The hyphen, a rather innocuous punctuation mark, would hardly seem to be the focus of controversy. It is, however, when it comes to referring to Jew-hatred and Jew-haters. As you may have noticed, at AntisemitismExposed.org we decided to go with the unhyphenated version. (Exceptions: When anti-Semitism is used in published titles and direct quotes.) We were swayed by the discussion of the issue by Deborah Lipstadt in her 2019 book Antisemitism: Here and Now.
For one thing, she noted, the term (with a hyphen) was coined in 1879 by German Wilhelm Marr, himself a Jew-hater. For another, the hyphenated term implies there is something called “Semitism,” which there is not. (Arabs have falsely argued they cannot be antisemites since they themselves are Semites. The same argument has been made by notorious Jew-hater Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam.) Some Jews have abandoned both terms, choosing to characterize the haters as “anti-Jewish.” (Would the noun form be “He is an anti-Jew”? Unclear.) Linked below are two articles that discuss the question.
Quote: “The term “anti-Semite” was invented in Germany in 1879 by Wilhelm Marr in his pamphlet “The Way to Victory of Germanicism over Judaism” to refer to the anti-Jewish manifestations of the period and to give Jew-hatred a more scientific-sounding name.”
Sources: The Jerusalem Post (introduction and quotation)
Read “Antisemitism or anti-Semitism, that is the question: AP changes its style” ►
Read “Removing a Hyphen Won’t Stop Anti-Semitism” ►
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