Judeophobic stereotype, 21st century: more of the same old story, negative and racist.

Based on prejudice and generalization, Judeophobia is the fear of Jewish people or culture. It involves an irrational fear or even hatred of everything relating to Jews, Judaism, and/or Jewish culture.

Negative national stereotype. The Wandering Jew
Gustave Doré, Ahasverus, print, 1852
According to folk European myth, he is an apatride, marked nomad.

Basically, negative stereotypes about Jews and the anti-Semitism they produce have their ultimate source in Judeophobia.

Stigma can be defined as "the process by which the reaction of others spoils normal identity" (Gofman). Social stigma can result from the perception or attribution, rightly or wrongly, of certain traits or characteristics.

Historical sociologist Helen Fein defines it as "a persisting latent structure of hostile beliefs towards Jews as a collective manifested in individuals as attitudes, and in culture as myth, ideology, folklore and imagery, and in actions –social or legal discrimination, political mobilization against the Jews, and collective or state violence– which results in and/or is designed to distance, displace, or destroy Jews as Jews" (City University of New York).

Ecclesia and Synagoga
Anti-Jewish allegory showing Christianity and Judaism

Dietz Bering writes that, to antisemites, "Jews are not only partially but totally bad by nature, that is, their bad traits are incorrigible. Because of this bad nature: (1) Jews have to be seen not as individuals but as a collective. (2) Jews remain essentially alien in the surrounding societies. (3) Jews bring disaster on their 'host societies' or on the whole world [and] they are doing it secretly, therefore the antisemites feel obliged to unmask the conspiratorial, bad Jewish character" (University of Cologne).

Antisemitic caricature. Charles Lucien Léandre, King Rothschild (Le roi Rothschild), cover illustration for Le Rire, 16 April 1898.

For Sonja Weinberg, as distinct from economic and religious anti-Judaism, antisemitism in its modern form was nationalist, anti-liberal, and racialist. Promoting the myth that Jews conspired to 'judaise' the world, it served to consolidate social identity, channeling dissatisfactions among victims of the capitalist system and being used as a conservative cultural code to fight emancipation.[1]

Economic stereotype. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (1897-1903), Spanish version, 1930

As a whole, anti-Semitism may be described as the hatred toward Jews—individually and as a group—that can be attributed to the Jewish religion and/or practices and/or ethnicity and/or culture.

Spot the difference

Dean Phillip Bell has documented and enumerated a number of categories of causes for anti-Jewish sentiment and behavior. Socio-psychological explanations focus on stigma and scapegoating via projection of guilt and displaced aggression; ethnic explanations associate marginalization or negative representation of Jews with perceived ethnic and cultural differences.[2]


1. Pogroms and Riots: German Press Responses to Anti-Jewish Violence in Germany and Russia, (1881–1882), Peter Lang, 2010, pp. 18-19. The establishment of universal manhood suffrage and legal equality for Jews in Germany in the 1860s and 1870s gave way to the rise of political anti-Semitism to a degree not witnessed before. In Russia too, as a consequence of the reform era (1855-1881), the 'Jewish Question' became one of the most hotly debated topics. In 1881 and 1882 the anti-Semitic climate in Germany and Russia culminated in anti-Jewish pogroms sweeping over parts of Prussia and Southern Russia. Weinberg has explored the heated debate which unfolded in 1881 and 1882 in the German press in response to such anti-Jewish violence.
2. Jews in the Early Modern World, Rowman & Littlefield, 2008, p. 212. The study of early modern history has exploded in the last several decades. Many new historical sources have been identified and examined and a host of exciting studies, employing a wide range of innovative methodologies, have been produced. Scholars of Jewish history have begun to ask to what extent the early modern period had a Jewish dimension; they have also begun to reconsider the nature of traditional periodization of Jewish history. Jews in the Early Modern World attempts to synthesize some of this new research and present it in a broader comparative and global perspective. Jews in the Early Modern World argues that the years between 1400 and 1700 represented a discrete, cohesive and important period in Jewish history. Given the significant demographic shifts that began just before and ended just after this period, remarkable changes occurred in the history and experiences of Jews around the world. This volume begins with a broad context of Jewish experiences under medieval Christianity and Islam. It then turns to the early modern period, first providing an overview of Jewish demography and settlement. Next, the nature and structure of Jewish community and social structures in the early modern period are explored. In the final two chapters, this book presents a broad overview of Jewish religious and cultural life and Jewish relations with non-Jews throughout the early modern period.

The Living Cross

Additional Resources
Arendt, Hannah. Reflections on Literature and Culture, Stanford UP, 2007. As one of the foremost public intellectuals of the twentieth century, Hannah Arendt is well known for her writings on political philosophy. Less familiar are her significant contributions to cultural and literary criticism. This edition brings together for the first time Arendt’s reflections on literature and culture. The essays include previously unpublished and untranslated material drawn from half a century of engagement with the works of European and American authors, poets, journalists, and literary critics, including such diverse figures as Proust, Melville, Auden, and Brecht. See esp. #9. The Jew as Pariah: A Hidden Tradition.
Berlet, Chip. Conspiracism, New Internationalist, 372, October 2004
Ma'anit, Adam. A Human Balance, New Internationalist, 372, October 2004
McLean, James. Judeophobia, 2012
P., G. La naturaleza de la judeofobia (Judeophobia), 2000-1.
Schäfer, Peter. Judeophobia: Attitudes toward the Jews in the Ancient World, Harvard UP, 1998. Taking a fresh look at what the Greeks and Romans thought about Jews and Judaism, Peter Schäfer locates the origin of anti-Semitism in the ancient world. Judeophobia firmly establishes Hellenistic Egypt as the generating source of anti-Semitism, with roots extending back into Egypt's pre-Hellenistic history. A pattern of ingrained hostility toward an alien culture emerges when Schäfer surveys an illuminating spectrum of comments on Jews and their religion in Greek and Roman writings, focusing on the topics that most interested the pagan classical world: the exodus or, as it was widely interpreted, expulsion from Egypt; the nature of the Jewish god; food restrictions, in particular abstinence from pork; laws relating to the sabbath; the practice of circumcision; and Jewish proselytism. He then probes key incidents, two fierce outbursts of hostility in Egypt: the destruction of a Jewish temple in Elephantine in 410 BCE and the riots in Alexandria in 38 CE. Asking what fueled these attacks on Jewish communities, the author discovers deep-seated ethnic resentments. It was from Egypt that hatred of Jews, based on allegations of impiety, xenophobia, and misanthropy, was transported first to Syria-Palestine and then to Rome, where it acquired a new element: fear of this small but distinctive community. To the hatred and fear, ingredients of Christian theology were soon added—a mix all too familiar in Western history.
State of Exile
Taylor, Sue, curator. Anti-Semitism through the Ages, Scoop.it, 2012
Fear the Jew! - Dan Wyman's Antisemitica Books Collection

What kind og Hebrew is this? Nonsensical inscriptions made of pseudo-Hebrew characters can be found in the Jews' scrolls and banners depicted in the Triumph of the Church over the Synagogue, 1450 (Museo del Prado, Madrid).

Some More Resources
Individuo y otredad | Otherness
Der Stürmer Imagery
A Rumor about the Jews
Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews
La Judeofobia
Origins: Jewish Immigrants in Argentina
The Changing Face of Antisemitism
The Devil and the Jews
The Last Jew
Why the Jews?


Beyond Judeophobia

Because that unto them were commited the oracles of God.
Romans 3:2

Scattered by God's almighty hand,
Afflicted and forlorn,
Sad wanderers from their pleasant Land,
Do Judah's children mourn;
And e'en in Christian countries, few
Breathe thoughts of pity for the Jew.

Yet listen, Gentile, do you love
The Bible's precious page?
Then let your heart with kindness move
To Israel's heritage;
Who traced those lines of love for you?
Each sacred writer was a Jew.

And then as years and ages passed,
And Nations rose and fell,
Though clouds and darkness oft were cast
O'er captive Israel
The oracles of God for you
Were kept in safety by the Jew.

And when the great Redeemer came
For guilty man to bleed.
He did not take an angel's name,
No, born of Abraham's seed,
Jesus, who gave His life for you—
The gentle Saviour — was a Jew.

And though His own received Him not,
And turned in pride away,
Whence is the Gentile's happier lot?
Are you more just than they?
No! God in pity turned to you—
Have you no pity for the Jew?

Go, then, and bend your knee to pray
For Israel's ancient race;
Ask the dear Saviour every day
To call them by His grace.
Go, for a debt of love is due
From Christian Gentiles to the Jew.


Real Hebrew. A Dead Sea Scroll, Holy Land, 120 BCE.