AntiSemitism in Europe Has Never Been 'New' And It's Never Gone Away

Jews 'burning in hell' from an illustrated medeival manuscript
On this day in 1394 - In France, Charles VI issued an ordinance that expelled all Jews.

He suddenly published a decree in which he declared that ...
For a long time he had been taking note of the many complaints provoked by the excesses and misdemeanors that the Jews had committed against Christians, and that the prosecutors, having made several investigations, had discovered many violations by the Jews of the agreement they had made with him.
Therefore, he decreed, as an irrevocable law and statute, that thenceforth no Jew should dwell in his domains. According to the Religieux de St. Denis, the king signed this decree at the insistence of the Queen.

Subsequently, the king released the Christians from their debts to Jews. Which was rather handy for Christians, and indeed the King.

In 1349, the Jewish quarter of Cologne, Germany, was attacked by an angry crowd, and most of its residents murdered. Their property was then plundered and divvied up between the ransackers, the city government and the Church. The motive was that they were blamed for the Black Death Plague.

In the UK, the Edict of Expulsion was already in force, a royal decree issued by King Edward I of England on 18 July 1290, expelling all Jews, after 200 years of increased persecution. It was repealed in 1657.

In Italy, where so many fled, they still faced persecution. In Venice, they were forced to live in an area called 'The Getto'.

Europe has a lot to ask forgiveness for.

AntiSemitism isn't new. And sadly it's ingrained in our culture, among works we consider to be the finest, that are performed daily worldwide.

Shakespeare perpetuated the image of 'those evil jews' by his writing of the character Shylock in The Merchant of Venice. Modern portrayals sometimes try, but usually fail, to redress the balance by portraying him in any kind of an understanding or sympathetic light.

Only Al Pacino got close to it in 2004, still portraying Shylock as grasping, and greedy (as per the work) but at least showing his human pain and righteous anger.