Antisemitism

About 

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. We assess that antisemitism is foundational to multiple violent extremist movements in the United States, and counter-extremism practitioners and scholars may consider incorporating antisemitism as a diagnostic factor for extremist radicalization. We have also worked to expose antisemitic beliefs in prominent global organizations and hold accountable those responsible. 
 


 

An Underlying Precuror to Violent Extremism

 

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.

While there is no single profile of an American extremist, antisemitism has long been widespread among American extremist movements of multiple persuasions, acting as a least common denominator between extremist groups. Antisemitic beliefs often serve as a key entry point for individuals to radicalize, join extremist groups, and progress into violent mobilization. By using promotion of antisemitism as a factor in identifying key influencers and ideologues in extremist movements, Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programming can isolate key nodes in extremist groups and debunk the narratives they promote without engaging in theological debates.

Studying the role of antisemitism in extremist groups can assist scholars in identifying common themes between different types of extremism, as well as between non-violent and violent strands of the same extremist movements. This can improve analysis on the broader relationships between and within extremist groups.



Accountability 

 

Program on Extremism - London Times partnership exposes extremist and antisemitic beliefs at Muslim Brotherhood-linked global charity, leading to mass resignations and funding cuts

During the summer of 2020, the Program on Extremism worked with the London Times on an investigation into Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW). IRW is one the world’s most influential charitable organizations, with some 50 branches worldwide and prominent international partners. The charity has also been accused of being a front for the Muslim Brotherhood and funneling money to Hamas and other extremist entities.

Together with the London Times, we investigated ten years of social media postings by various IRW leaders and found a pattern of antisemitic and pro Hamas posts. With international coverage from the BBC and other outlets, we:

  • Exposed a number of directors and trustees who labeled Jews as “the grandchildren of monkeys and pigs”, referred to Hamas as "the purest resistance movement in modern history”, and posted a picture of Barack Obama in a tie ornamented with the Star of David. Our findings forced mass resignations of board members and senior leaders.
     
  • Triggered international donors, including Sweden, Switzerland, and others,  to reevaluate their funding relationships with IRW. Most recently, the German government declared an end to public funding for the organization.