Contrary to common belief, the foundation of anti-Semitism was laid not by Christianity but during the Roman empire. Prevailing discrimination against Jews started during the Roman empire because Judea and Samaria were its most rebellious provinces and considered Jews atheists as they believed in one god only.
Those who have read the New Testament closely and studied the political and religious situation in the Roman-occupied Jewish provinces of Judea and Samaria know that area was inflamed by rebellion against occupation. Religiously and politically motivated rebels, the Zealots, were the leading force of the Jewish resistance. Studying the actions of Jesus described in the Christian Bible rather than the politically motivated commentaries of the writers, it would be easy to come to the conclusion that the Jesus' group was, most likely, part of the resistance!
After the Romans destroyed the Second Temple in 70CE, spiritual and physical separation of Christianity from Judaism had already started: millions of Jews were dispersed throughout the Roman empire; some non-Jews, initially slaves, started joining early Christians, actually more of a Jewish sect, which propagated the message of hope and salvation. Cynically, the Romans imposed the Temple tax on Jews and, in spite of the danger of persecution, in order to avoid paying tax to Romans, many Christians denounced their Jewishness!
Only much later, in 313, when Rome was in the state of political disarray, in order to control the population of the empire, emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan, legalizing Christian worship. After that, Constantine kept the pagans fearful and cowed as he confiscated from their priests much of the wealth the pagan religions had accumulated. This strategy Christianity used quite often later against Jews as a new anti-Jewish trend emerged: Jewish synagogues were destroyed by Christian mobs in 387-388 and in 493-526. Thus, violent anti-Semitism is rooted in the beginnings of Christianity!
During the process of political and spiritual consolidation, it has become inconvenient for Rome to remain responsible for the slaying of the Christian prophet, Jesus. Therefore Jews were chosen as a scapegoat in highly politically motivated commentaries of the Christian Bible which were commissioned by Constantine! Writings of many apostles, including those of Thomas and Mary, were deliberately excluded or edited. At the same time, the cruel, even by contemporary standards, Roman governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate, and most Roman soldiers were portrayed as saints.
At the time of the Crusaders, expeditions of European Christians in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries to conquer Eretz-Israel from the Muslims, many Christian knights and rulers in Europe became 'misguided' and declared that they could not tolerate that even one man calling himself a Jew should continue to live. Many Jewish communities sustained deadly sufferings and material loses at the hands of Crusaders and many atrocities were committed against Jews at the time in Europe and the Holy Land!
Through the centuries, as Christianity gained power, Jews were systematically harassed and physically abused. Many of them converted to Christianity under duress or due to social and economic reasons.
The Inquisition was a Roman Catholic tribunal for discovery and punishment of heresy among Christians. Initially it was directed against heretics like the Abilgenses and the Catharians in France. In 1309 Philip IV, king of France, used the charge of heresy against the Knights Templar to free himself from debt and their influence. In 1483, in fear of influence of Jewish Conversos (converted to Christianity Jews) and in order to solidify their own power, in quest of unification of Spain, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand brought the Inquisition in Spain. Finally, hoping to eliminate ties between the Jewish community and Conversos, Spain expelled the Jews in 1492.
Summary of Expulsions:
Jews expelled from England (1290)
Jews expelled from France (1306 and 1394)
Jews expelled from Hungary (1349 and 1360)
Jews expelled from Germany (1348 and 1498)
Jews expelled from Austria (1421)
Jews expelled from Lithuania (1445 and 1495)
Jews expelled from Spain (1492)
Jews expelled from Portugal (1497)
Most of the time Jews were not able to take their possessions and wealth with them and Jewish properties were confiscated by kings, governing authorities and looted by local populations. The same technique of enrichment was used by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union more recently!
Experience of the centuries laid the ground for the genocide of the Jews by Nazi Germany with the active and eager participation of the anti-Semites of Poland, Ukraine, Latvia and other countries. In contrast to the Spanish rulers who allowed Jews to live through the horrors of the Inquisition and leave Spain, even before WWII, the international community (led by the United Kingdom, France and the United States) prohibited Jews from leaving Europe and escaping the shock of Holocaust. This was a well-coordinated international plan of the "final solution" for Jews!
Even 60 years after Israel's declaration of independence, this plague of anti-Semitism is still prevailing and spreading. It has moved to the Muslim world and Africa. Almost 60% of all resolutions of the United Nations adopted since 1948 are against Israel. No other country is disallowed to defend itself and stop the suffering of its own people from enemy terror like Israel.
The Jewish principles of "Love", "Forgiveness" or "Repentance" of sins, which were adopted by Christianity, have never been applied by mainstream Christianity toward Jews! But greed for the wealth of others and thirst for power, in order to control and keep the general population in fear, were always the driving factors behind anti-Semitism! Even now the words of the Nazi propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, are still applicable to the international anti-Israel hypocrisy: "The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie."
Steven Shamrak, born in the Soviet Union, lives in Melbourne Australia. He is a qualified civil engineer and software specialist, and was an active participant in the nascent Moscow Zionist movement before he arrived in Australia 25 years ago. Believing that "a sense of pride, nationhood and connection to all Jewish land" is missing from Jewish hearts, he spends his spare time Educating Jews and non-Jews about Jewish history in the Middle East.
He worked as a construction engineer at the Moscow Olympic Games project and as a computer consultant in Australia. For several years, he has been publishing an Internet editorial letter about the Arab-Israel conflict since August 2001 and has a website http://www.shamrak.com