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. 

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

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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.



During the summer of 2020, Program Director Lorenzo Vidino worked with the London Times on

an investigation of the global charitable organization Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), uncovering years of antisemitic and pro-Hamas social media postings by various IRW board members and top leaders.

In an interview with The Times, Director Vidino highlighted how comments made by multiple leaders showed, "a problem at the highest levels of IRW that is not confined to one rogue individual... Such conduct should raise red flags for every national government and civil society organisation that partners with and funds Islamic Relief..."

The joint investigation culminated in the entire board of IRW resigning, and led the U.S. Department of State and the governments of Germany and the Netherlands to stop or pause and review funding the organization.




Antisemitism in Western Extremist Movements: Responding to the Threat


November 2022

  • 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