Anti-Semitism is prejudice, hatred of, or discrimination against Jews for reasons connected to their Jewish heritage. A person who holds such positions is called an "anti-Semite". It is a form of racism.
While the term's etymology might suggest that anti-Semitism is directed against all Semitic people, the term was coined in the late 19th century in Germany as a more scientific-sounding term for Judenhass, and that has been its normal use since then. For the purposes of a 2005 U.S. governmental report, anti-Semitism was considered hatred toward Jews—individually and as a group—that can be attributed to the Jewish religion and/or ethnicity.
Anti-Semitism may be manifested in many ways, ranging from expressions of hatred of or discrimination against individual Jews to organized violent attacks by mobs, state police, or even military attacks on entire Jewish communities. Although the term did not come into common usage until the 19th century, it is now also applied to historic anti-Jewish incidences. Notable instances of persecution include the pogroms which preceded the First Crusade in 1096, the expulsion from England in 1290, the massacres of Spanish Jews in 1391, the persecutions of the Spanish Inquisition, the expulsion from Spain in 1492, Cossack massacres in Ukraine, various pogroms in Russia, the Dreyfus affair, the Holocaust and official Soviet anti-Jewish policies.
Religious anti-Semitism, also known as anti-Judaism, shifts the focus from racial hatred to that of religious belief. Under this version of anti-Semitism, attacks would often stop if Jews stopped practicing Judaism or changed their public faith, especially by conversion to the official or right religion, and sometimes, liturgical exclusion of Jewish converts (the case of Christianized Marranos or Iberian Jews in the late 15th century and 16th century convicted of secretly practising Judaism or Jewish customs).
Although the origins of anti-Semitism are rooted in the Judeo-Christian conflict, religious antisemitism, other forms of anti-Semitism have developed in modern times. The underlying premise of economic antisemitism is that Jews perform harmful economic activities or that economic activities become harmful when they are performed by Jews. Linking Jews and money underpins the most damaging and lasting Antisemitic canards. Antisemites claim that Jews control the world finances, a theory promoted in the fraudulent