Antisemitism: History’s Oldest Hatred

by | January / February 2024

The horrific events of October 7, 2023, now known as Black Saturday, were tragic. However, one only needs to tune into the local news for a moment to realize the massacre of Black Saturday has somehow triggered an open season on Jewish people around the world. But while antisemitism is billowing like smoke from a gruesome fire, there is nothing new about the hatred of Jewish people.

The Anti-Defamation League has adopted a simple definition of antisemitism: “The belief or behavior hostile toward Jews just because they are Jewish.” Under this definition, the first example of antisemitism is found in Exodus 1. 

After Jacob had moved his family to Egypt, they grew strong and prosperous. Fearful they might rise up against him, the new pharaoh enslaved the children of Israel (Exod. 1:11). This condition persisted for 400 years until Moses came on the scene, and it would be another 30 years until G-d brought them out of bondage as a free and redeemed people. On the way out of Egypt, an incident occurred with Amalek. Though it is difficult to charge the Amalekites as being antisemitic (since we do not know from Scripture why they fought against Israel), one of the descendants of Agag, the king of the Amalekites, would later incite all of Persia to attempt genocide. 

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