What is Antisemitism?

Social Media Antisemitism in the 21st Century

Defining Antisemitism

Antisemitism is a form of hate that specifically targets the Jews; it was a devastating force that fueled the Holocaust and remains prevalent to this day. The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) defines antisemitism as this:

Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

This perception can manifest itself in a number of ways, including accusing the Jews of inventing or exaggerating the Holocaust, and “calling for, aiding, or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or an extremist view of religion.” According to B’nai Brith Canada, 2,610 antisemitic incidents were recorded in 2020, making it the “fifth consecutive record-setting year” for antisemitism in Canada.


Historical Antisemitism

Antisemitism, however, is not a new problem, with its roots tracing back to even before the time of the Roman Empire. It has reared its head throughout history, It has reared its head throughout history, from claims of deicide (saying that Jews are “Christ killers”) and blood libels (accusations that Jews kill Christians, particularly Christian children, to use their blood for religious rituals) to physical attacks against the Jewish people. During the interwar period in Germany, Jews were scapegoated as the reason for the nation’s problems; considered inferior and not part of the “superior Aryan race.” Yet, these ideologies were not limited to Germany. Even in Winnipeg, groups such as the Canadian Nationalists took a similar stance, propagating these views through print.