When people hear of anti-Semitism, they think of the horrific events that happened in Germany when Hitler was in control. But anti-Semitism actually existed in Europe long before those events took place. This essay will discuss why the Jewish people have been discriminated against, what has happened as a result of that discrimination and what action has been taken to prevent it.
Anti-Semitism started because of religion. According to the New Testament of the Bible, Jesus was crucified because of the Jews. In the middle ages, religion had a lot of power and influence over the people. In the Bible, Judas Iscariot the Jew betrayed Jesus for money. This made many people believe that Jews were greedy, untrustworthy people.
Throughout the middle ages, there were rumours of Jews kidnapping Christian children when it was the Passover and sprinkling their blood over bread. When the bubonic plague spread across Europe in the fourteenth century, many accused the Jews of poisoning the wells.
The writings of the Jews were often confiscated and burnt. During various parts of the middle ages, Jews were forced to wear hats or badges to distinguish themselves from other people. Some Jews were even expelled from their own country. Some of the anti-Semitic attitudes of the middle ages can be seen in drawings found in churches representing Jews as pigs. In Shakespeare's play, 'The Merchant of Venice', Shylock the Jewish usurer is a heartless, greedy villain. Some of the myths about Jews in the middle ages lived on. One particular myth surfaced in a text called 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion' that was published in 1903. The text 'revealed' that Jews were conspiring to take over the world. The book was used to justify mistreatment of the Jews.
There was a lot of anti-Semitism...