The aftermath of the Holocaust led to a decrease in overt antisemitism throughout much of the Western world. In many European countries such as Germany, Austria, Russia, Poland, France, and the Czech Republic, it is illegal to use Nazi imagery or form political parties that are based on Nazi ideology. It is also against the law in many Western countries to deny the Holocaust. Despite these strong measures, antisemitism remains a global phenomenon. Post-Holocaust antisemitism as an organized political ideology can be roughly classified into the following groups:
Screen shot from a Palestinian children's show entitled,Tomorrow's Pioneers, in which a costumed character named Assud describes how he will kill Jews.
- Arab antisemitism - Although Jews had the status of being a protected minority (along with Christians and Zorastarians) in the Ottoman Empire, this was only true as long as they remained visibly inferior to the Muslim majority. Once the Ottoman Empire broke up after World War I and the region was divided among the European victors, antisemitism began to rise in the Middle East. This was due to the influence of antisemitic literature from the West, feelings of inferiority vis-a-vis Jews (Jews were often middle men in colonial governments), and the rise of Arab nationalism. During the 1930s and 1940s, the Nazis broadcast antisemitic propaganda in Arabic for the purpose of gaining valuable allies against the British and French. The establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 and the disastrous outcome of the Six Day War in 1967 further cemented resentment against Jews in the Arab Middle East. Today, many Arab governments, such as Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Lebanon are openly antisemitic. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is a popular "non-fiction" book throughout the region. Antisemitism is also a core tenet in radical Islamicist groups.
German Neo-Nazis marching against capitalism. They do not sport swastikas or other overt Nazi symbols, because such images are banned in Germany.More information about this photograph can be found at here.
- Anti-globalization antisemitism - This phenomenon is essentially a twenty-first century update of the antisemitic myth of "Jewish moneylenders/capitalists." The term globalization refers to the the process in which domestic barriers to international trade are reduced (e.g., tariffs, subsidies, supranational intellectual property rights) and free trade is promoted. Although countries have experienced high rates of economic growth as a result of globalization, other political actors have been adversely affected, such as family farmers, blue-collar workers in developed countries, and local craftsmen. Laws pertaining to workers' rights, the environment, and the development of a civil society are often weakened when a nation chooses free trade. Hence, the instability that has occurred in the wake of globalization has caused some to see "International Jewry" as the culprit behind their economic woes. As it was during the Great Depression, anti-globalization antisemities blame Jews in the finance industry and those in the "Israel lobby" for promoting supposedly exploitative economic policies for their own personal enrichment.
- Anti-Zionism - Anti-Zionism is the belief that the existence of the state of Israel is illegitimate (Zionism is the political movement that supports a nation-state for the Jewish people). Although antisemitism and anti-Zionism are two separate ideologies, and the former does not nessesary equal the latter, it is becoming common for many antisemites to deny the right of self-determination for Jews. Anti-Zionism is expressed by individuals from across the political spectrum; leftist anti-Zionists view Israel as being a colonial state on par with apartheid-era South Africa, whereas their counterparts on the right believe that the "Israel lobby" exerts an unhealthy influence on American foreign policy. Radical anti-Zionism is an ideology that can be classified as "annihilistic anti-Zionism," in which Israel is not only an illegitimate state, but must be completely destroyed. This tenet is widely held throughout the Arab Middle East and is illustrated by the fact that Israel does not appear on classroom maps in this region.
- Ku Klux Klan - Over forty separate groups calling themselves the Ku Klux Klan are still in existence, although not to the same extent as during the 1920s, 1950s, or 1960s. Hence, it is more accurate to call the Klan a movement, rather than a single organization. Once state-sponsored segregation was abolished as a result of activities of the Civil Rights Movement, most unrepentent members of the Klan withdrew from mainstream society into the White Power subculture. Members of the Klan believe in white supremacy, racial separatism, and antisemitism. Like the Nazis of the 1930s, Klansmen are of the opinion that Jews are intrinsically evil and the perpetual enemy of the white race. Although the modern Klan movement's ideology is indistinguishable from that of their Neo-Nazi counterparts in many ways, there are a few differences. Klansmen generally focus more on hatred towards blacks than antisemitism and require a nominal adherence to Protestantism, although "racial religions" such as Wotanism and the Creativity movement are becoming more popular. However, the Klan movement seems to be undergoing what the Anti-Defamation League calls a "Nazification" process; many Klan groups are eschewing their trademark white robes in favor of Nazi-style military uniforms and are also adopting the Teutonic aethetic favored by many Neo-Nazis.
Photograph of David Hoggan (1923-1988), whose book, The Myth of the Six Million, started the Holocaust denial phenomenon.
- Holocaust denial - Holocaust denial is evident when individuals assert either that the Holocaust never existed or that the number of indivudals killed is greatly exaggerated. Among the claims made by Holocaust deniers include the belief that there was no institutionalized plan to exterminate European Jews, that there were no gas chambers at any of the concentration camps, and that survivors and witnesses who provide evidence to the contrary are lying or confused. The purpose of Holocaust denial is to rehabilitate national socialism as a legitimate political ideology by exonorating the Nazi regime from the charge of genocide. Consequently, Holocaust deniers believe that the notion of the Holocaust was invented by Jews as a ploy to establish the state of Israel and to demonize Germany.
- Neo-Nazi antisemitism - Neo-Nazis are individuals who believe that the ideology of National Socialism is applicable to the political and economic problems of the present era. They generally refer to themselves as "National Socialists," rather than Nazis, probably due to the negative connotations of the latter term. Unlike the Klan, which tends to focus more on hatred against blacks and other non-whites, the primary target of Neo-Nazis are Jews. Unlike the highly centralized fascist movement that existed during the 1930s, Neo-Nazi groups are highly decentralized and idiosyncratic; some simply focus on hatred, whereas others try to form political organizations with the hope of creating a racially-based fascist state. Music, particularly the genres known as National Socialist black metal and Nazi punk, is often used to recruit disaffected youth into the Neo-Nazi movement. The more religiously inclined Neo-Nazis eschew Christianity altogether in favor of Nordic racial paganist religions like Odinism, Wotanism, and Astaru. Although Klansmen and Neo-Nazis are on the margins of society, they are still very dangerous and are not afraid to commit violent crimes to further their machinations. Neo-Nazi prison gangs are becoming an increasing problem in the American corrections system.
The beliefs outlined above are not mutually exclusive, and there is a considerable amount of "cross fertilization" of ideas among antisemites. In addition to antisemitism as an organized political ideology, discrimination against individuals, institutional biases, and dehumanizing jokes are also not uncommon.
The Anti-Defamation League. "Ku Klux Klan: Extremism in America." The Anti-Defamation League Home Page. http://www.adl.org/learn/ext_us/...Cat=Extremism&LEARN_SubCat=Extremism_in_America&xpicked=4&item=kkk (accessed July 18, 2008).
McFee, Gord. "Why Revisionism Isn't." The Holocaust History Project Home Page. http://www.holocaust-history.org/revisionism-isnt/ (accessed July 21, 2008).
Southern Poverty Law Center. "SPLC.org: Hate Groups Map." The Southern Poverty Law Center Home Page. http://www.splcenter.org/intel/map/type.jsp?DT=9 (accessed July 21, 2008).
Wistrich, Robert. "Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism." Jewish Political Studies Review 16:3-4 (Fall 2004). Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs Home Page. http://www.jcpa.org/JCPA/Templates/ShowPage.asp?DBID=1&LNGID=1&TMID=111&FID=254&PID=0&IID=1064 (accessed July 18, 2008)