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Wednesday, 22 June 2016

The origin of antisemitism

The root word Semite gives the false impression that antisemitism is directed against all Semitic people, meaning Christians, Jews and Muslims. However, the compound word antisemite was popularized in Germany in 1879 as a scientific-sounding term for Judenhass - or "Jew-hatred"- and that has been its common use since then. (Wiki)

According to the Bible, Noah had 3 sons: Japheth, Shem and Ham. In medieval ethnography, the world was believed to have been divided into three large-scale racial groupings, corresponding to the three classical continents: the Japhetic peoples of Europe, the Semitic peoples of Asia and the Hamitic peoples of Africa. (Wiki)

As language studies are interwoven with cultural studies, the term also came to describe the religions (ancient Semitic and Abrahamic) and Semitic-speaking ethnicities as well as the history of these varied cultures as associated by close geographic and linguistic distribution. (Wiki)

Abrahamic, or Semitic, religions, emphasizing and tracing their common origin to the tribal patriarch Abraham, are one of the major divisions in comparative religion, along with Indian, Iranian, and East Asian religions. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are the largest Abrahamic religions. The largest Abrahamic religions in chronological order of founding are Judaism (late second millennium BCE), Christianity (first century CE) and Islam (seventh century CE). (Wiki)

Wiki: The German word antisemitisch was first used in 1860 by the Austrian Jewish scholar Moritz Steinschneider (1816-1907) in the phrase antisemitische Vorurteile (antisemitic prejudices). Steinschneider used this phrase to characterise the French philosopher Ernest Renan's false ideas about how "Semitic races" were inferior to "Aryan races"'. Note: italic by Wiki.

Wiki: "The term Aryan originates from the Sanskrit word ārya, in origin an ethnic self-designation, in Classical Sanskrit meaning "honourable, respectable, noble". Note: italic markings by LO.

The history of anti-Judaism (rather than antisemitism) even predates Islam and Christianity. Wiki: Pre-Christian anti-Judaism in ancient Greece and Rome which was primarily ethnic in nature.
Traditional Muslim antisemitism was - at least in its classical form - nuanced, in that Jews were a protected class. Essentially, there are "three categories: "ancient antisemitism, which was primarily ethnic in nature; Christian antisemitism, which was religious; and the racial antisemitism of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries." (Wiki). Note: italic markings by LO.

Wiki: Louis H. Feldman asserts that "one of the great puzzles that has confronted the students of anti-semitism is the alleged shift from pro-Jewish statements found in the first pagan writers who mention the Jews... to the vicious anti-Jewish statements thereafter, beginning with [the Egyptian historian and priest] Manetho about 270 BCE". Note: all markings by LO.

The Simon Wiesenthal center: "In every country the Jews were the convenient enemy. To the illiterate, they were knowledgeable; to the peasants, wealthy; to the rich, clever. The Romans saw them as political rivals; the Inquisitors saw them as Christ Killers; the Cossacks saw them as squeezing out the wealth of the land. To them they were different; different in their looks, in their mode of dress, in their beliefs, in the observance of their holy days....".

James Ingram & Michael McDonald - Yah Mo Be There (1983) - lyrics, video, Wiki

Heavenly Father watchin' us fall
We take from each other and give nothing at all
Well, it's a doggone shame but never too late for change
So, if your luck runs low, just reach out and call His name, His name

Yah mo B there, Yah mo B there


Note: Yah stands for Yahweh

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