anti-Semitismăn˝tē-sĕm´ĭtĭz˝əm, ăn˝tī– [key], form of prejudice against Jews, ranging from antipathy to violent hatred. Before the 19th cent., anti-Semitism was largely religious and was expressed in the later Middle Ages by sporadic persecutions and expulsions—notably the expulsion from Spain under Ferdinand and Isabella—and in severe economic and personal restrictions (see ghetto). However, since Jews were generally restricted to the pursuit of occupations that were taboo, such as moneylending, the sentiment was also economic in nature.
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