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The Development of Modern Anti-Semitism

Popular Anti-Semitism


A common element in
Anti-Semitic cartoons...



A popular anti-Semitic
subject...



"The Wandering Jew"...



The outcome of the
French Revolution



"The Jewish Broker"...



In this caricature...


DURING THE 19TH CENTURY, anti-Jewish sentiments and stereotypes undergo changes. Rejection and discrimination of Jews is no longer based on religious differences alone. By the time the term "anti-Semitism" is first used in the late 1870s, Jews in Western Europe - though citizens with equal rights - are seen by many as alien to the nation or the people.

Since the beginning of the century the notion has become popular that a "people" or "nation" is not a collection of individuals but a unique organism created by climate, landscape and traditions. These ideas, influenced mainly by the German Romantic Movement, repudiate the basic tenets of the enlightenment of common humanity and equality. In this view, Jews appear as alien intruders who need to be removed from the body of the nation.

The distinction between "the people" or "the nation" and those who are felt not to belong to it, is used more generally to stigmatize everything as "Jewish" that is seen as negative or undesirable. For many, a "Jew" becomes the epitome of weakness, bad character and ugly appearance - the negative mirror image of all the positive characteristics embodied in the people or nation.

Many of these new stereotypes develop on the background of industrialization and urbanization. These rapid social and economic changes are the source of great friction and conflict in society and come to be experienced by many as destructive and "unnatural." As Jews emerge from their restricted positions and take up new opportunities, they are often being identified as the forces behind these developments. Thus, the stereotype of the Jew as the exploiter and "usurer" who profits from the loss of others is brought into the modern world, as is the myth of the all-powerful "Jewish conspiracy" capable of bending the course of the world to its own will and profit.




Anti-Semitic themes...



"Bourse" ("Stock Exchange")...


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