How The Media Fans The Flames Of Anti-Semitism

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How the media fans the flames of Anti-Semitism

How the media fans the flames of Anti-Semitism

Judaism is one of the oldest monotheistic religions dating back well over 3000 years. (JPPPI, 2009) Often identified with Israel, Judaism is practiced by many different cultures and races throughout the world. From almost the beginning of Judaism, Jews have been discriminated and persecuted by people often today referred as anti-Semites. Anti-Semitism has become a universal term defined as any form of prejudice attitudes or attacks toward Jews based on their ethnicity or religion. Throughout history Jews have often been made the scapegoat for many of societies shortcomings and problems such as, economic hardships, wars and discrimination. In addition, many anti-Semitic attacks have been made on Jews. The burning of synagogues, massacres, and expulsion are among some of the many different forms of anti-Semitic attacks that have been made. Jews have endured centuries of persecution dating back to 1300 B.C., from the biblical story of Moses leading Jews out of bondage from Egypt to the 20th century Holocaust during World War II. Unfortunately, anti-Semitism persists to this day. However, now the modern media often reinforces age-old stereotypes against Jews. In our current era the media has become the bridge between our own socially constructed reality and the reality that is unknown to us. Due to representations made by the media, society often forms preconceptions on things that they have not experienced or seen yet. Specifically, the media plays a significant role in how society perceives Jews. What are the reasons for anti-Semitism and how does the media feed into these issues? The economical gain that Jews have obtained and the religious conflicts between Jews and other religious groups are two significant reasons for much of anti-Semitism. In addition, the media, through television, newspapers, radio, and the internet, often feeds into slanders, false representations, and biased portrayals of Jews. We will first explore some economical and religious factors that have influenced anti-Semitism and then discuss how the media feeds into these factors.

Around the beginning of the Common Era, Jews were an agricultural people just like any other identifiable group during that time period. From 200 A.D., Jews started to move off the farm and engage in other urbanized occupations such as finance, crafts, and medical occupations. The Jews had a unique religion as compared to other religions at the time, where as they had an obligation to be literate. Literacy was imposed because a good Jew was one that read the Torah, the Jewish doctrine, four times a week, and in addition, a good Jewish parent had to educate their children to do the same. As a result of education being implemented throughout the generations, in the centuries followed, Jews engaged in better occupations and began to occupy middle and upper elite classes. (Botticini and Eckstein 2004)

Today the Jewish community is made up of roughly between 13-14 million Jews with about 43% living in the U.S. and about 41% living in ...
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