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July 8, 2014 5:34 pm

Call Anti-Semites What They Are – Jew Haters

avatar by Abe Novick

Pink Floyd member Roger Waters, an avowed anti-Semite. Photo: Photo by Jethro via Wikimedia Commons.

While actual anti-Semitism (hating Jews) will likely never be eliminated, we should stop using the phrase.

Do a Jay Leno “Jaywalk“ and ask people on the street what a Semite is, and I bet they’ll look at you with a befuddled expression. But it’s not just the hoi polloi who’d stumble. Honestly, have you ever met anyone who identified themselves as a Semite?

That’s because it’s mainly used as a term of antipathy, with the “anti” prefix, aimed at those who hold ill will towards Jews. But then why not just call it what it is, without any confusion or ambiguity – Jew hatred. I think most people would understand what that is.

Besides, if you use the term “Semite,” Arabs also claim to be Semites – and if you’ve ever gone down that path, it leads to a whole side-debate about who really is a “Semite” when the only point of using the term in the first place was to associate it with Jews and to establish that anyone who is anti-Semitic is anti-Jew.

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Moreover, because Arabs and Muslims can be and are Jew haters too, then if they’re Semites, logically it’s hard to refer to them as anti-Semites.

Look it up in any dictionary and anti-Semitism is defined as the prejudice, discrimination, and hatred of Jews as a national, ethnic, religious, or racial group. But did you know it was first coined by a German racist and journalist, named Wilhelm Marr, way back in the 19th century? It could be translated as “Judenhass” but Marr was aiming for a more scientific sounding term and voila, Antisemitismus (though it sounds a little like Merry Christmas) caught on. Oy vey.

Aside from the dirty linen sewn into its’ etymological lineage and using a term that a racist invented – we live in the 21st century where we get to the point in 140 characters or less. We call it as it is. The flowery poetry of Lord Byron gave way to Hemingway a long time ago. Let’s call anti-Semites what they are – Jew haters.

Abe Novick is a writer and communications consultant and can be reached at This article was originally published by The Jerusalem Post.

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