Antisemitism and Violent Extremism in America

The George Washington University’s Program on Extremism along with the National Counterterrorism Innovation, Technology, and Education Center have released a new paper exploring the connection between antisemitism and violent extremism in the United States. Titled, Antisemitism as an Underlying Precursor to Violent Extremism in American Far-Right and Islamist Contexts, the authors describe how antisemitism is a foundational piece for many far-right and jihadist extremist groups.

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.

Three case studies from the U.S. are examined that illustrate the role antisemitism plays in fostering violent extremism and radicalization. As it is used to justify one’s extreme views and conspiracy theories, antisemitism is also a tool for dehumanizing future targets of violence. Furthermore, the authors conclude that antisemitism should be viewed as a potential indicator for violence as “antisemitism can often be a gateway issue into increasingly violent forms of extremism.”

More resources on antisemitism and violent extremism can be found at the Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL).

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