The Holocaust: Anti-Judaism vs. Modern Antisemitism

Essay by funnybanddude102College, Undergraduate February 2009

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What is the difference between Antisemitism and Anti-Judaism? The dictionary reports that the definition of Anti-Judaism is as follows: “In Christianity, anti-Judaism is the rejection of or opposition to Jewish beliefs and practices and has been called "a total or partial opposition.” Antisemitism means, “Prejudices toward Jews or discrimination against them.” The dictionary is basically saying that the only difference between the two is that Antisemitism is anyone who has a prejudice toward the Jewish people, while Anti-Judaism is only Christians who have that prejudice. I on the other hand do not believe that these definitions tell the entire story. Each word has a meaning and I am going to break them down to better understand the subtle differences that may not have been so distinct from 100 BCE to Adolph Hitler’s time. We can start with the prefix that is similar between the two words, “anti”. This prefix means, “a person who is opposed (to an action or policy or practice etc.).”

We now understand what the beginning of each word means, now let us look at Semite and Judaism. Semite means, “a member of a group of Semitic-speaking peoples of the Middle East and northern Africa. So this comes to mean that anyone who speaks a Semitic language and lives in the Middle East are considered Semites. Judaism means, “a person belonging to the worldwide group claiming descent from Jacob (or converted to it) and connected by cultural or religious ties.” This means that they are a religious group that is spread throughout the world and claim their descent from Jacob. My definition of the difference between the two is a combination of what we have learned in class and also through what I have read. “Judaism is a religion and when you are stating the word Semite...