Antisemitism

Is antisemitism a form of racism?

Antisemitism means hatred of Jews. The word first appeared in the 19th century, when classification of people into different races was considered normal. Many people in Europe thought the 'white race’ was better than other races. But do Jews belong to a separate ‘race’? And is antisemitism racism?

Racism is based on the idea that there are different human races: the 'white race', the 'black race', the 'yellow race', and the 'red race'. People of the same race are assumed to share certain characteristics.

Hitler and the National Socialists (Nazis) also believed that people could be divided into races. And they believed that the races were in competition with each other. According to the Nazis, the Jews were a weak, dangerous, and inferior race that did not belong in Germany. 

The ideas of Hitler and the Nazis were racist. After the Second World War, science showed that the classification of humanity into different races is wrong. There is only one race: the human race.

Other forms of antisemitism may not be racist, or less so. In the past, hatred against Jews was often fuelled by the Christian churches. Throughout the history of Christian Europe and the Islamic world, there have been times when Jews were persecuted. People turned against them, not because they belonged to another 'race', but because they did not believe in the right God.

Conclusion: Jews are not a race, and categorising people according to race is wrong and dangerous. Even so, some people still believe in the concept. If it is the basis for their hatred of Jews, it is undoubtedly racist.