Antisemitism during the French Second Empire

Antisemitism during the French Second Empire

Antisemitism during the French Second Empire

Antisemitism during the French Second Empire

Synopsis

Very little attention has been focused on French attitudes toward Jews between the French Revolution of 1789 and the Dreyfus Affair. This book fills that vacuum. Antisemitism During the French Second Empire analyzes the development of antisemitism in French life from 1850 to 1870. Based on archival material and contemporary press and journals the author traces through World War II to the present the antecedents of prejudice that poisoned French life during the Dreyfus Affair.

Excerpt

Antisemitism, defined as hostility to and dislike of Jews, has had a nefarious continuity in the evolving social and political institutions of western civilization. There are no weights and measures to define its parameters. The expression of prejudice can be established by barriers to assimilation or, as some have noted, by the denial of the maintenance and legitimacy of the ethnic religious community. The definition of antisemitism can and does take many shapes and forms within a context best described as anti-Jewish feeling. It can encompass those whose reasoning employs mildly prejudicial stereotypes, or it can be expressed in terms of a group's self-interest, or in institutional assertions of fixed and rigid attitudes about Jews, or finally, through an overt hostility acted out in. violent deeds.

Antisemitism has given rise to a variety of images, ideas, and themes, which have penetrated into many cultures and nations. For instance, in ancient times, Jews were perceived as a stiff-necked, stubborn people who were reviled because they clung to their ethnic identity and their own God. In the middle ages, the Christian Church portrayed the Jews as Satan's disciples or as infidels, subjecting them to hatred and scorn. Modern societies have interjected racial theories and social Darwinism.

Throughout history, social slights, pejorative comments, snobbery, as well as legal restrictions and economic barriers, have formed an integral part of the victimization of the Jews. They have been condemned for being devout, and equally criticized for not following the precepts of their faith. They have been hated because they were poor, and loathed when they were rich and successful. They have been condemned because they were international bankers and capitalists, but equally castigated as being the instigators of international socialism and communism. They have been accused of assimilating into the mainstream culture, and also condemned because they were too "clannish." In other words, Jews were the source . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.