Sociology Index

ANTI-SEMITISM

Books On Anti-Semitism

The term "anti-Semitism," first came into use around 1870. Skillful propagandists were extraordinarily successful in spreading notions of Jewish racial inferiority and its threat to the pure Aryan stock. Jacob Katz   argues, hatred of the Jews shifted from their religion to more essential aspects of their character and behavior. The term "anti-Semitism," was meant to describe this change.

Anti-Semitism is a negative and hostile attitude to Jews and the Jewish religion. As a migrant people, the Jews have experienced anti-Semitism within many societies and throughout much of recorded history. The extreme expression of anti-Semitism was the Holocaust, when six million Jews were murdered in German concentration camps during World War II.

This mass killing, carried out in an advanced and intellectually sophisticated society, traumatized Western societies and called into question the then dominant idea that historical development was marked by an increasingly rational commitment to the creation of an enlightened, progressive and humane society.

In a survey conducted in 1990, there was a surprisingly low level of expressed anti-Semitism among Soviet respondents and virtually no support for state policies that discriminate against Jews. Though, many of the conventional hypotheses predicting anti-Semitism are supported in the Soviet case.

Anti-Semitism is concentrated among those with lower levels of education, those whose personal financial condition is deteriorating, and those who oppose further democratization of the Soviet Union.

These findings are evidence that anti-Semitism is a trivial problem in the Soviet Union and suggest that efforts to combat anti-Jewish movements would likely receive considerable support from ordinary Soviet people.