Hate starts small. The seeds of hatred are often unwittingly planted in childhood and develop deep roots and strong branches over a lifetime of apathy, ignorance, or acquiescence. Hatred toward people who hold different religious, spiritual, or nonreligious belief is not new. Anti-Semitism is a form of religious hatred which is focused upon Jews and has existed, without ceasing, for over twenty-three centuries. It is so prevalent throughout the world that it exists in places with almost no Jewish populations. Its universality and enduring intensity, together with its capacity to evolve has succeeded in creating a climate of tacit anti-Semitic acquiescence or ignorance, so ingrained within our social lexicon that most people erroneously assume that anti-Semitism no longer exists.
The insidious nature of anti-Semitism ensures that the most consciously religiously tolerant among us, those who harbor no known prejudicial biases against Jews, may not be aware of holding any unconscious anti-Semitic feelings toward Jews. Disturbingly, anti-Semitism is an evolving form of religious hatred, whose presence is currently experiencing an alarming worldwide resurgence. Overt and violent forms of anti-Semitism still endure, although modern anti-Semitism has found expression through the frequent use of covert or subtle interpretations of religious hatred, propagated through outlets such as social media, and often exemplified through the use of microaggressions and derogatory stereotypes.
Anti-Semitism is a challenging and often divisive topic, frequently met with vigorous pushback by those who deny its importance or existence. Regrettably, anti-Semitism is not a resolved footnote in our collective past, nor is it simply a Jewish problem that we can politely ignore. It is an evolving litmus test for hatred of all kinds. Denying that anti-Semitism exists is actually a form of anti-Semitism.