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Antisemitic boycotts

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Title: Antisemitic boycotts  
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Antisemitic boycotts

Antisemitic boycotts are organized boycotts directed against Jewish people to exclude them economic, political or cultural life.[1]


The Age of Enlightenment brought with it notions of legal equality in Europe that led to Jewish citizens being granted equal rights, first in France, following the French Revolution and then over the course of the Nineteenth Century, across Western Europe. This process was opposed by antisemites, often led by extremist Christian religious groups and movements, who regarded Jewish people as morally inferior or were threatened by their supposed acumen. There were a variety of movements calling for boycotts of Jews and discrimination based round universities (often in the form of Jewish educational quotas and Numerus clausus) was particularly prevalent. In almost every country in Europe, boycotts ultimately led to the revocation of civil rights, murder and systematic extermination.

In Hungary, agitation for boycotts began in 1875 when Jews received equal rights.[2] From the 1880s there were calls in some of the Catholic press for Jews to be boycotted.[3] The government passed laws limiting Jewish economic activity from 1938 onwards.[4]

In Romania the constitution was amended in 1866 to exclude non-Christians from acquiring citizenship.[5] In 1893, Jews were excluded from the use of publicly funded primary schools in 1898 this was extended to Secondary Schools and Universities. Until 1904 Jewish testimony could not be used as evidence against a Christian. Romanian Jews were granted citizenship in 1923, however in 1937 Jews were removed from professional organizations and steps begun to remove them from citizenship. By 1940 Jews were non-citizens and inter-marriage was banned.

The head of the Catholic Church, [7] The government stopped hiring Jews and promoted a boycott of Jewish businesses from 1935.[8] Kosher slaughter was banned in Poland in 1936, in Germany in 1930[9] (or 1933[22]), following the similar legislation enacted in many other European countries.

In Russia the government sought to compel Jews to leave the country or to convert. After a series of anti-Jewish pogroms in the Russian Empire following the assassination of Tsar Alexander II, towards that end in 1880 they were forbidden from purchasing land or taking mortgages (see the May Laws). Quotas limited Jewish access to educational institutions and from 1892 they were banned from participation in local elections and could constitute no more than 10% of company shareholders.[10]

Nazi SA paramilitaries outside Israel's Department Store in Berlin, holding signs saying: "Germans! Defend yourselves! Don't buy from Jews"

In 19th century Austria, [11]

The USSR, in addition to boycotting Israel, Rabbinical training and the teaching of Hebrew were banned. No Yiddish books were printed after 1948. Most synagogues were seized by the state and in many cases, there was a denial that the Nazis had targeted Jews. Publication of Hebrew Bibles was banned.[12] In the 1950s Krukhshev established quotas for Jews in Soviet Universities and the civil service.[13] although these were frequently not publicized, quotas for Jews were reported until the fall of the USSR.

In Ireland, Father John Creagh in Limerick campaigned against the town's small Jewish community in 1904, leading to a boycott of Jewish businesses and the departure of the Jewish population from the town.[14]

In the Ukraine, there was a boycott of Jews in Galicia, alleging Jewish support for Poland, while Poles in Galicia boycotted Jews for supporting Ukraine.[1] After the First World War the decline in Liberal values led to many boycotts being adopted. In 1921, the German student union, the Deutschen Hochschulring, barred Jews from membership. Since the bar was racial, it included Jews who had converted to Christianity.[15] The bar was challenged by the government leading to a referendum in which 76% of students voted for the exclusion.[15]

The Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses in Germany took place on 1 April 1933 as a response to the Jewish boycott of German goods which had started soon after Adolf Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor on 30 January 1933.[16]

It was the first of many measures against the Jews of Germany, which ultimately culminated in the "Final Solution". It was a state-managed campaign of ever-increasing harassment, arrests, systematic pillaging, forced transfer of ownership to Nazi party activists (managed by the Chamber of Commerce), and ultimately murder of owners defined as "Jews". In Berlin alone, there were 50,000 Jewish owned businesses.[17] By 1945 they all had Aryan owners.

In Palestine, the Arab leadership organized boycotts of Jewish businesses from 1929 onwards, with violence often directed at Arabs who did business with Jews.[18] The boycotts were publicized through anti-Semitic language and were accompanied by riots that the British authorities described as "clearly anti-Jewish."[19]

In Quebec, French-Canadian nationalists organized boycotts of Jews in the thirties.[20]

In the USA, Nazi supporters, such as Father Charles Coughlin (an Irish immigrant), agitated for a boycott of Jewish businesses. Coughlin's radio show attracted tens of millions of listeners and his supporters organized "Buy Christian" campaigns and attacked Jews.[21] Ivy League Universities restricted the numbers of Jews allowed admission.[22]

In the 2000s, the Anti-Defamation League and the Simon Wiesenthal Center), and scholars as driven by antisemitism.[24][25][26]

See also


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ From Prejudice to Persecution: A History of Austrian Anti-Semitism By Bruce F. Pauley page 201 North Carolina 1992
  12. ^
  13. ^ The Soviet Jewish Americans by Annelise Orleck, pp 40, Brandeis 1999
  14. ^ Jews in Twentieth Century Ireland by Dermot Keogh, Chapter 2
  15. ^ a b
  16. ^ Berel Lang, Philosophical Witnessing: The Holocaust as Presence, p.132
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ Betty Friedan and the Making of The Feminine Mystique: The American Left By Daniel Horowitz page 25 1998, Jerome Karabel, The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, Houghton Mifflin, 2005.
  23. ^
  24. ^ "Simon Wiesenthal Center Report: BDS 'a Thinly-Veiled, Anti-Israel and Anti-Semitic "Poison Pill."' The Algemeiner. 19 March 2013. 7 June 2013.
  25. ^ "Anti-Israel groups push product, performers boycott." USA Today. 17 March 2013. 8 June 2013.
  26. ^ "Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Resource Page." NGO Monitor. 14 July 2011. 1 June 2013.
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