Professor Peter Schafer of the Freie University of Berlin has argued that antisemitism was first spread by "the Greek retelling of ancient Egyptian prejudices". In view of the anti-Jewish writings of the Egyptian priest Manetho, Schafer suggests that antisemitism may have emerged "in Egypt alone". The hostility commonly faced by Jews in the Diaspora has been extensively described by John M. G. Barclay of the University of Durham. The ancient Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria described an attack on Jews in Alexandria in 38 CE in Flaccus, in which thousands of Jews died. In the analysis of Pieter W. Van Der Horst, the cause of the violence in Alexandria was that Jews had been portrayed as misanthropes. Gideon Bohak has argued that early animosity against Jews was not anti-Judaism unless it arose from attitudes held against Jews alone. Using this stricter definition, Bohak says that many Greeks had animosity toward any group they regarded as barbarians.
Father Edward H. Flannery, in The Anguish of the Jews: Twenty-Three Centuries of Antisemitism, traces what he calls the first clear examples of anti-Jewish sentiment, which he calls "antisemitism," back to Alexandria in the third century BCE. Hecataeus of Abdera, a Greek historian, wrote that Moses "in remembrance of the exile of his people, instituted for them a misanthropic and inhospitable way of life." Manetho, an Egyptian priest and historian, wrote that the Jews were expelled Egyptian lepers who had been taught by Moses "not to adore the gods." The same themes appeared in the works of Chaeremon, Lysimachus, Poseidonius, Apollonius Molon, and in Apion and Tacitus, according to Flannery. Agatharchides of Cnidus wrote about the "ridiculous practices" of the Jews and of the "absurdity of their Law," making a mocking reference to how Ptolemy Lagus was able to invade Jerusalem in 320 BCE because its inhabitants were observing the Sabbath.
According to James Carroll, "Jews accounted for 10% of the total population of the Roman Empire. By that ratio, if other factors such as pogroms and conversions had not intervened, there would be 200 million Jews in the world today, instead of something like 13 million.
When the Jewish kingdom became absorbed into the Roman Empire, relationships between the Jewish people and the Roman rulers were always fraught with difficulty. There was an antagonistic attitude on the part of both emperors and the Roman public that went beyond religious antisemitism. Eventually warfare broke out between Jews of Judea and the Roman occupiers.
In 19 CE Tiberius expelled from Rome Jews who had gone to live in the city. Suetonius says that Tiberius "suppressed all foreign religions... . He distributed the Jewish youths, under the pretence of military service, among the provinces noted for an unhealthy climate; and dismissed from the city all the rest of that nation as well as those who were proselytes to that religion , under pain of slavery for life, unless they complied. Josephus, in his Jewish Antiquities, concurs that Tiberius "ordered all the Jews to be banished out of Rome," taking "four thousand men out of them, and sent them to the island Sardinia; but punished a greater number of them, who were unwilling to become soldiers, on account of keeping the laws of their forefathers. Thus were these Jews banished out of the city ..." Cassius Dio writes of Tiberius, "As the Jews flocked to Rome in great numbers and were converting many of the natives to their ways, he banished most of them. Some light may be shed on the animosity of Tiberius toward the Jews by Philo of Alexandria. Without giving details, Philo records Tiberius' lieutenant Sejanus as a major enemy of the Jews. Since this passage was written after Tiberius' death and Philo readily engaged in direct posthumous criticism of Caligula, it is possible that Sejanus was the prime mover in these persecutions.
The historian Edward Gibbon divides the attitude of Romans to Jews into two periods. The first, from the reign of Nero (37-68 CE) to that of Antoninus Pius (86-161), he calls The rebellious spirit of the Jews
[...] the Jews discovered a fierce impatience of the dominion of Rome, which repeatedly broke out in the most furious massacres and insurrections''
This was followed by a period of The toleration of the Jewish religion when:
[...] gentle treatment insensibly assuaged the stern temper of the Jews. Awakened from their dream of prophecy and conquest, they assumed the behaviour of peaceable and industrious subjects.
During the Bar Kokhba's revolt in the second century CE Roman soldiers murdered many Jews. Some authors have argued that Roman policy prefigured European antisemitism. They cite for example the fact that Rome refused permission for the rebuilding of the Temple at Jerusalem after its destruction in 70 CE in the course of the suppression of a rebellion; the tax imposed on Jews at the same time ostensibly to finance the rebuilding of the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, or the renaming of Judaea as Syria Palestina. Others have argued that Rome suppressed revolts in all conquered territories, that Tiberius’ explusion was of "all foreign religions", and that Rome did not single out Jews. Not only were Jews not wiped out: Jews of the Diaspora were given special privileges unknown to others: alone among subjects of the empire (and unlike Christians for much of the period) they were given the right to maintain their customs and religion, instead of being expected to accommodate themselves to those of the cities they resided in. Even in 70 CE some cities petitioned the Emperor to rescind Jewish privileges and were refused; though Hadrian outlawed circumcision along with castration as a mutilation normally visited on people unable to consent, following protests Jews were later exempted from this law.
Although the majority of the New Testament was written by Jews who became followers of Jesus, there are a number of passages in the New Testament that some see as antisemitic, or have been used for antisemitic purposes, most notably:
Some biblical scholars point out that Jesus and Stephen are presented as Jews speaking to other Jews, and that their use of broad accusations against Israel is borrowed from Moses and the later Jewish prophets (e.g. ; ; , ; ; ; ; ). Jesus once calls his own disciple Peter 'Satan' (). Other scholars hold that verses like these reflect the Jewish-Christian tensions that were emerging in the late first or early second century, and do not originate with Jesus. Today, nearly all Christian denominations de-emphasize verses such as these, and reject their use and misuse by antisemites.
Drawing from the Jewish prophet Jeremiah the New Testament teaches that with the death of Jesus a New Covenant was established which rendered obsolete, and in many respects superseded, the first covenant established by Moses (). Observance of the earlier covenant traditionally characterizes Judaism. This New Testament teaching, and later variations to it, are part of what is called supersessionism. However, the early Jewish followers of Jesus continued to practice circumcision and observe dietary laws, which is why the failure to observe these laws by the first Gentile Christians became a matter of controversy and dispute some years after Jesus' death (ff; ).
The New Testament holds that Jesus' (Jewish) disciple Judas Iscariot the Roman governor Pontius Pilate along with Roman forces and Jewish leaders and people of Jerusalem were (to varying degrees) responsible for the death of Jesus (); Diaspora Jews are not blamed for events which were clearly outside their control.
After Jesus' death, the New Testament portrays the Jewish religious authorities in Jerusalem as hostile to Jesus' followers, and as occasionally using force against them. Stephen is executed by stoning (). Before his conversion, Saul puts followers of Jesus in prison (; ). After his conversion, Saul is whipped at various times by Jewish authorities and is accused by Jewish authorities before Roman courts (e.g., ). However, opposition by Gentiles is also cited repeatedly (ff; ). More generally, there are widespread references in the New Testament to suffering experienced by Jesus' followers at the hands of others (ff; ; ; ; ; ).
The first accusation of deicide against the Jewish people as a whole: that they were collectively responsible for the death of Jesus came in a sermon in 167 CE attributed to Melito of Sardis entitled Peri Pascha, On the Passover. This text blames the Jews for allowing King Herod and Caiaphas to execute Jesus, despite their calling as God's people. It says "you did not know, O Israel, that this one was the firstborn of God". The author does not attribute particular blame to Pontius Pilate, but only mentions that Pilate washed his hands of guilt. The sermon is written in Greek, so does not use the Latin word for deicide, deicida. At a time when Christians were widely persecuted, Melito's speech was an appeal to Rome to spare Christians. The sermon demonstrates substantial misunderstanding (perhaps deliberate) of the central tenet of Christianity: that everyone, Jew or Gentile, is complicit in Jesus' sacrificial death (which, according to Christianity, he had the supernatural powers to avoid or prevent) and therefore no one person or race is more or less responsible.
According to a Latin dictionary, the Latin word deicidas was used by the fourth century, by Peter Chrystologus in his sermon number 172.
Emperor Constantine I instituted several laws concerning Jews: they were forbidden to own Christian slaves or to circumcise their slaves. Conversion of Christians to Judaism was outlawed. Congregations for religious services were restricted, but Jews were allowed to enter Jerusalem on Tisha B'Av, the anniversary of the destruction of the Temple.
Discrimination became worse in the 5th century. Jews were barred from the civil service and the army. The Jewish Patriarchate was abolished and the scope of Jewish courts restricted. New synagogues were confiscated and old synagogues could be repaired only if they were in danger of collapse. Synagogues fell into ruin or were converted to churches.
Synagogues in the following places were destroyed: Tortona in 350, Rome in 388 and 500, Raqqa in 388, Minorca in 418, Daphne (near Antioch) in 489 and 507, Genoa in 500, Ravenna in 495, Tours in 585 and Orleans in 590.
Other synagogues were confiscated: Urfa in 411, several in Palestine between 419 and 422, Constantinople in 442 and 569, Antioch in 423, Vannes in 465, Diyarbakir in 500 Terracina in 590, Cagliari in 590 and Palermo in 590.
Deicide is the killing of a god. In the context of Christianity, deicide refers to the responsibility for the death of Jesus. The accusation of Jews in deicide has been the most powerful warrant for antisemitism by Christians.
From the 9th century CE the Islamic world imposed dhimmi laws on both Christian and Jewish minorities. The 11th century saw pogroms against Jews in Al-Andalus; in Cordoba in 1011 and in Granada in 1066. Decrees ordering the destruction of synagogues were enacted in the Middle Ages in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Jews were also forced to convert to Islam or face death in some parts of Yemen, Morocco and Baghdad at certain times.
The Almohads, who had taken control of the Almoravids' Maghribi and Andalusian territories by 1147, far surpassed the Almoravides in fundamentalist outlook, and they treated the dhimmis harshly. Faced with the choice of either death or conversion, many Jews and Christians emigrated. Some, such as the family of Maimonides, fled east to more tolerant Muslim lands, while others went northward to settle in the growing Christian kingdoms. During the Middle Ages in Europe there was full-scale persecution in many places, with blood libels, expulsions, forced conversions and massacre. A main justification of prejudice against Jews in Europe was religious. Jews were frequently massacred and exiled from various European countries. The persecution hit its first peak during the Crusades. In the First Crusade (1096) flourishing communities on the Rhine and the Danube were utterly destroyed; see German Crusade, 1096. In the Second Crusade (1147) the Jews in France were subject to frequent massacres. The Jews were also subjected to attacks by the Shepherds' Crusades of 1251 and 1320. The Crusades were followed by expulsions, including in, 1290, the banishing of all English Jews; in 1396, 100,000 Jews were expelled from France; and, in 1421 thousands were expelled from Austria. Many of the expelled Jews fled to Poland.
As the Black Death epidemics devastated Europe in the mid-14th century, annihilating more than half of the population, Jews were used as scapegoats. Rumors spread that they caused the disease by deliberately poisoning wells. Hundreds of Jewish communities were destroyed by violence. Although Pope Clement VI tried to protect them by the July 6, 1348, papal bull and an additional bull in 1348, several months later, 900 Jews were burnt alive in Strasbourg, where the plague had not yet affected the city.
Though not part of Roman Catholic dogma, many Christians, including members of the clergy, held Jews to be collectively responsible for killing Jesus. According to this interpretation, both the Jews present at Jesus’ death and the Jewish people collectively and for all time had committed the sin of deicide, or God-killing.
There was continuity in the hostile attitude to Judaism from the ancient Roman Empire into the medieval period. From the 9th century CE, the medieval Islamic world imposed dhimmi status on both Christian and Jewish minorities, though Jews were allowed to freely practice their religion to a greater extent in the Muslim world than in Christian Europe. In the later Middle Ages in Christian Europe, there was full-scale persecution in many places, with blood libels, expulsions, forced conversions and massacres. A main justification of prejudice against Jews in Europe was religious.
Jews were subject to a wide range of legal restrictions throughout the Middle Ages, some of which lasted until the end of the 19th century. Jews were excluded from many trades, the occupations varying with place and time, and determined by the influence of various non-Jewish competing interests. Often Jews were barred from all occupations but money-lending and peddling, with even these at times forbidden. The number of Jews permitted to reside in different places was limited; they were concentrated in ghettos, and were not allowed to own land; they were subject to discriminatory taxes on entering cities or districts other than their own, were forced to swear special Jewish Oaths, and suffered a variety of other measures, including restrictions on dress.
The Crusades were a series of military campaigns sanctioned by the papacy that took place from the end of the 11th century until the 13th century. They began as endeavors to recapture Jerusalem from the Muslims but developed into territorial wars.
The mobs accompanying the first three Crusades, and particularly the People's Crusade accompanying the first Crusade, attacked Jewish communities in Germany, France, and England, and killed many Jews. Entire communities, like those of Treves, Speyer, Worms, Mayence, and Cologne, were murdered by armed mobs. About 12,000 Jews are said to have perished in the Rhineland cities alone between May and July, 1096. Before the Crusades, Jews had practically a monopoly on the trade in Eastern products, but the closer connection between Europe and the East brought about by the Crusades raised up a class of Christian merchant traders, and from this time onward restrictions on the sale of goods by Jews became frequent. The religious zeal formented by the Crusades at times burned as fiercely against Jews as against Muslims, though attempts were made by bishops during the first Crusade and by the papacy during the second Crusade to stop Jews from being attacked. Both economically and socially the Crusades were disastrous for European Jews. They prepared the way for the anti-Jewish legislation of Pope Innocent III, and formed the turning point in the medieval history of the Jews.
Saint Louis University Professor Thomas Madden, author of A Concise History of the Crusades, claims the Jewish defenders of Jerusalem retreated to their synagogue to "prepare for death" once the Crusaders had breached the outer walls of the city during the siege of 1099. The chronicle of Ibn al-Qalanisi mentions the building was set fire while the Jews were still inside. The Crusaders were supposedly reported as hoisting up their shields and singing “Christ We Adore Thee!” while they circled the fiery complex. However, a contemporary Jewish letter written shortly after the siege does not mention the burning synagogue. But playing on the religious schism between the two sects of Judaism, Arabist S.D. Goitein speculates the reason the incident is missing from the letter is because it was written by Karaite Jews and the synagogue belonged to the Rabbinite Jews.
Following the siege, Jews captured from the dome of the rock, along with native Christians, were made to clean the city of the slain. Tancred took some Jews as prisoners of war and deported them to Apuleia in southern Italy. Several of these Jews did not make it to their final destination as “Many of them were […] thrown into the sea or beheaded on the way.” Numerous Jews and their holy books (including the Aleppo Codex) were held ransom by Raymond of Toulouse. The Karaite Jewish community of Ashkelon (Ascalon) reached out to their coreligionists in Alexandria to first pay for the holy books and then rescued pockets of Jews over several months. All that could be ransomed were liberated by the summer of 1100. The few who could not be rescued were either converted to Christianity or murdered.
In the County of Toulouse (now part of southern France) Jews were well-received until the Albigensian Crusade. Toleration and favour shown to Jews was one of the main complaints of the Roman Church against the Counts of Toulouse. Following the Crusaders' successful wars against Raymond VI and Raymond VII, the counts were required to discriminate against Jews like other Christian rulers. In 1209, stripped to the waist and barefoot, Raymond VI was obliged to swear that he would no longer allow Jews to hold public office. In 1229 his son Raymond VII, underwent a similar ceremony. Explicit provisions on the subject were included in the Treaty of Meaux (1229). By the next generation a new, zealously Catholic, ruler was arresting and imprisoning Jews for no crime, raiding their houses, seizing their cash, and removing their religious books. They were then released only if they paid a new "tax". A historian has argued that organised and official persecution of the Jews became a normal feature of life in southern France only after the Albigensian Crusade because it was only then that the Church became powerful enough to insist that measures of discrimination be applied.
On many occasions, Jews were accused of a blood libel, the supposed drinking of the blood of Christian children in mockery of the Christian Eucharist. (Early Christians had been accused of a similar practice based on pagan misunderstanding of the Eucharist ritual.) According to the authors of these blood libels, the 'procedure' for the alleged sacrifice was something like this: a child who had not yet reached puberty was kidnapped and taken to a hidden place. The child would be tortured by Jews, and a crowd would gather at the place of execution (in some accounts the synagogue itself) and engage in a mock tribunal to try the child. The child would be presented to the tribunal naked and tied and eventually be condemned to death. In the end, the child would be crowned with thorns and tied or nailed to a wooden cross. The cross would be raised, and the blood dripping from the child's wounds would be caught in bowls or glasses and then drunk. Finally, the child would be killed with a thrust through the heart from a spear, sword, or dagger. Its dead body would be removed from the cross and concealed or disposed of, but in some instances rituals of black magic would be performed on it. This method, with some variations, can be found in all the alleged Christian descriptions of ritual murder by Jews.
The story of William of Norwich (d. 1144) is often cited as the first known accusation of ritual murder against Jews. The Jews of Norwich, England were accused of murder after a Christian boy, William, was found dead. It was claimed that the Jews had tortured and crucified their victim. The legend of William of Norwich became a cult, and the child acquired the status of a holy martyr. Recent analysis has cast doubt on whether this was the first of the series of blood libel accusations but not on the contrived and antisemitic nature of the tale.
During the Middle Ages blood libels were directed against Jews in many parts of Europe. The believers of these accusations reasoned that the Jews, having crucified Jesus, continued to thirst for pure and innocent blood and satisfied their thirst at the expense of innocent Christian children. Following this logic, such charges were typically made in Spring around the time of Passover, which approximately coincides with the time of Jesus' death.
The story of Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln (d. 1255) said that after the boy was dead, his body was removed from the cross and laid on a table. His belly was cut open and his entrails removed for some occult purpose, such as a divination ritual. The story of Simon of Trent (d. 1475) emphasized how the boy was held over a large bowl so all his blood could be collected.
To finance his war against Wales in 1276, Edward I of England taxed Jewish moneylenders. When the moneylenders could no longer pay the tax, they were accused of disloyalty. Already restricted to a limited number of occupations, Edward also abolished their "privilege" to lend money, restricted their movements and activities and forced Jews to wear a yellow patch. The heads of Jewish households were then arrested with over 300 being taken to the Tower of London and executed. Others were killed in their homes. All Jews were banished from the country in 1290, when thousands were killed or drowned while fleeing. All money and property of the dispossessed Jews was confiscated. No known Jews were to be found in England until 1655, when Oliver Cromwell reversed the policy.
Although the Pope Clement VI tried to protect them by the July 6, 1348 papal bull and another 1348 bull, several months later, 900 Jews were burnt in Strasbourg, where the plague hadn't yet affected the city. Clement VI condemned the violence and said those who blamed the plague on the Jews (among whom were the flagellants) had been "seduced by that liar, the Devil."
Portugal followed suit in December 1496. However, those expelled could only leave the country in ships specified by the King. When those who chose to leave the country arrived at the port in Lisbon, they were met by clerics and soldiers who used force, coercion and promises to baptize them and prevent them from leaving the country. This episode technically ended the presence of Jews in Portugal. Afterwards, all converted Jews and their descendants would be referred to as New Christians or marranos. They were given a grace period of thirty years during which no inquiry into their faith would be allowed. This period was later extended until 1534. However, a popular riot in 1504 resulted in the death of up to five thousand Jews, and the execution of the leaders of the riot by King Manuel. Those labeled as New Christians would be under the surveillance of the Portuguese Inquisition (established in 1536) until 1821. Most would eventually leave the country during these three centuries, fleeing to the Netherlands or the Ottoman Empire, among other places (see History of the Jews in Portugal).
Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk and an ecclesiastical reformer whose teachings inspired the Reformation, wrote antagonistically about Jews in his book On the Jews and their Lies, which describes the Jews in extremely harsh terms, excoriates them, and provides detailed recommendations for a pogrom against them and their permanent oppression and/or expulsion. According to Paul Johnson, it "may be termed the first work of modern antisemitism, and a giant step forward on the road to the Holocaust." In his final sermon shortly before his death, however, Luther preached "We want to treat them with Christian love and to pray for them, so that they might become converted and would receive the Lord." Still, Luther's harsh comments about the Jews are seen by many as a continuation of medieval Christian antisemitism. In the twentieth century, Luther's statements regarding the Jews were used by the Nazis in their antisemitic propaganda.
During the mid-to-late 17th century the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was devastated by several conflicts, in which the Commonwealth lost over a third of its population (over 3 million people), and Jewish losses were counted in hundreds of thousands. First, the Chmielnicki Uprising when Bohdan Khmelnytsky's Cossacks massacred tens of thousands of Jews in the eastern and southern areas he controlled (today's Ukraine). The precise number of dead may never be known, but the decrease of the Jewish population during that period is estimated at 100,000 to 200,000, which also includes emigration, deaths from diseases and jasyr (captivity in the Ottoman Empire).
In 1772, the empress of Russia Catherine II forced the Jews of the Pale of Settlement to stay in their shtetls and forbade them from returning to the towns that they occupied before the partition of Poland.
There was a massacre of Jews in Baghdad in 1828. In 1839, in the eastern Persian city of Meshed, a mob burst into the Jewish Quarter, burned the synagogue, and destroyed the Torah scrolls. It was only by forcible conversion that a massacre was averted. There was another massacre in Barfurush in 1867.
"…they are obliged to live in a separate part of town…; for they are considered as unclean creatures… Under the pretext of their being unclean, they are treated with the greatest severity and should they enter a street, inhabited by Mussulmans, they are pelted by the boys and mobs with stones and dirt… For the same reason, they are prohibited to go out when it rains; for it is said the rain would wash dirt off them, which would sully the feet of the Mussulmans… If a Jew is recognized as such in the streets, he is subjected to the greatest insults. The passers-by spit in his face, and sometimes beat him… unmercifully… If a Jew enters a shop for anything, he is forbidden to inspect the goods… Should his hand incautiously touch the goods, he must take them at any price the seller chooses to ask for them... Sometimes the Persians intrude into the dwellings of the Jews and take possession of whatever please them. Should the owner make the least opposition in defense of his property, he incurs the danger of atoning for it with his life... If... a Jew shows himself in the street during the three days of the Katel (Muharram)…, he is sure to be murdered.
In 1840, the Jews of Damascus were falsely accused of having murdered a Christian monk and his Muslim servant and of having used their blood to bake Passover bread. A Jewish barber was tortured until he "confessed"; two other Jews who were arrested died under torture, while a third converted to Islam to save his life. Throughout the 1860s, the Jews of Libya were subjected to what Gilbert calls punitive taxation. In 1864, around 500 Jews were killed in Marrakech and Fez in Morocco. In 1869, 18 Jews were killed in Tunis, and an Arab mob looted Jewish homes and stores, and burned synagogues, on Jerba Island. In 1875, 20 Jews were killed by a mob in Demnat, Morocco; elsewhere in Morocco, Jews were attacked and killed in the streets in broad daylight. In 1891, the leading Muslims in Jerusalem asked the Ottoman authorities in Constantinople to prohibit the entry of Jews arriving from Russia. In 1897, synagogues were ransacked and Jews were murdered in Tripolitania.
Benny Morris writes that one symbol of Jewish degradation was the phenomenon of stone-throwing at Jews by Muslim children. Morris quotes a 19th century traveler: "I have seen a little fellow of six years old, with a troop of fat toddlers of only three and four, teaching [them] to throw stones at a Jew, and one little urchin would, with the greatest coolness, waddle up to the man and literally spit upon his Jewish gaberdine. To all this the Jew is obliged to submit; it would be more than his life was worth to offer to strike a Mahommedan."
In 1850, the German composer Richard Wagner published Das Judenthum in der Musik ("Jewishness in Music") under a pseudonym in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik. The essay began as an attack on Jewish composers, particularly Wagner's contemporaries (and rivals) Felix Mendelssohn and Giacomo Meyerbeer, but expanded to accuse Jews of being a harmful and alien element in German culture.
The Jews, as a class violating every regulation of trade established by the Treasury Department and also department orders, are hereby expelled …within twenty-four hours from the receipt of this order.
Grant later issued an order "that no Jews are to be permitted to travel on the road southward." His aide, Colonel John V. DuBois, ordered "all cotton speculators, Jews, and all vagabonds with no honest means of support", to leave the district. "The Israelites especially should be kept out…they are such an intolerable nuisance." Nevertheless, when he ran for President in the election of 1868, Grant was able to carry the Jewish vote and appointed several Jews.
Some Jewish traders were forced to relocate forty miles. In Paducah, Kentucky, military officials gave the town's thirty Jewish families — all long-term residents, none of them speculators and at least two of them Union Army veterans — 24 hours to leave. A group of Paducah's Jewish merchants successfully appealed in person to Lincoln two days after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect.
In the first half of the twentieth century, in the USA, Jews were discriminated against in employment, access to residential and resort areas, membership in clubs and organizations, and in tightened quotas on Jewish enrollment and teaching positions in colleges and universities. The Leo Frank lynching by a mob of prominent citizens in Marietta, Georgia in 1915 turned the spotlight on antisemitism in the United States and led to the founding of the Anti-Defamation League. The case was also used to build support for the renewal of the Ku Klux Klan which had been inactive since 1870.
After the war, the Kielce pogrom and "March 1968 events" in communist Poland represented a further incidents of antisemitism in Europe. The common theme behind the anti-Jewish violence in the postwar Poland were blood libel rumours .
In the 1940s, the aviator Charles Lindbergh and many prominent Americans led The America First Committee in opposing any involvement in the war against Fascism. During his July 1936 visit he wrote letters saying that there was “more intelligent leadership in Germany than is generally recognized.”
"While I still have my reservations, I have come away with great admiration for the German people. .. Hitler must have far more vision and character than I thought….With all the things we criticize he is undoubtedly a great man…. He is a fanatic in many ways and anyone can see there is fanaticism in Germany today…. On the other hand, Hitler has accomplished results (good and bad), which could hardly have been accomplished without some fanaticism."
America First avoided any appearance of antisemitism and voted to drop Henry Ford as a member for as much. Ford continued his good friendship with the prominent America First member Lindbergh. Lindbergh visited Ford in the summer of 1941. “One month later; Lindbergh gave a speech in Des Moines, Iowa in which he expressed the decidedly Ford-like view that, ‘The three most important groups which have been pressing this country towards war are the British, the Jews, and the Roosevelt Administration.’” In an expurgated portion of his published diaries Lindbergh wrote: “We must limit to a reasonable amount the Jewish influence….Whenever the Jewish percentage of the total population becomes too high, a reaction seems to invariably occur. It is too bad because a few Jews of the right type are, I believe, an asset to any country.”
The German American Bund held parades in New York City in the late 1930s which featured Nazi uniforms and flags featuring swastikas along side American flags. The zenith of the Bund's history occurred in 1939 at Madison Square Garden. Some 20,000 people heard Bund leader Fritz Kuhn criticize President Franklin Delano Roosevelt by repeatedly referring to him as “Frank D. Rosenfeld”, calling his New Deal the "Jew Deal", and espousing his belief in the existence of a Bolshevik-Jewish conspiracy in America. The New York district attorney prosecuted Kuhn. The US House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) was very active in denying the Bund's ability to operate. With the start of the US involvement in World War II most of the Bund's members were placed in internment camps, and some were deported at the end of the war.
Sometimes, during race riots, as in Detroit in 1943, Jewish businesses were targeted for looting and burning.
In Germany, Nazism arose as a political movement incorporating antisemitic ideas. These were expressed by Adolf Hitler in his book Mein Kampf (My Struggle). The Nazi regime in Germany led eventually to the Holocaust and to the Second World War.
This is seen by many as the culmination of generations of antisemitism in Europe.
The cult of Simon of Trent was disbanded in 1965 by Pope Paul VI, and the shrine erected to him was dismantled. He was removed from the calendar, and his future veneration was forbidden, though a handful of extremists still promote the narrative as a fact. In the 20th century, the Beilis Trial in Russia and the Kielce pogrom represented incidents of blood libel in Europe. Unproven rumours of Jews killing Christians were used as justification for the killing of Jews by Christians.
As they interacted, some of the classic right-wing anti-Semitic scapegoating conspiracy theories began to seep into progressive circles, including stories about how a "New World Order", also called the "Shadow Government" or "The Octopus," was manipulating world governments. Antisemitic conspiracismwas "peddled aggressively" by right-wing groups. Some on the left adopted the rhetoric, which it has been argued, was made possible by the left's lack of knowledge of the history of fascism and its use of "scapegoating, reductionist and simplistic solutions, demagoguery, and a conspiracy theory of history."
Toward the end of 1990, as the movement against the Gulf War began to build, a number of far-right and antisemitic groups sought out alliances with left-wing anti-war coalitions, who began to speak openly about a "Jewish lobby" that was encouraging the United States to invade the Middle East. This idea morphed into conspiracy theories about a "Zionist-occupied government" (ZOG), which has been seen as the modern incarnation of the antisemitic hoax, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. The antiwar movement as a whole overwhelmingly rejected these overtures by the political right.
In the late twentieth century, there were allegations of antisemitism against certain prominent American politicians. In 1981 the senator Ernest Hollings referred to fellow Democrat Howard Metzenbaum as the "Senator from B'nai Brith" on the floor of the Senate. In the context of the first US-Iraq war, on September 15, 1990 Pat Buchanan appeared on the McLaughlin Group and said that "there are only two groups that are beating the drums for war in the Middle East - the Israeli defense ministry and its 'amen corner' in the United States." He also said, "The Israelis want this war desperately because they want the United States to destroy the Iraqi war machine. They want us to finish them off. They don't care about our relations with the Arab world." When he delivered a keynote address at the 1992 Republican National Convention, known as the culture war speech, he described "a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America".
The first years of the twenty-first century have seen an upsurge of antisemitism. Several authors argue that this is antisemitism of a new type, which they call new antisemitism.
In the United States and in the context of the "Global War on Terrorism", there have been statements by both the Democrat Ernest Hollings and the right-wing Republican Pat Buchanan which suggest that the George W. Bush Administration went to war in order to win Jewish supporters. This has some echoes of Lindbergh’s claim before World War II that a Jewish minority was pushing America into a war against its interests. Hollings wrote an editorial in the May 6, 2004 Charleston Post and Courier, where he argued that Bush invaded Iraq possibly because "spreading democracy in the Mideast to secure Israel would take the Jewish vote from the Democrats."
In 2004, the UK Parliament set up an all-Parliamentary inquiry into antisemitism, which published its findings in 2006. The inquiry stated that "until recently, the prevailing opinion both within the Jewish community and beyond [had been] that antisemitism had receded to the point that it existed only on the margins of society." It found a reversal of this progress since 2000. It aimed to investigate the problem, identify the sources of contemporary antisemitism and make recommendations to improve the situation.