illius, qui illuminat March 6, 1663

Privileges favoring the fraternities of neophytes.

Alexander VIII Animarum saluti March 30, 1690

Bull relating to the neophytes in Indies.

Innocent XII Ad radicitus submovendum Aug. 31, 1692

Abolition of special jurisdiction

Clement XI Propagandae per unicersum  March 11, 1704

Confirmation and extension of Paul III regarding neophytes.

Clement XI Essendoci stato rappresentato Jan. 21, 1705  

Powers of Vicar of Rome in jurisdiction of catechumens and neophytes

Clement XI Salvatoris nostri vices Jan. 2, 1712

Transfer to "Pii Operai" the work of the catechumens.

Innocent XIII Ex injuncto nobis Jan. 18, 1724

Prohibits sale of new objects.

Benedict XIII Nuper, pro parte dilectorum Jan. 8, 1726

Establishment of dowries for young girl neophytes.

Benedict XIII Emanavit nuper  Feb. 14, 1727

Necessary conditions for imposing baptism on a Jew.

Benedict XIII Alias emanarunt March 21, 1729

Forbidding the sale of new goods.

Benedict XIV Postremomens Feb. 28, 1747

The baptism of Jews

Benedict XIV Apostolici Ministerii munus  Sept. 16, 1747

Right of repudiation of neophytes.

Benedict XIV Singulari Nobis consoldtioni Feb. 9, 1749

Marriages between Jews and Christians.

Benedict XIV Elapso proxime Anno  Feb. 20, 1751

Concerning Jewish heretics.

Benedict XIV Probe te meminisse Dec. 15, 1751

Baptism of Jewish children

Benedict XIV  Beatus Andreas Feb. 22, 1755
Martyrdom of a child by Jews. A blood libel concerning the murder of the child Andreas Oxner or Anderl von Rinn (Andreas of Rinn ) by Jews that supposedly took place in 1462 in Rinn near Innsbruck. Confirms the blood libel as factual. The Bull reviews the cases of ritual murder by Jews, which it explicitly upholds as a fact, and establishes the beatification but not the canonization of Andreas of Rinn and Simon of Trent  







Antisemitism -

Antisemitism -


and the

Medieval Superstitions
about the Jews

PartIal List
Papal Bulls