Antisemitism remains a pervasive challenge throughout the West, influencing a variety of violent and non-violent extremists across the political spectrum. In the United States, Jews are the targets of the majority of hate crimes committed against any religious group. While the extremists behind many of these attacks come from many movements, they are all united by a common antisemitic worldview. From Islamists to neo-Nazis and white supremacists, from black supremacists to far-left extremists, each has incorporated antisemitism and antisemitic tropes as key components of their ideologies, and as a means of mobilizing followers to perpetrate acts of violence.
Article: Intersectional Antisemitism in America
In this article for Tablet, Program Director Lorenzo Vidino explores the belief that Jews are unique agents of evil, secretly manipulating world events is the common denominator in virtually all forms of extremism present in America today. It is not entirely a new phenomenon, as cross-ideological pollination of antisemitism is a centuries-old cancer. But because of the web, we have fully entered the era of intersectional antisemitism.
In this climate, it is not surprising that, in 2019, 60% of all religiously motivated hate crimes were against Jews. The federal government, law enforcement agencies, and Jewish communities throughout the country understand the problem, and know that there is no easy fix. A good place to start would be with large-scale educational efforts: A 2020 national survey of millennials and Generation Z showed that 63% did not know that 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. We also need to see enhanced security protecting Jewish targets, and increased focus on the antisemitic content that is tolerated by social media platforms. These endeavors are necessary to begin to stem the tide of the growing American problem of intersectional antisemitism.
Report: Antisemitism as an Underlying Precursor to Violent Extremism in American Far-Right and Islamist Contexts
Antisemitism is pervasive throughout several categories of American extremist movements, both violent and non-violent. American extremists incorporate antisemitic tropes and narratives in every level of their worldviews, using them to help construct “us/them” dichotomies and wide-sweeping conspiracies that are essential to their movements. During the past several decades, the American extremist movements that have been among the most violent—specifically, far-right and jihadist groups—have used antisemitism to target Jewish people, Jewish houses of worship, Jewish community institutions, and Americans supporting the Jewish state of Israel. Antisemitism, as a belief and world-structuring theory, can at times serve as a gateway issue for individuals into further radicalization to violent extremism. Nonviolent and violent iterations of the same extremist milieus often share antisemitic views as central elements of their belief system, and thus antisemitism constitutes a linkage between activist and violent extremist segments of the same movement. Several case studies of violent American extremists, representing far-right and jihadist movements respectively, demonstrate that antisemitism can be an integral part of American extremists’ progression through the radicalization process and in justifying terrorist attacks. Based on this report’s finding that antisemitism is foundational to multiple violent extremist movements in the United States, counter-extremism practitioners and scholars may consider incorporating antisemitism as a diagnostic factor for extremist radicalization.
- Katharina von Schnurbein, the European Commission's Coordinator on combating Antisemitism and fostering Jewish life
- Edwin Shuker, Vice President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews
- Omar Mohammed, Research Fellow at the Program on Extremism
Samantha Vinograd, Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism and Threat Prevention for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Dave Rich, Director of Policy for the Community Security Trust, Britain’s largest non-governmental entity protecting British Jews from antisemitism and related threats
Mitch Silber, Executive Director for the Community Security Initiative, which works on enhancing the physical security of the approximately 2,000 Jewish institutions in the New York area
Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens, Research Director at the Program on Extremism