Recently, American rapper Kanye West lost lucrative contracts with the likes of Balenciaga, Adidas and Gap after he posted an anti-Semitic message on social media.

 

What is ‘anti-semitism’?

  • Anti-Semitism refers to any form of prejudice against the Jewish people. However, the term itself is a misnomer as Semitic designates a language group, not a race.
  • Though anti-Semitism can linguistically be used to describe a prejudice against speakers of the Semitic languages (including Arabs and Ethiopians,) in practical terms, it is commonly used specifically to pertain to Jews.
  • Types of Anti-Semitism
      • Racial anti-Semitism, most commonly associated with the Nazis, stems from a belief that Jews are a distinct, inferior race with inherent genetic traits. This form usually manifests in the belief that Jews need to be exterminated altogether.
      • Religious anti-Semitism traces its roots to the early days of Christianity and is accompanied by a notion that Jews should be converted to other faiths.
      • Social anti-Semitism is a form of exclusion of Jews from social situations. For example, a practice was reported in 1959 which claimed that Jews in America were routinely excluded from golf and sports clubs.
      • Economic anti-Semitism posits that Jews have a disproportionate degree of control over global and national financial institutions, and that their stronghold over those institutions ought to be diminished.
      • Political anti-Semitism is the attempt to keep Jews out of power. It is often conflated with anti-Zionism, a movement that denies the Jewish right to a national homeland.