The confusing nature of the term “Antisemitism” lies in who can be classified as a Semitic person. For a Christian American, trying to gain more of an understanding of the nature of racism and prejudice toward Jews and Muslims, the confusion lies in the nature of the classification of humans as being “Semitic”.
“A member of a group of Semitic-speaking peoples of the Near East and northern Africa, including the Arabs, Arameans, Babylonians, Carthaginians, Ethiopians, Hebrews, and Phoenicians.” 1
Yet Anti Semitism is defined as hatred or opposition to Jews, and only Jews, as manifested in oppression, denial of rights, expulsion, killing, or other methods of expressing hate, racism and prejudice. This has become the official and standard definition of the term.
It has become even more confusing as anti Arab and anti Muslim racism and prejudice is heavily on the rise, with expressions of hate and actions of hate accompanying the same negative myths and rumors that are aimed at Jews.
While Muslims are recently accused of being aligned with foreign terrorist interests because of Muslims who enacted the worst act of mass murder on American Soil since Pearl Harbor, there are also similarities in the justifications that antisemitic activists use for their behavior and attitudes toward Jews.
The similarities are endless. Early American Jews were accused of trying to take over our government and to impose the written and oral law of the Torah on Americans. They were accused of worshiping Satan, engaging in Satanic ritual, and otherwise being agents of evil. They were associated with being cold blooded money lenders and of controlling the economy.
But the paradox lies in the Judeo-Christian tradition. The truth is that Christian America sees Judaism and Israel as the heart and foundation of it’s own religious traditions, faith and beliefs.
There is no American connection to Muslim religious traditions and history to rival the Judeo-Christian religious bonds.
So, while in one form of classification, the term “Semitic” applies to many peoples of the Middle East and North Africa, it is clear that the term “Antisemitic” legitimately applies only to racist beliefs and acts of hatred toward Jews and Israel. Antisemitism is manifested in acts of racism, oppression, discrimination, hate, vandalism, false witness, and murder. Antisemitism and other sentiments by one religious group against another is manifested in false accusations of Satan worship, lack of patriotism, being out of favor with God, and of worshiping other gods, ironically even by Christians who adhere to the teachings of the Old Testament Bible.
2. Simon Wiesenthal Center