ANTI-SEMITISM IN THE MODERN PERIOD AND THE PRESENT
Publié le 02/12/2021
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The movement of thought known as the Enlightenment(the 17th century to the 18th century)changed the position of Jews in European society.It taught that all human beings, by virtue ofbeing human, enjoyed certain basic civil rights.According to the American "Declaration of Independence,"these rights included "life, liberty, andthe pursuit of happiness." Infl uenced by this kindof thinking, one European country after anotherremoved legal restrictions that had been placedon Jews. Especially during the 19th century Jewsbegan in theory to participate equally as full membersof European society.In the late 19th century, however, a backlasharose. Some politicians used ideas about race andgenetics to develop an anti-Semitic program. Theyattributed a barrage of vices to Jews and lobbiedfor the reimposition of traditional restrictions. Inthe 20th century this backlash attained horrid proportionsin the Nazi HOLOCAUST.Anti-Semitism persists today, but amongAmericans and Europeans overt anti-Semitism isgenerally confi ned to marginal groups such as theKu Klux Klan and the neo-Nazis. The establishmentof the state of Israel in 1948 has promptedthe rise of anti-Semitism in the Islamic world,where it had previously been less prevalent. In theUnited States, anti-Semitic statements by leadersof the Nation of Islam (see ISLAM, NATION OF) havecontributed to tensions between the Jewish andAfrican-American communities.
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