As Semites (historical ) peoples are called who speak a Semitic language.
The German historian August Ludwig von Schlozer 1781 coined the term with reference to the table of nations in Genesis - see Semitism. After a biblical myth Abraham led his descent from Shem, the eldest son of Noah. In line with this, one called in Biblical times all the peoples of the Middle East, who regarded themselves as descendants of Abraham, as " sons of Shem ."
Thus, among the Semites the Ethiopians, Eritrea, Arabs, Hyksos, Maltese, Minaeans, Sabians, Ostsemiten, and the Amorites, the Ammonites, Akkadians / Babylonians / Assyrians / Syrians, Hebrews, Canaanites, Moabites, Nabataeans, Phoenicians, and Samaritans.
The Semites in the linguistic sense are not completely identical to the descendants of Shem in the Bible. But the Canaanites spoke a Semitic language though, the biblical patriarch of Canaan, however, described as the son of Noah 's son Ham.
Today's Semitic- speaking peoples are, for example, Arabs, Hebrews, Syrians and Maltese. The collective term " Semites " is used but rather in terms of historical peoples.
In ancient times inhabited peoples who spoke Semitic languages , the Arabian peninsula. Migrations took them to Mesopotamia, Syria and Israel, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia and with the Phoenician colonization to the shores of the western Mediterranean. It is believed that they originally came from South Africa, where the other branches of the Afro-Asiatic language family can be found.
Semites as a racist term
In different now rejected by the scientific theories of race, the Jews were referred to as " Semites " because the Hebrews were a Semitic people. To substantiate the anti-Semitism "scientific" ( and not just religious), the Semites declared as an " inferior race ", which was no independent culture capable. Hence the term anti-Semitism was ( enemies of the Jews called themselves anti-Semites ). Anti-Semites such as Eugen Dühring went so far as to call the Jews as the worst species of the Semites, who are hated even by the other Semites ( Arabs ). At the same time the anti-Semites were assuming that the Jews are not pure Semites, but according to Theodor Fritsch, a mixed breed mainly from the " Semitic ( oriental, Arabic ) race" and " the Near East ( armenoiden, assyroiden ) race", with 90 % of the Jews rather the latter group had been covered. Also with regard to Arab allies - - By the end of Nazi rule, the self-designation " anti-Semites " was abolished and replaced by, for example, " opponents of the Jews ". Already Dühring wanted to be understood as " Antihebraismus " in the 19th century anti-Semitism prefer.
In the aftermath of the Six Day War ( Arab حرب الأيام الستة Harb al - Ayyam as- Sitta, Hebrew מלחמת ששת הימים, milchémet schéschet haJamim ) between Israel and the Arab states of Egypt, Jordan and Syria, from June 5 to June 10 1967 lasted, they separated the Israelites ( Israelis ), due to the different interests of the other Semitic populations whose cultures. Therefore speak today not more generally of " anti-Semitism ", but further differentiated into " anti-Israelism " or " anti-Zionism ".