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Gallery of Antisemitism: Example 1

Religious Antisemitism: Responsibility for the death of Jesus Christ

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One of the main forms of religious antisemitism is the concept of Jews being responsible for Christ’s death. This stems from some interpretations of a passage in the New Testament. Once Jesus was taken to be crucified, the Jewish crowd supposedly shouted for him to be crucified and for another prisoner to be released. When he died they shouted, “May his blood be on us and our children” Matthew 27:24–25. This was taken by many Christian theologians to mean that all Jews (and their descendants) accepted guilt, rather than just the particular Jews present. There are a number of other passages in the New Testament that are often interpreted in an antisemitic way, for example, when ‘The Synagogue of Satan’ is discussed in the Book of Revelation. These interpretations of the New Testament have led to discrimination against Jews by Christians throughout the millennia; they were treated as second class citizens and not allowed to do certain jobs. The Nazis are just the most extreme example of countless antisemitic governments who have stirred up hatred of Jews by saying they killed Jesus.

This is one of the very oldest forms of antisemitism and has not disappeared. It is likely that other forms of antisemitism have stemmed from it.

It is still causing controversy as shown in Widdecombe’s article below about Mel Gibson’s film The Passion of The Christ.

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