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Science | History | Geography | Citizenship | RE

The oldest hatred: anti-Semitism on the rise

Is anti-Semitism different from other forms of hate? The British Labour Party and the American Right have both been hit by allegations of Jew-hatred. It has a unique and terrible history. It has given rise to countless lies. It has been used to justify pogroms and the greatest crime in history - the Holocaust. Now, there appears to be a resurgence of anti-Semitism. In the US recently, a swastika and the word "Trump" were spray-painted on the steps of the famous law school at Yale University. A group of alt-Right and "dissident Right" activists have joined forces with neo-Nazis and others on the far-Right fringes to attack, both online and in person, Conservatives who they feel aren't true Conservatives. And in Britain, the Chief Rabbi has said that Jeremy Corbyn's handling of antisemitism allegations in the Labour Party makes him "unfit for high office", while warning that the "very soul of our nation is at stake" in next month's general election. In an unprecedented intervention into politics, which he describes as "amongst the most painful moments" of his career, Ephraim Mirvis says that "a new poison" has taken hold in Labour "sanctioned from the very top". Anti-Semitism has a very deep and particular history. Jews have been described as racially inferior or rootless and driven out of countries around the world. For centuries, Christians and Muslims spread myths, such as then blood libel. Criticisms of global liberalism and capitalism have characterised Jews as privileged members of an "elite". Much of the most virulent anti-Semitism today is among Israel's opponents in the Middle East. Some argue Western activists who boycottTo withdraw relations from an organisation as a punishment or protest. The word comes from the surname of a Victorian Irish landlord who was subject to a boycott from poor farmers who demanded rent reduction. Israel are complicit in this. Many conspiracy theoriesTheories that explain world events by blaming shady groups of powerful people operating in secret. Some conspiracy theories have a basis in fact, but many more of them are completely invented. What is more, they often play on dangerous prejudices such as antisemitism. It's worth being especially cautious and critical when you come across accounts that ascribe enormous agency to small and secretive groups. are linked to allegations of global Jewish influence. But there is also growing concern about other forms of hate crime. Violent hate crimes and threats have reached their highest levels in the USA in 16 years, with a surge in attacks against Latinos and transgender people in 2018, according to new FBI data. Again in the USA, there were a total of 485 reports of anti-Latino crimes last year, a 14% increase from 2017, and 168 crimes targeting trans and gender-nonconforming people, marking a 41% increase. Reported attacks against Sikhs also tripled, from 20 incidents in 2017 to 60 in 2018, according to the FBI statistics. Attacks against people with disabilities also surged by 37% to 159 incidents last year. So, should we treat anti-Semitism differently to other forms of hatred? Tackling the problem Absolutely, say some. This is a timeless hate against a tiny global minority, largely based on genetics - an immutable characteristic. The lies behind it are still taught across vast swaths of the planet. Jews have hardly ever been truly welcome anywhere. It is no coincidence that the only historical attempt to exterminate a whole people at once was directed at them. Be careful, others respond. Hate is hate: we must not give people cover for poisonous bile towards other groups. Someone who attacks a mosque is as evil as someone who attacks a synagogue. Jews have a unique history, but collective demonisation of the "other" can and has led to terrible consequences for others too. KeywordsBoycott - To withdraw relations from an organisation as a punishment or protest. The word comes from the surname of a Victorian Irish landlord who was subject to a boycott from poor farmers who demanded rent reduction.

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