The internet allows free and unfettered expressions of all kinds of views, from the mundane to the malicious. While much online content is informative and educational, other content is vilifying and inciteful.
Each year, the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), the peak national body representing Australia’s Jewish community, produces a Report on Antisemitism in Australia. A major section of this Report includes antisemitic discourse in a variety of settings – from the mainstream media through to extremist sites.
Several years ago, in an ECAJ study covering four years of online discourse about Jews, published in 2017, the five most common anti-Jewish themes online were: Jews as Christ-killers; Jews as bloodthirsty – the Blood Libel; the Jewish lobby as inordinately powerful and illegitimate; Jews/Zionists as controlling banks, media, and politicians; and, Jews/Zionists as Nazis.
While these five dominant themes are still expressed and promoted today, other themes, particularly ones that openly call for violence against Jews, and even promote genocide, are increasingly a common part of online discourse. This is due in part to two main factors: firstly, the rise in extremist politics and ideologies across the globe; and secondly, the creation of specific social media platforms which promote so-called ‘free speech’.
In 2020, the top five antisemitic themes expressed by Australians online were: 1. Jewish control of governments, media and banks; 2. Jews as the enemy of humanity; 3. Jewish plot to destroy and replace ethnic Europeans; 4. that Jews must either be expelled or exterminated; and, 5. rehabilitating Nazism. Propagation of each of these themes invites violence against Jews.
Two other prominent themes were the portrayal of Covid-19 as a Jewish plot to control the world, dealt with here, and accusations of Jews as orchestrators of the Black Lives Matter movement as a plot to destroy the US, covered here. In addition, images posted online add a further dimension to the body of anti-Jewish content.
The following content, exemplifying these five themes, has been posted online, over a 12-month period, by Australians on websites and social media sites, and recorded in the 2020 ECAJ Report on Antisemitism. The content was posted predominantly on Gab, but also on Telegram, and on mainstream sites like Facebook and Twitter. The quotes are sourced from Christian, Muslim, and secular sites, from ostensibly left-wing sites and ‘human rights’ supporters, from anti-Israel sites, from mainstream sites, and especially from right-wing sites.
- Jewish control of governments, media and banks
This theme originated in a coherent form with the publication in 1903 of The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, a document fabricated by the Russian secret police to try to deflect anti-Czarist sentiment. The Protocols purported to set out a secret plot by leaders of “international Jewry” to take control of and rule the world. In short, it claimed that Jews aimed to influence, infiltrate and take control of governments, the media, and the banks. The Protocols have been cited repeatedly by those who advocate violence or even genocide against the Jewish people. At the heart of The Protocols is the conspiracy theory.
Some online comments were Australia-specific: “The Jewish power in Australia is despicable”; “Australia is run by Zionist”; “Australia is… a Zionist colony and not an independent and impartial state”; “Australia is ZOG occupied as is US, NZ, UK etc.” “ZOG” is an acronym for “Zionist Occupied Government”, commonly used in antisemitic discourse.
Others were more overt: “Face it, jews are controlling the world by dominating the news media, the banking system and the legal profession… They rob us, rape us, destroy our lives”; “Zionist control? … They have too much control over western govts, media & banking”; “the Jews are responsible for all of our problems through they monopoly of Finance and Media”; “the Jews keep almost all world Governments literally enslaved in debt to their will”; “Jews steal all our wealth”; “the Jewish globalists who pull the strings of high finance and thus political power in the West”; “our politicians are all owned by the Jews”; “This democracy means either voting for the blue Jews or the red Jews”; “the Jews control the media and are backed by the US”; and “jewtube, jewbook and joogel.”
Related ideas were brought in: “the Jews have decided to use the coronavirus as a pretext to collapse the world economy and institute a system of totalitarian control” and “A globalist cabal which is attempting to deracinate the entire world so that their own race can rule a global government”.
- Jews as the enemy of humanity
This idea became prominent in Christian theology through the false charges of deicide, the Blood Libel and Desecration of the Host. The idea that as “Christ-killers” the Jews were both intrinsically evil and absolutely powerful, and not only willing, but also able, to kill the Christian deity, took hold and developed deep roots in the psyche of European Christians. This led to the Jews being portrayed as uniquely evil in the world, and therefore an enemy to all humanity.
Some are forthright in expressing how they view Jews: “Jewish people are the worst race in the fucking world… Every single negative thing in the last 60 years can be traced back to the Jewish Race”; “Behind every problem with society, is a jew”; “the vile and demonic jews”; “#Kikes are f-cking vermin!”; “The #Jews are a parasite race of murderers, gangsters, bankers, fraudsters, extortionists, predators, perverts and liars”; “The whole purpose of the jew is to parasite off of the White race”; “Jews… are a vindictive and parasitic people unable to create their own civilisation and desperate to dehumanise those they parasite off”; “Jews are the ultimate barbarians, the childen of entropy”; and “The international criminal enterprise called jews, is a criminal conspiracy.”
Others express their Jew-hatred as: “This is why I hate kikes. Not because they are Jewish, but because they are anti-human”; “I do not believe that the Jew is human like us. They are a descendant of Trolls and Goblins”; and “Round them up I say. Filthy animals.”
Religious motivations include: “Jews are the enemy of all humanity. God says so”; “Jews are just Satan Worshiping Christ haters”; “Jews worship Satan as their champion. They chose him over Christ at the cross”; “Jews infect everything they go near – it’s why they HATE Christianity – as it is one of the ONLY thing within all of existence that the Jew cannot infect”; “The Jews believe that the “messiah” will come to them when they have drained the goyim of all his blood and wealth”; “It’s past time the self proclaimed chosen people got a taste of their own medicine. Their evil actions will not be forgotten”; “Israel is a cursed people. they will pay all their atrocities through all their generations”; and “Sunni Shia Catholic protestant etc saying we are all one and fighting the illuminati NWO Jews.”
Jews are falsely accused of mass destruction and mass murder: “Jews have been destroying Aryan civilisation since pre-Babylonian times, over 4000 years”; “At this point in history, a cynical mind must assume that Jews are behind any world calamity as they were with all recent wars and the Black Death”; “many atrocities at the same time in Europe were perpetrated by Jews against Christians”; and “The Jews who took over Russia murdered 66 million Russian Christians and 40 million Ukrainian Christians.”
- Jewish plot to destroy and replace ethnic Europeans
The concept of “White Replacement” (sometimes called “White Genocide”) is the false belief that there is a global conspiracy, usually described as orchestrated by “the Jews,” to “import” non-Europeans ― especially Africans, Asians and Arabs ― into Europe, North America and Australasia for the express purpose of subjugating and decimating the European races and destroying Western civilisation. Those who subscribe to the “White Replacement” myth believe that through such mass immigration, people of ethnic European background will become a minority group, outnumbered and dominated ― that is, replaced ― in countries where once they were a majority of the population.
Online comments include: “Jews are the ones pushing white genocide”; “Jews are responsible for White Genocide”; “Jewish Plan of White Genocide which the Jew are STILL pushing today”; “the jewish genocidal war against whites and Western civilisation”; “The Jew is far more devious in his approach to our genocide”; “disease of the jews, to render us thrall before their genocide of our people”; “#JewishPrivilege is openly calling for the genocide of the entire white race”; “the jewish-led destruction of Western civilisation and the genocidal hatred of white people”; “the Jews, who are solely responsible for implementing the literal genocide of our peoples and race”; “All part of the zionist/ Jewish blueprint to dominate the world Read the Protocols of zion… 7. Depopulate world by various means including Genocide. Zionists only need 500 million slaves to serv them in this world”; and “Jews are a threat to all Western people, especially all Christians. They are at war with us and their goal is total genocide, wake up.”
- Jews must be either expelled or exterminated
The two most common “solutions” to the so-named “Jewish Problem” expressed online are expulsion or extermination. It has become common for people to state the number ‘109’ as referring to the number of ‘countries’ that have supposedly expelled their Jewish population, and the number ‘110’ to refer to the next and coming expulsion. Some express that all Jews should be deported to Israel, others add in conditions such as never allowing Jews to go beyond the border. Many others simply call for the extermination of the Jewish people as the solution.
Expulsion is expressed as: “kick the Christ killers out for good”; “Deport every single one of you”; “Seems we must remove the jew yet again. 109+1”; “Jews are our enemy… kick them out of our lands”; “Let’s expell all of the rat faced Jews”; “Jew are the enemies with and need to be expelled and banned from every non-Jewish western land”; “Western people will not be safe or free until every single Jew is expelled from our lands permanently”; “Theyve been kicked out of 109 countries”; “the number is 109 and is going to get bigger”; “Kikes the world over are looking forward to 110 countries.!!!”; “JUDENRAUS” (‘Jews Out’); and “Maybe they have been run out of 160 countries for 3000 years for good reason.”
Extermination is expressed in the following terms: “Never have a people been more deserving of death than the Jews!”; “Always remember #Jews are lying verminous parasites who DESERVE to be systemically exterminated!”; “every #Jew in #Australia warrants a death sentence”; “Death to the Jew!”; “Gas. Every. Kike.”; “this time the gas chambers are goinna be real”; “we are going to have another Shoah and I will make sure of it”; “ITS GUNNA BE ANNUDAH SHOAH”; “the gas chambers will be real this time around”; “Time to heat the oven up”; “We will not have peace on earth until every single one of these vermin has been sent back to the hell they came from”; “Fuck.the jews the dirty doggs!! Hope they all burn in hell”; “The wholesale extermination of the murderous enslaver race of pedophiles, traffickers, scammers, organ harvesters and traitors is a supreme virtue! #DeathToTheJew”; and “#WhiteRevolution is the ONLY solution to #Jew pollution!”
Some religiously motivated comments include: “God promised to wipe the jews out with pestilence” and “You will fight against the Jews and you will kill them until even a stone would say: Come here, Muslim, there is a Jew (hiding himself behind me); kill him.”
- Rehabilitating Nazism
There has been much renewed support for National Socialism (Nazism), promoting it and attempts to rehabilitate Hitler. This often involves Holocaust denial, as part of ‘cleaning-up’ the image of Nazism, and often in parallel, claims that the Holocaust is nothing but a hoax created by “the Jews” in order to make money and to defame Germans and other ‘Aryans’.
Holocaust denial takes the form of commentary such as: “no 6 million and no gas chambers”; “MUUUUUUUH HOLOHOAX 6 million lies”; “6 Million is a lot of cookies to bake with such a finite amount of ovens”; “The Holoco$t story, which is just an international extortion racket”; “More Germans were slaughtered in Dresden in 2 days than Jews in Auschwitz during the whole war”; “seems that the credibility of 6 000 000 on the dot is wearing a bit thin”; and “The only holocaust is the one that [the Jews] claim, exaggerate, blow out of proportion, lie about, and milk [the West] over in order to accomplish their goals.”
Attempts to rehabilitate Hitler is seen in: “We know that Hitler did nothing wrong”; “Without Hitler and the Nazis, the Jews would have already Wiped our Race out”; “Hail Hitler”; “you deserve hitler again and again”; “The White Western World is currently in (((Peak Weimar 2.0)))”; “Let’s start… Kristallnacht 2.0”; “National Socialism is the greatest system ever created by our people to fight against Jewish enslavement”; and “We get another great leader like [Hitler] Then there will actually be a final solution”.
Many of the above five themes are supported by a plethora of images online which reinforce the ideas in the themes and seek to express visually how evil “the Jews” are. Jews are portrayed almost exclusively through use of the “Shlomo” cartoon caricature, depicted as a bearded, thick-lipped hook-nosed male wearing a skullcap, rubbing his hands together in glee. Some images portrayed Jews as controlling and occupying Australia. Other images conjure up the so-called 109 expulsions of Jews, or of Holocaust denial and Holocaust mockery such as an image of a Jew as soap. Zoomorphism is used to portray Jews as parasites, ticks, even as a Blobfish, nominated as the “world’s ugliest animal”.
Not content to denigrate and dehumanise Jews, other images portray Jews as an existential threat to the rest of humanity. One image is of a Jew eating the bloodied body of Uncle Sam, another names Jews as ‘the greatest threat to mankind’, and others place devil horns on Jews. One even portrays the devil begging “the Jew” to teach him all the evil tricks. Another common theme in imagery is one advocating the killing of Jews – by shooting, hanging, stabbing, stomping on, and even being put through a word-chipper.
The comments quoted above are a tiny fraction of the anti-Jewish hate as expressed online by Australians in 2020. The five themes covered are spread around the internet and end up on the street and in the classrooms, boardrooms, and pubs – and are used to reinforce hate and murderous views. More and more people are accessing these lies and adopting the ideas that Jews control governments, media and banks, that Jews are a threat to humanity, that Jews are seeking the destruction of European Christians, and many are concluding that Jews must either be expelled or exterminated, while others believe that Nazism is the ideology which will be able to destroy the Jews.
The internet is a wonderful servant but a murderous master. It is a grave responsibility to ensure that the internet and its platforms and providers, whether websites or social media or other, is robust enough to accept mainstream and divergent views, and yet moral enough to remove online content that incites or advocates violence. In addition, the law must be able to deal with persistent offenders who consistently post content that dehumanises, vilifies and advocates violence against any person or group of people due to their race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, religion or other attribute.
Disclaimer: All quoted comments throughout the article are reproduced as in the original, without any correction of spelling or grammar.