Antisemitic boycotts

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


The Age of Enlightenment brought with it notions of Legal Equality in Europe that led to Jews 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 Anti-Semites, often led by Christian religious groups, who regarded Jews as morally inferior or were threatened by their acumen. There were a variety of movements calling for boycotts of Jews and discrimination based round universities was particularly prevalent.

In Hungary, agitation for boycotts began in 1867 when Jews received equal rights. From the 1880s there were calls in the Catholic press for Jews to be boycotted.[2] The government passed laws limiting Jewish economic activity from 1938 onwards.[3]

In Poland, the AntiSemitic magazine Rola campaigned for Jewish businesses to be boycotted from 1885.[4] The head of the Catholic Church, Cardinal Hlond called for a boycott of Jews in the Thirties.[5] and the Endeks (founded by Roman Dmowski) organized boycotts of Jewish businesses across the country.[6] The government stopped hiring Jews and promoted a boycott of Jewish businesses from 1935.[7] Jewish ritual slaughter was banned in Poland in 1936 (in Germany it was banned from 1930).[8]

In Russia the government sought to compel Jews to leave the country or to convert and 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 hold no more than 10% of the shares in businesses.[9]

In 19th Century Austria, Karl Lueger, an antisemitic mayor of Vienna who inspired Hitler, campaigned for a boycott of Jewish Businesses. Jews were only allowed to live in Vienna from 1840. An organization called the Antisemitenbund campaigned against Jewish civil rights since 1919. Austrian campaigns tended to heighten around Christmas and became effective from 1932.[10]

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.[11]

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.[12] The bar was challenged by the government leading to a referendum in which 76% of students voted for the exclusion.[12]

Quotas restricting admission of Jews to universities was widespread In Europe and America before the Second World War, for more information see Jewish quota and Numerus clausus.

In Palestine, the Arab leadership organized boycotts of Jewish businesses from 1929 onwards, with violence often directed at Arabs who did business with Jews.[13] The boycotts were publicized through anti-Semitic language and were accompanied by riots that the British authorities described as "clearly anti-Jewish."[14]

In Quebec, French-Canadian nationalists organized boycotts of Jews in the thirties.[15]

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.[16] Ivy League Universities restricted the numbers of Jews allowed admission.[17]

In the 2000s, the anti-Israel BDS movement was regarded by prominent individuals, organizations, and scholars as Antisemitic and driven by Antisemitism.[18][19][20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Anti-Semitism: Anti-Jewish Boycotts". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  2. ^ Szabó, Miloslav. ""Because words are not deeds." Antisemitic Practice and Nationality Policies in Upper Hungary around 1900". Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  3. ^ L. Braham, Randolph. "The Christian Churches of Hungary and the Holocaust". Yad Vashem. Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  4. ^ Moszyński, Maciej. ""A quarter of a century of struggle" of the Rola Weekly. "The great alliance" against the Jews.". Fondazione Centro di Documentazione Ebraica Contemporanea. Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  5. ^ "Chronology of Jewish Persecution: 1936". Jewish Virtual Library. 
  6. ^ Cang, Joel (1939). "The Opposition Parties in Poland and Their Attitude towards the Jews and the Jewish Question". Jewish Social Studies 1 (2): 241–256. 
  7. ^ "Here and Now: The Vision of the Jewish Labor Bund in Interwar Poland". Institute for Jewish Research. Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  8. ^ Bauer, Yehuda (1974). "5. Prelude of the Holocaust". My Brother's Keeper -- A History of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee 1929-1939. Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society of America. "[...] Polish laws against ritual slaughter (shehita) enacted in April 1936 and, in a final and drastic form, in March 1939." 
  9. ^ "MAY LAWS". Jewish Encyclopedia. Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  10. ^ From Prejudice to Persecution: A History of Austrian Anti-Semitism By Bruce F. Pauley page 201 North Carolina 1992
  11. ^ Jews in Twentieth Century Ireland by Dermot Keogh, Chapter 2
  12. ^ a b Rubenstein, Richard L.; Roth, John K. (2003). "5. Rational Antisemitism". Approaches to Auschwitz: the Holocaust and its legacy (2nd ed.). Westminster John Knox Press. pp. 123–124. ISBN 978-0664223533. 
  13. ^ Feiler, Gil (1998). From Boycott to Economic Cooperation: The Political Economy of the Arab Boycott of Israel. Routledge. ISBN 978-0714644233. 
  14. ^ Julius, Anthony."Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in England." Google Books 22 May 2013.
  15. ^ Abella, Irving; Bialystok, Franklin (1996). "Canada: Before the Holocaust". In Wyman, David S.; Rosenzveig, Charles H. The World Reacts to the Holocaust. The Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 751–753. ISBN 978-0801849695. 
  16. ^ "CHARLES E. COUGHLIN". USHMM. Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  17. ^ 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,
  18. ^ "Simon Wiesenthal Center Report: BDS 'a Thinly-Veiled, Anti-Israel and Anti-Semitic "Poison Pill."' The Algemeiner. 19 March 2013. 7 June 2013.
  19. ^ "Anti-Israel groups push product, performers boycott." USA Today. 17 March 2013. 8 June 2013.
  20. ^ "Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Resource Page." NGO Monitor. 14 July 2011. 1 June 2013.