“Anti-Semitism isn’t just bigotry toward the Jewish community,” Ward explains. “It is actually utilizing bigotry toward the Jewish community in order to deconstruct democratic practices, and it does so by framing democracy as a conspiracy rather than a tool of empowerment or a functional tool of governance.” In other words, the more people buy into anti-Semitism and its understanding of the world, the more they lose faith in democracy.
Numerous historical case studies attest to anti-Semitism undermining its adherents at a large scale, from the defeat of the Nazis, who spurned scientific advances simply because they were discovered by Jews, to European countries that hobbled themselves for centuries by expelling their Jewish populations.
“The rise of anti-Semitism is a sign of widespread social and cultural failure,” Mead writes. “It is a leading indicator of a loss of faith in liberal values and of a diminished capacity to understand the modern world and to thrive in it.”