Facing History and Yourself
Hatreds Are Always Current Events; They Reflect the Fears and Anxieties of the Times.
For centuries, religion and later ethnicity justified the hatred of Jews. In the 1700s, when scientific thinking began to take hold in many societies, the myth that Jews belonged to a distinct and dangerous “race” suddenly gained favor. That myth gave individuals and governments a new rationale for discrimination and persecution. Now Jews were seen not as a religious or ethnic group but as a separate and dangerous “race”—a distinct group of human beings with inherited physical traits and moral qualities that set them apart from other “races.” By the late 1900s, racism was no longer in vogue. Now antisemites increasingly rationalized their prejudices by warning of the dangers of “Jewish nationalism.”