Anti-Jewish prejudice is one of the most ancient and persistent manifestations of intolerance, which in the modern era has taken on the form of racism. Indeed, anti-Judaism is particularly virulent and emblematic: since the essence of racism consists in going from criticism (or exhaltation) of contingent or individual features to a general evaluation about an entire people, it has fed off anti-Hebrew sentiments that have accumulated over centuries. Thus the charge of God-killing has been replaced with that of domination of the world through money and the demonization of the Israeli state. Conflict in the Middle East represents the contemporary form in which the still unresolved Hebrew question is posed. A touchstone of intolerance, this vexing questions concerns all of us.
Giorgio Israel teaches History of Mathematics at the University of Rome.