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  Cape Town Holocaust Centre > Exhibition > Racism and Discrimination

Racism and Discrimination

Antisemitism

A dislike of Jews has a long history. Hostility towards Jews emerged in the ancient world when the Jews rejected the pagan gods. In the early centuries after the death of Christ, competition for converts created tension and resulted in further antagonism towards Jews.

In the 19th century new ‘racial’ theories emerged by which physical attributes such as skin colour and head size were said to determine inherent qualities such as ability and talent. Although there is no scientific basis for these theories, Jews came to be defined in racial or genetic terms and this added to the age-old religious antagonism towards Jews.

 

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