The Importance of Dismantling Antisemitism Along With Racism
We cannot dismantle racism unless we also dismantle antisemitism. Antisemitism revitalized the white nationalist movement in the 1960s. In Eric K. Ward’s report “Skin in the Game,” he explains that antisemitism gave the movement a new theoretical core in its claims of white supremacy after the events of the civil rights movement. Antisemitism went from being religious bigotry to racialized hatred of what adherents see as a scheming race of infiltrators whose main goal is to destroy the white race, Ward wrote. This gave rise to the view of Jewish people as a racial archnemesis of sorts in conspiracies still permeating many of the movements monitored by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Ward also conveyed the necessity of dismantling antisemitism: “Antisemitism, I discovered, is a particular and potent form of racism so central to [white] supremacy that Black people would not win our freedom without tearing it down.”
In addition to noting the Nation of Islam and Holocaust Denial in this category, we also recognize that antisemitism appears in other ideologies, such as Neo-Nazi, Antigovernment and White Nationalist. This category centers on antisemitism and not extenuating beliefs.
The antisemitism movement, like all other movements it plays a role in, supports the belief that Jewish individuals are a separate race, making it a form of racism in itself.
Harmful stereotypes of Jews as smiling merchants, bloodsuckers, murderous, infiltrators, global elites and puppet masters all imply a form of deceit or scheming.
Many groups use antisemitism to unify members and create a common enemy, saying Jews control the government and/or the media, and even claiming that left-leaning movements, such as LGBTQ+ and Black Lives Matter, are heavily infiltrated by Jews and therefore can’t be trusted.
Denying the Holocaust is a form of antisemitism that seeks to undermine the facts of the Nazi regime’s systematic murder of 6 million Jews and paint their historical experiences and current iterations of antisemitism as fallacious schemes aimed at building a narrative of victimhood to extract reparations from the Germans or to justify the creation of Israel.
This is the first year of antisemitism being a designation, and the primary organizations represented are Nation of Islam and various groups associated with Holocaust Denial. Due to the virtual omnipresence of antisemitism throughout the far right, the SPLC’s Intelligence Project is devoting an entire designation to antisemitism within the General Hate category to focus on this brand of hate, which permeates most of the movements our researchers monitor.
The Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan claimed in his July 4, 2020, address, “[Jews] attempted to kill me non-violently, with radiated seed.” He then proceeded to call prominent Jewish individuals Satan, such as Alan Dershowitz and Jason Greenblatt. “Those of you who say that you are a Jew, I will not give the honor of calling you a Jew, you are not a Jew,” he added. “You’re so-called [Jews], you are Satan. And it’s my job now to pull the cover off of Satan, so that every Muslim, when he sees Satan, pick [sic] up a stone as we do in Mecca.” He also claimed, “The reason they hate me [is] because they know that I represent the end of their civilization. I represent the uncovering of their wickedness.”
Said Farrakhan, “They are the bloodsuckers of the poor. So, if you are a bloodsucker and the poor is [sic] who you’re sucking from, you don’t want to stop sucking. So anybody that points out the sucker and puts fire to the sucker … that’s the enemy to the bloodsucker.” “Bloodsucker” is a term used by Farrakhan and Khalid Abdul Muhammad that has a long history within the Nation of Islam of dehumanizing Jewish individuals.
NFL player DeSean Jackson and entertainer Nick Cannon made antisemitic comments in 2020, demonstrating a trend of antisemitism among Black celebrities. While some statements were walked back, the emboldening effects of those statements showed that antisemitism is a form of what Eric Ward calls equal opportunity bigotry. This is especially troubling because of the ironic implications of feeding into antisemitic rhetoric despite the strong alliance between Jewish people and Black people during the civil rights movement.
Antisemitism is a well-documented ideology of oppression aimed at Jews, with a deeply ingrained and pervasive set of stereotypes and lies. White Nationalism seeks to racially separate Jews who for many years in America “passed” as white. This racializing, combined with the deep fear that Jews are actively undermining white supremacy, makes for a paranoid caricature of Jewish people as conniving, less than human, master manipulators. The wild antisemitic conspiracies that circulate in the digital ecosystems of White Nationalism amplify this portrayal. One such falsehood claims that George Soros is a Jewish puppet master who funds immigrant caravans, pays protesters and conducts elaborate voter fraud schemes. These untruths fuel hysteria on the right.
In recent years, a resurgence of antisemitism has led to a deadly shooting at a Jewish market in Jersey City, New Jersey, and another mass killing at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In the last month, some donned antisemitic shirts with phrases such as “Camp Auschwitz” and “6 million was not enough” as Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol.
Nick Fuentes used antisemitism in a “Stop the Steal” rally in Atlanta in November 2020, when he claimed “global special interest groups” were responsible for Trump’s loss of the election. Fuentes pushed a coded conspiracy that the system is corrupt and more specifically that Biden, who he claims is demented, will be used as “a tool by the same global interests who have very sick plans for you [Trump supporters], your communities and your children.”
Antisemitism is a form of racism that is distinct from anti-Black racism or broader xenophobia. It is less about the inferiority of Jews and more about the myths of perceived financial power and well placed “globalist” international agents, whose goal it is to infiltrate and supplant white culture by using the communities of color and the LGBTQ+ movement as tools. In such groups as Nation of Islam, antisemitism is used in a similar capacity, claiming Jews caused slavery, Jim Crow, sharecropping and other forms of Black oppression.
Farrakhan has also claimed: “Pedophilia and sexual perversion institutionalized in Hollywood and the entertainment industries can be traced to Talmudic principles and Jewish influence. Not Jewish influence, Satanic influence under the name of Jew.”
While Nation of Islam has a history of homophobia and anti-white rhetoric, they are one the most active disseminators of antisemitic materials and have a history of contributing to antisemitism both within and outside of the Black community. The book “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews,” which was compiled by Nation of Islam’s Ministry of Research, is a foremost antisemitic book. It was the source for Khalid Abdul Muhammad’s infamous antisemitic speech at Kean College in 1993.
Holocaust deniers form another segment of groups and individuals whose ideology bolsters the antisemitism that permeates most hate groups. Adherents to this small segment of the far right seek to validate antisemitism and undermine the history and experiences of Jewish people by distorting the historical facts of the Holocaust, or outright denying it ever happened.
Holocaust deniers espouse falsehoods including that Jewish people died from disease, starvation and other indiscriminate challenges during the events surrounding World War II rather than a systematic genocide. They believe gas chambers were used for purposes from delousing prisoners to recreational activities or were built after World War II, and they claim the small discrepancies in reported Jewish casualties in the Holocaust are evidence of sweeping historical fallacies. Adherents to this ideology mask these claims behind the guise of pseudo-intellectual “historical revisionism.”
While Holocaust denial as a loose collection of antisemitic rhetoric and narratives existed prior, the first hate group organized explicitly around this ideology, the Institute for Historical Review (IHR), was formed in 1978 by Willis Carto. The organization remains active today under director Mark Weber. After being ousted from IHR, Carto founded The Barnes Review and American Free Press, both of which are active SPLC-designated hate groups due to their regular, hate-filled publications.
Another figurehead amongst Holocaust deniers is Ernst Zundel, who published Holocaust denial materials until his death in 2017, including the pseudo-scientific Leuchter Report, which disseminated false information about the chemical content of gas chamber walls at Auschwitz. David Irving, a self-described historian whose publications have delved further into Holocaust denial throughout his career, was a close contemporary of Zundel’s and has been banned from several countries including Germany, Austria, Australia, New Zealand and Lithuania.
The number of active Holocaust denial hate groups has fluctuated only slightly over the past decade, with the SPLC documenting anywhere from seven to 11 active groups since 2009. While the number of groups SPLC has listed under this category remains small and their tactics and ideology are relatively stagnant, the narratives and rhetoric these groups and individuals have long espoused permeates much of the far right as bigoted groups and individuals seek to portray Jewish people as manipulative and deceitful.
Most obviously, rhetoric, flyers, blog posts and memes from neo-Nazi hate groups often utilize Holocaust denial to attack Jewish people and serve their antisemitic agenda. On the Daily Stormer website, founder and editor Andrew Anglin has described the Holocaust as a “ridiculous fake shower room bug-spray death chamber hoax” that forms “the core of [Jewish people’s] identity.” His vitriolic antisemitism alleges that white people are being duped into complacency under a Zionist-controlled government.
Similarly, members of the Ku Klux Klan draw on the tenets of Holocaust denial that were largely introduced to the ideology by David Duke, former Imperial Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. These attempts at denying the facts of history seek to cast Jewish people as the conniving architects of a Zionist Occupied Government (ZOG), a conspiracy theory claiming that Jewish people control the U.S. government.
Belief in ZOG and denial of the veracity of the Holocaust are also ideological underpinnings of the white nationalist movement. Greg Johnson, the editor-in-chief of the white nationalist publishing company Counter-Currents, credits David Irving as instrumental in his conversion to white nationalism. Additionally, flyers from such groups as the New Jersey European Heritage Association claim that movements for racial equity and social justice like Black Lives Matter are controlled by Jewish-funded organizations.
The influence of Holocaust denialism spreads far beyond the increasingly murky boundaries of far-right ideologies. Just one week into Trump’s term, his administration issued a statement for Holocaust Remembrance Day that omitted any mention of Jewish people and antisemitism. This came just months before Trump alleged that there “were very fine people, on both sides” at the August 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where members of the far right chanted, “Jews will not replace us” and the Nazi slogan “blood and soil.”
The same narrative is a driving force behind the QAnon conspiracy theories that motivated Trump-supporting rioters to storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Supporters of QAnon claim that a secret cabal of Jewish people controls the world and sexually abuse and traffic Christian children for their blood, an antisemitic trope based on blood libel – the belief in a cabal of Jews kidnapping and murdering Christian children. President Trump pointedly refused to denounce the conspiracy theory when questioned about it in an August 2020 press conference and again during a televised town hall in his campaign for reelection.
During the attack on the Capitol, which was incited by Trump’s unfounded claims of election fraud, numerous antisemitic and Holocaust-denying slogans were utilized. One protester who breached the Capitol can be seen wearing a sweatshirt that reads, “Camp Auschwitz” and “work brings freedom.” Another rioter was spotted wearing a shirt emblazoned with “6MWE,” which stands for “6 million wasn’t enough,” implying that more Jewish people should have died in the Holocaust.
Along with appearance of symbols and slogans, online phrases like “wooden doors” are used to dog whistle a Holocaust Denial belief that if wooden doors were used on the gas chamber in Auschwitz, the chambers wouldn’t have been airtight and gas would have been absorbed by the doors. Historians and eyewitnesses have disproven these claims. This is one of the “discrepancies” Holocaust deniers focus on to disprove the Holocaust. These false claims clearly continue to fuel violence and marginalization of many.
2020 antisemitic hate groups
Barnes Review/Foundation for Economic Liberty, Inc.
White Plains, MD*
Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust
Mill Valley, CA*
Independent History & Research
Coeur d’Alene, ID*
Institute for Historical Review
Newport Beach, CA*
Nation of Islam
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Fort Worth, TX
Grand Rapids, MI
Kansas City, MO
Los Angeles, CA
New Orleans, LA
New York, NY
North Charleston, SC
North Little Rock, AR
Oklahoma City, OK
Rock Hill, SC
San Antonio, TX
San Diego, CA
St. Louis, MO
St. Petersburg, FL
Realist Report, The
Long Beach, CA*