Geography of antisemitism

This is a list of countries where antisemitic sentiment has been experienced.

Africa

Algeria

Upon independence in 1962 only Muslims were permitted Algerian citizenship, and 95% of Algeria's 140,000 Jewish population left. Since 1870 (briefly revoked by Vichy France in 1940), most Jews in Algeria had French citizenship, and they mainly went to France, with some going to Israel.

By 1969, fewer than 1,000 Jews were still living in Algeria.[1] By 1975 the government had seized all but one of the country's synagogues and converted them to mosques or libraries.[2]

Cameroon

In 2019, deputy justice minister Jean de Dieu Momo advanced an antisemitic canard during prime time on Cameroon Radio Television, and suggested that Jewish people had brought the holocaust upon themselves.[3][4]

Egypt

Professor Peter Schafer of the Freie University of Berlin has argued that antisemitism was first spread by "the Greek retelling of ancient Egyptian prejudices". In view of the anti-Jewish writings of the Egyptian priest Manetho, Schafer suggests that antisemitism may have emerged "in Egypt alone".[5] According to the 1st century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus,[6] Manetho, a Hellenistic Egyptian chronicler and priest, in his books on Egyptian history, alleges that in the 3rd century BCE, Moses was not a Jew, but an Egyptian renegade priest called Osarseph, and portrays the Exodus as the expulsion of a leper colony. Josephus argues that Manetho's claims are inconsistent.

In 629 the Roman emperor Heraclius I. had driven the Jews from Jerusalem. This was followed by a massacre of Jews throughout the empire—in Egypt, aided by the Copts, who had old scores to settle with the Jews, dating from the Persian conquest of Alexandria at the time of Byzantine Emperor Anastasius I (502) and of the Persian general Shahin (617), when the Jews assisted the conquerors in fighting against the Christians.

The mad caliph Al-Ḥakim (996-1020) vigorously applied the Pact of Omar, and compelled the Jews to wear bells and to carry in public the wooden image of a calf. A street in the city, Al-Jaudariyyah, was inhabited by Jews. Al-Ḥakim, hearing that they were accustomed to mock him in verses, had the whole quarter burned down.

Under the Bahri dynasty (1250–1390), one of the Mamluk dynasties, the Jews led a comparatively quiet existence; though they had at times to contribute heavily toward the maintenance of the vast military equipment, and were harassed by the cadis and ulemas of these strict Muslims. Al-Maqrizi relates that the first great Mameluke, Sultan Baibars (Al-Malik al-Thahir (1260–77), doubled the tribute paid by the "ahl al-dhimmah." At one time he had resolved to burn all the Jews, a ditch having been dug for that purpose; but at the last moment he repented, and instead exacted a heavy tribute, during the collection of which many perished.

In 1324 the Jews were accused of arson at Fostat and Cairo; they had to exculpate themselves by a payment of 50,000 gold pieces. Under the Burji Mamelukes the Franks again attacked Alexandria (1416), and the laws against the Jews were once more strictly enforced by Sheik al-Mu'ayyid (1412–21); by Ashraf Bars Bey (1422–38), because of a plague which decimated the population in 1438; by Al-Ẓahir Jaḳmaḳ (1438–53); and by Ḳa'iṭ-Bey (1468–95). The lastnamed is referred to by Obadiah of Bertinoro.[7] The Jews of Cairo were compelled to pay 75,000 gold pieces.

In 1948, approximately 75,000 Jews lived in Egypt. About 100 remain today, mostly in Cairo. In 1948, Jewish neighborhoods in Cairo suffered bomb attacks that killed at least 70 Jews. Hundreds of Jews were arrested and had their property confiscated. The 1954 Lavon Affair, in which Israelis and Egyptian Jews were arrested for bombing Egyptian and American targets served as a pretext for further persecution of the remaining Jewish community in Egypt. After the 1956 Suez Crisis, Egypt expelled over 25,000 Jews, confiscated their property, and about 3,000 were imprisoned. About 1,000 more were imprisoned or detained. In 1967, Jews were detained and tortured, and Jewish homes were confiscated as emigration continued. Egypt was once home of one of the most dynamic Jewish communities in their diaspora. Caliphs in the ninth-eleventh centuries CE exercised various repressive policies, culminating in the destruction and mass murder of the Jewish quarter in Cairo in 1012. Conditions varied between then and the advent of the Ottoman Empire in 1517, when they deteriorated again. There were at least six blood libel persecutions in cities between 1870 and 1892.

In more recent times, the fraudulent Protocols of the Elders of Zion have been published and promoted as though they were authentic historical records, fueling antisemitic sentiments in Egyptian public opinion.

Henry Ford's antisemitic treatise The International Jew has recently[when?] been published in Egypt, with distinctly antisemitic imagery on the cover.[8]

Libya

The area now known as Libya was the home of one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world, dating back to at least 300 BCE.

The Shoah (Hebrew word for catastrophe; genocide of the Jews during World War II): In the late 1930s, the pro-Nazi Fascist Italian regime began passing antisemitic laws. As a result of these laws, Jews were fired from government jobs, some were dismissed from government schools, and their citizenship papers were stamped with the words "Jewish race." Despite this repression, 25% of the population of Tripoli was still Jewish in 1941 and 44 synagogues were maintained in the city. In 1942, German troops fighting the Allies in North Africa occupied the Jewish quarter of Benghazi, plundering shops and deporting more than 2,000 Jews across the desert. Sent to work in labor camps, more than one-fifth of this group of Jews perished.

In 1948, about 38,000 Jews lived there.

A series of pogroms started in November 1945, when more than 140 Jews were killed in Tripoli and most synagogues in the city looted. The pogroms continued in June 1948, when 15 Jews were killed and 280 Jewish homes destroyed.[9]

Upon Libya's independence in 1951, most of the Jewish community emigrated from Libya. After the Suez Crisis in 1956, another series of pogroms forced all but about 100 Jews to flee. When Muammar al-Gaddafi came to power in 1969, all remaining Jewish property was confiscated and all debts to Jews cancelled.

Although the main synagogue in Tripoli was renovated in 1999, it has not reopened for services. The last Jew in Libya, Esmeralda Meghnagi died in February 2002. Israel is home to about 40,000 Jews of Libyan descent, who maintain unique traditions.[10][11]

Morocco

Jewish communities, in Islamic times often living in ghettos known as mellah, have existed in Morocco for at least 2,000 years. Intermittent large scale massacres (such as that of 6,000 Jews in Fez in 1033, over 100,000 Jews in Fez and Marrakesh in 1146 and again in Marrakesh in 1232)[12][13] were accompanied by systematic discrimination through the years. During the 13th through the 15th centuries Jews were appointed to a few prominent positions within the government, typically to implement decisions. A number of Jews, fleeing the expulsion from Spain and Portugal, settled in Morocco in the 15th century and afterwards, many moving on to the Ottoman Empire.

In 1875, 20 Jews were killed by a mob in Demnat, Morocco; elsewhere in Morocco, Jews were attacked and killed in the streets in broad daylight.[14]

The imposition of a French protectorate in 1912 alleviated much of the discrimination.

The Shoah in French Morocco. While the pro-Nazi Vichy regime during World War II passed discriminatory laws against Jews, King Muhammad prevented deportation of Jews to death camps (although Jews with French, as opposed to Moroccan, citizenship, being directly subject to Vichy law, were still deported.)

In 1948, approximately 265,000 Jews lived in Morocco. Between 5,000 and 8,000 live there now, mostly in Casablanca, but also in Fez and other cities.

In June 1948, soon after Israel was established and in the midst of the first Arab-Israeli war, riots against Jews broke out in Oujda and Djerada, killing 44 Jews. In 1948-9, 18,000 Jews left the country for Israel. After this, Jewish emigration continued (to Israel and elsewhere), but slowed to a few thousand a year. Through the early fifties, Zionist organizations encouraged emigration, particularly in the poorer south of the country, seeing Moroccan Jews as valuable contributors to the Jewish State:

...These Jews constitute the best and most suitable human element for settlement in Israel's absorption centers. There were many positive aspects which I found among them: first and foremost, they all know (their agricultural) tasks, and their transfer to agricultural work in Israel will not involve physical and mental difficulties. They are satisfied with few (material needs), which will enable them to confront their early economic problems. (Yehuda Grinker (an organizer of Jewish emigration from the Atlas), The Emigration of Atlas Jews to Israel, Tel Aviv, The Association of Moroccan Immigrants in Israel, 1973.[2])

In 1955, Morocco attained independence. Jews occupied several political positions, including three Members of Parliament and a Minister of Posts and Telegraphs. However, emigration to Israel jumped from 8,171 in 1954 to 24,994 in 1955, increasing further in 1956. Beginning in 1956, emigration to [3] In 1961, the government informally relaxed the laws on emigration to Israel; over the three following years, more than 80,000 Moroccan Jews emigrated there. By 1967, only 60,000 Jews remained in Morocco.

The Six-Day War in 1967 led to increased Arab-Jewish tensions worldwide, including Morocco. By 1971, the Jewish population was down to 35,000; however, most of this wave of emigration went to Europe and North America rather than Israel.

Despite their current small numbers, Jews continue to play a notable role in Morocco; the king retains a Jewish senior adviser, André Azoulay, and Jewish schools and synagogues receive government subsidies. However, Jewish targets have sometimes been attacked (notably in Al-Qaeda's bombing of a Jewish community center in Casablanca, see Casablanca Attacks), and there is sporadic antisemitic rhetoric from radical Islamist groups. Late King Hassan II's invitations for Jews to return have not been taken up by the people who emigrated.

South Africa

While South Africa is better known for the apartheid system of racial discrimination against blacks, antisemitism has been a feature of that country's history since Europeans first set foot ashore on the Cape Peninsula. In the years 1652–1795 – a period twice as long as the 20th-century reign of the National Party – Jews were not allowed to settle at the Cape. Subsequent Cape administrations - Batavian and British - were more progressive. An 1868 Act would sanction religious discrimination.[15] Although antisemitism did not disappear in the 19th century, it would reach its apotheosis in the years leading up to World War II. Inspired by the rise of national socialism in Germany the Ossewabrandwag (OB) - whose membership accounted for almost 25% of the 1940 Afrikaner population - and the National Party faction New Order would champion a more programmatic solution to the 'Jewish problem'.[16] The Simon Wiesenthal Center reports that these two groups advocated three mechanisms: Jews who had entered the country after 1933 were to be repatriated; Jews who had arrived prior to 1933 would be regarded as foreign nationals; lastly, a system regulating Jewish numbers in business and the professions would be instituted.[17] The same report lists some of the reasons South African gentiles gave for disliking Jews: too many of them in commerce and professions; profiteering; black market offences; loud and ostentatious; are apart and different; buy up the land; and most communists are Jews.

Tunisia

Jews have lived in Tunisia for at least 2300 years. In the 13th century, Jews were expelled from their homes in Kairouan and were ultimately restricted to ghettos, known as hara. Forced to wear distinctive clothing, several Jews earned high positions in the Tunisian government. Several prominent international traders were Tunisian Jews. From 1855 to 1864, Muhammad Bey relaxed dhimmi laws, but reinstated them in the face of anti-Jewish riots that continued at least until 1869.

During the Second World War, the Shoah reached French Tunisia. Tunisia, as the only Middle Eastern country under direct Nazi control during World War II, was also the site of racist antisemitic measures activities such as the yellow star, prison camps, deportations, and other persecution.

In 1948, approximately 105,000 Jews lived in Tunisia. About 1,500 remain today, mostly in Djerba, Tunis, and Zarzis. Following Tunisia's independence from France in 1956, a number of anti-Jewish policies led to emigration, of which half went to Israel and the other half to France. After attacks in 1967, Jewish emigration both to Israel and France accelerated. There were also attacks in 1982, 1985, and most recently in 2002 when a bomb in Djerba took 21 lives (most of them German tourists) near the local synagogue, in a terrorist attack claimed by Al-Qaeda.

The Tunisian government makes an active effort to protect its Jewish minority now and visibly supports its institutions.