History of Anti-Semitism

To understand a phenomenon as immemorial and powerful as anti-Semitism, whose manifestations have survived the destruction of Europe’s Jews, requires a deep dive into its two-thousand-year history. This series does just that, drawing firmly on the scholarship of experts in history, but also in theology, Islamology and psychology.


The history of anti-Semitism is a story of demonization that is deeply intertwined with the societies, countries, and ages where it takes place. It is the story of anti-Semites, of those who, over time, have made Jews their worst enemies.Indeed, at certain times in their history, societies have had a need fora common enemy to unite or galvanize their people, to divert attention, or to serve as a scapegoat. At other times, Jewish people have happily integrated within the communities where they live. This series examines the twists and turns of this story, from Antiquity to the modern day, from the shores of theMediterranean to those of the Volga, and from the Iberian Peninsula to the birch forests of Poland. It will encompass Stalin and Pope John XXIII, Hitler and Alfred Dreyfus, King Louis IX or Saint-Louis as he was subsequently known, and Spinoza; some figures of hatred, others more benevolent characters.The visual framework of the narrative will comprise both the traces left around the world, and remarkable 3D historical reconstructions created for the video game Assassin’s Creed, acting as illustrations from the past, along with photographs and film archives from more recent times. It will draw upon research and analysis carried out by prestigious and respected academics. Eschewing witness testimonies and subjective opinions, it will bring together a wide range of contribution from some 30 historians, psychologists, and psychoanalysts to explore the multiple facets of the phenomenon and how they have evolved over time. It will focus on specific stories from each era that mark out and illustrate the form of these manifestations of violence and hatred in an enlightening and moving manner. It will also provide context for the fightback against this recurrent phenomenon. This four-episode series paints a comprehensive picture of this, “the longest hatred”

About the Director

Documentary director and essayist, Jonathan Hayoun, has directed Anti-semitism, 2000 years of History, and Saving Auschwitz?(EffervescenceDoc/Arte) Author of the booksLa Main du diable (Grasset, 2019), LICRA Book Prize 2019,Les Adieux au Général (Robert Laffont, 2020) and Zemmour et Nous(Books 2022), co-written with Judith Cohen Solal. Former President of the Union of Jewish Students of France (UEJF) and of CoExist, he graduated with a master’s degree in political communication from the University of Paris XII and a master’s degree in audiovisual production from INA’ Sup.Filmography:Anti-semitism, 2000 years of History; SavingAuschwitz?;Prejudices: a pedagogy against racism and anti-Semitism (Draft of a dream SCAM 2017);Rwanda: For a dialogue of memories.

Artist Statement

This 4-part TV series is a historical and “scientific” investigation to understand the complexity of anti-Semitism. Sometimes called “the longest hatred,” anti-Semitism has appeared in multiple places around the world and in multiple forms for more than two thousand years. This singular persistence, as well as the heterogeneity of the phenomenon, has given birth to numerous ideological exploitations, political manipulations, and anachronistic interpretations. This is the reason we opted for a chronological narrative, without however renouncing to thematize the different periods. This historical investigation aims to move away from simplistic explanations and avoid tedious listings of anti-Semitic violence and hateful speech. The variety of angles and insights provided by this chronological approach will make this series more accessible while keeping its usefulness as a tool for knowledge and thoughtful consideration. 

Festivals, Screenings, & Awards

International History festival of Pessac


Production Country

Production Company
Effervescence Doc, Arte France 

Arte France

Subject Region
Europe, Mediterranean, Middle East

Jonathan Hayoun

Simone Harari Beaulieu

Watch the Trailer