"Antisemitism" is the name given to the form of racism practiced against the Jewish people. Though the literal interpretation of antisemitism would appear to denote hostility to all Semitic peoples, this is a fallacy. The term was originally coined in Germany in 1879 to describe the European anti-Jewish campaigns of that era, and it soon came to define the persecution or discrimination against Jews throughout the ages.
Hatred of the Jewish people is an age-old phenomenon, traditionally associated with expressions of xenophobia and religious intolerance. A different type of antisemitism can characterize each period of history. In modern times the roots of the problem can be found in the development of nationalistic, economic, social and racial ideologies combined with the completion of the emancipation process of the Jews in Western and Central Europe.
Antisemitism precipitated the Holocaust; during World War II over 6 million Jews, one third of the world Jewish population, were brutally murdered.
Modern antisemitism in Europe, after being repressed for decades, has erupted with greater fury in recent years in a new form: "anti-Zionism", or hatred of the State of Israel. This hatred is also a major factor in the severe antisemitism that exists in Arab countries today.