Antisemitism in Context
Reporting that leads to a greater understanding of antisemitism
Neo-Nazis have a real problem with drag queens. Is it misplaced? Historical? Antisemitic? What does the larger “anti-grooming” crowd make of it?
Antisemitic Attitudes, the Ideological Spectrum and the Horseshoe Theory
A new study published in Political Research Quarterly suggests that antisemitism is not as prevalent on the far left as it is on the far right. While some academics and Jewish leaders have used the “horseshoe” theory to argue that both sides of the ideological spectrum hold a “common set of anti-Jewish prejudicial attitudes,” Eitan Hirsh, an associate professor at Tufts University, and Laura Royden, a PhD student at Harvard University, suggest otherwise. Using quantitative data, their study, “Antisemitic Attitudes Across the Ideological Spectrum,” locates young adults on the far right at the “epicenter of antisemitic attitudes.”
Hirsh and Royden conducted an original survey of 3,500 adults that comprised two tests. The first test measured overt antisemitic attitudes and asked a series of questions, such as whether Jews have too much power or are more loyal to Israel than to the United States. The second test measured double standards. It asked a series of questions, such as whether Jewish Americans who want to participate in social justice activism should denounce Israel’s discrimination against non-Jews, then asked a similar series of questions about other religious groups (e.g., did they agree that “In order to participate in social justice activism, Muslim Americans should unequivocally denounce Muslim countries’ discrimination against non-Muslims.”). According to the study, overt antisemitic attitudes were significantly lower on the left than the right, contradicting the horseshoe theory. However, the study noted that “socialist identifiers appear to have higher agreement with the antisemitic statements than others on the left,” while “alt-right identifiers stood out with the highest rate of support for antisemitic statements.” The researchers also found “evidence on the left of anti-Jewish double standards compared to Muslim Americans and Indian Americans.”
Hirsh and Royden emphasize that their research primarily focused on comparing participants by their political ideology and age rather than other demographics such as race/ethnicity or education level. Although they agree that the far left and far right share some antisemitic attitudes that can be attributed to populism and discontent with the status quo, they refute the broader generalization that the political extremes are identical. While far-left antisemitism often blames Jews for Israel’s actions, far-right antisemitism tends to thrive on conspiracy theories accusing Jews of being disloyal to white people or rejecting conservative values.
Germany, May 16, 2023
Bishop Christian Staeblein stated that an antisemitic sculpture from the Middle Ages cannot be removed from the St. Peter and Paul cathedral in Brandenburg an der Havel without risking a column’s structural integrity. Instead, the sculpture of a Judensau (Jew sow) will be permanently covered. This particular Judensau dates back to the 13th century and depicts a suckling pig with a human face and Jewish headgear. Two dozen similar sculptures remain in German and European churches.
Tunisia, May 16, 2023
A suspected terrorist attack at the El Ghriba Synagogue on May 9 left five dead and inspired panic during an annual Jewish pilgrimage to Djerba. Jewish leaders and organizations said that the attack is indicative of antisemitism’s pervasiveness in the Tunisian army and criticized President Kais Saied’s delayed response to the Jewish community. In refutation of these allegations, President Saied implied that there cannot be antisemitism in Tunisia because Tunisians, including his grandfather, saved Jews during the Holocaust. He also accused Israel of killing “our Palestinian brethren.”
United States, May 17, 2023
According to a lawsuit filed against Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City and former Trump lawyer, Giuliani mocked Jews’ observance of Passover and said, “Jews want to go through their freaking Passover all the time…Get over the Passover. It was like 3,000 years ago. The Red Sea parted, big deal.” The lawsuit, brought by a former assistant who is accusing Giuliani of sexual assault and harassment, also describes Giuliani as disparaging Jewish men’s genitalia and repeatedly complaining about the “freaking Arabs and Jews.”
Saudi Arabia, May 23, 2023
According to a new report by Impact-se, an Israeli education watchdog, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has removed “practically all antisemitism” from its K-12 textbooks. The report, “Updated Review: Saudi Textbooks 2022-2023,” cited numerous education reforms, such as removing accusations from a high school textbook that Jews are apostates who “sold their souls” and changing the title of a passage from “The Attempt to Create the Zionist Entity” to “British Mandate in Palestine” in a social studies textbook.
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From Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh to a pro-Nazi rally at Madison Square Garden to passengers of the St. Louis being denied entry, antisemitism and isolationism raged in the United States as Nazi Germany invaded Europe. Historian Craig Nelson, author of the new book V is for Victory: Franklin Roosevelt’s American Revolution and the Triumph of World War II, discussed how FDR’s leadership transformed the United States and helped defeat the Nazis. This conversation with former CBS News correspondent and Moment contributor Dan Raviv, commemorated D-Day.
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The Biden administration unveiled its plan to counter antisemitism last month. The U.S. National Strategy to Counter Antisemitism, a hefty 60-page document rich with policy announcements and recommendations spanning the entire government as well as businesses and civil society organizations, was launched at a White House event hosted by Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff and attended by Domestic Policy Council Director Susan Rice, Homeland Security Advisor Dr. Liz Sherwood-Randall and Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Deborah Lipstadt.