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Music as a Medium of Antisemitism

Exposing and countering racist hate on the internet is predominantly focussed on social media sites, both mainstream and extremist, which post racist text and images. However, one area has not received much attention – racist music. Today, with the internet, the racist music scene is changing. There is a proliferation of racist, and especially antisemitic, music being promoted and shared online.

This takes four main forms: German Nazi music, movie segments, replacing the lyrics of known songs, and creating new music and lyrics, often rap-style. These are posted as videos on video channels such as YouTube, Bitchute, Odysee, and on social media platforms such as Gab and Telegram. To illustrate the problem, examples of music posted by Australian right-wing extremists are provided.

  1. Music from Nazi Germany

One of the most popular songs today with neo-Nazis, from the period of Nazi Germany, is ‘Erika’.  Videos of the song are produced and played with various backgrounds, most commonly showing film footage of Hitler, Nazi flags, soldiers and military parades.

The lyrics of ‘Erika’ are not political or racist, referring to both a type of flower (heather) and a girl’s name. The lyrics describe that: “On the heath, there blooms a little flower and it’s called Erika. … Back at home, there lives a little maiden and she’s called Erika.” However, the lyrics and melody were written about 1930 as a marching song, and it was popularised during the Nazi period as a marching song for German soldiers in the Nazi military machine.

‘Erika’, with various background versions of Nazi graphics, has been posted by known right-wing extremists in Australia such as Thomas Sewell (on 7 April 2021 and 17 April 2021) and Ryan Fletcher (on 26 October 2021). Videos of ‘Erika’ posted by Sewell, the leader of the neo-Nazi group, National Socialist Network, included extensive viewing of Hitler and Nazi soldiers marching. The video posted by Fletcher is of a cartoon of a Jew hiding in bed while lights are flashing outside to the sounds of ‘Erika’ and marching jackboots.

Videos of Nazi-era music, such as ‘Erika’, seek to normalise and promote Nazism as an ideology and to stir up hatred of Jews. Posting Nazi-era propaganda music with Nazi-themed visuals in the background is advocating antisemitism, militarism, totalitarianism and violence.

  1. Movie segments

Segments of racist music from movies are also posted online. One example is from the movie ‘American History X’, about two brothers involved in the neo-Nazi movement. A segment from this movie was posted online by Australian neo-Nazi Jarrad Searby (on 25 November 2021) on Gab; namely, the scene with the character of ‘Seth’ driving an orange Dodge van, where Seth is vehemently singing:

“My eyes have seen the glory of the trampling at the zoo,
We washed ourselves in niggers’ blood and all the mongrels too.
We’re taking down the ZOG machine, Jew by Jew by Jew.
The white man marches on.”

The original melody is from the American civil war era song, ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic’. The lyrics are: “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord. He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored. He hath loosed the fateful lightening of His terrible swift sword. His truth is marching on.”

While movies such as ‘American History X’ (1998), ‘Romper Stomper’ (1992 and 2018) and others are not aimed at promoting or legitimising racism, but rather at exposing racists, and racist inspired violence, segments are misused in the cause of racism. The ‘Seth’ segment is short, concise, and intense. The music in the segment is overtly expressing anti-black, anti-mixed race, and anti-Jewish racism, glorifying violence, and is upbeat enough to catch on as a tune, with its racist lyrics – all captured in under 20 seconds.

  1. Replacing lyrics

This method uses existing songs, usually well-known ones, by keeping the melody but replacing the lyrics. (It is similar to the ‘Seth’ example above, but without having been created for a movie). The danger is that, as these original songs are already quite well known, it makes it much easier for people to pick up the melody and repeat the new lyrics. Two examples follow.

‘The Rising of the Moon’ is an Irish ballad about the Irish rebellion against the British in 1789. It shares a similar melody with another Irish ballad, ‘The Wearing of the Green’, on the same theme; both were written in the mid-1800s. Lyrics include: “At the rising of the moon, at the rising of the moon. For the pikes must be together at the rising of the moon … By the rising of the moon, by the rising of the moon. And a thousand pikes were flashing by the rising of the moon.”

However, an American musician, Paddy Tarleton, known for white supremacist and other racist music and for appropriating traditional Anglo-Celtic melodies, wrote new lyrics. Thus, ‘The Rising of the Moon’ became ‘The Naming of the Jew’. Using the traditional well-known melody, the lyrics now include:

“we strive against the shysters, crooks and shylocks …
And you won’t see the sun rise now until you name the Jew.
Oh the naming of the Jew, Oh the naming of the Jew …
In 1290, our dear Longshanks had tossed them in the bin,
‘til that roundhead scoundrel Oliver [Cromwell] had let the kikes back in …
For years these shameless bastards have gone by many names,
From the oligarchs to upper one percent, it’s all the same …
So stand, be heard and say the word, it’s J E W …
We’ll keep up the pressure in the west until we bleed the beast …
And you won’t see the sun rise now until you name the Jew.”

‘The Sound of Silence’, the 1964 hit by Simon and Garfunkel, is another song that has been hijacked and abused by racists. This song, with its gentle undulating melody and philosophical lyrics, has been turned upside down and recast into a call for genocide. Much of the original lyrics remain, but with select words and phrases replaced eg the first line of ‘Hello darkness, my old friend’. The reworded song is named ‘The Ovens of Auschwitz’, and is sung by ‘White Hot Takes’. Its lyrics include:

“Hello merchant, you old fiend …
Looting our nations while we’re sleeping 
And know cattle cars lie empty on the line,
we’ll bide our time heating the ovens of Auschwitz …
then lit the ovens of Auschwitz.
And in the fire’s light I saw six million Hebrews, maybe more …
send the trains to Auschwitz.
“Fools” said I, “You do not know, Jewry like a cancer grows” …
And the man said, “The lies of the rabbis can only be stopped by force
And gas of course and in the ovens of Auschwitz”.”

Both these songs, ‘The Naming of the Jew’ and ‘The Ovens of Auschwitz’ were posted on Gab by an Australian antisemite, “DanTheOracle” (on 24 November, and on 17 and 25 December 2021), and on his Odysee video channel (on 5 April and 17 December 2021).

The danger with these songs is that the melodies are well-known, the original songs were popular, and the new race-hate words are as catchy as the original lyrics. These ‘new’ songs, with familiar tunes, become an easy way to demonise Jews, and to incite violence against Jews.

  1. New creations – hip-hop/rap music

Another form of racist music is that of newly created music, both lyrics and melody. Often this is in hip-hop or rap style where the person does not sing, but instead speaks rhythmically to an accompanying beat. Often these people use their music to express not only racism but also other forms of bigotry. Examples of such music by two people follow.

Raymond Foster has posted several videos of his music, which he recites rap-style while showing the lyrics on the screen. Foster’s hate videos have been posted on his Facebook pages (since removed) and on his YouTube channel, with links also posted on Gab. His lyrics generally express violent and murderous acts.

In Foster’s ‘DON’T NEED THAT SUFFERING’ (16 June 2019), the lyrics vilify Jews (“kikes”, “heebs”), blacks, Muslims, homosexuals (“fags”), and women (“THOTS” = “that ho over there”). The lyrics include:

“just trying to keep these dirty lying kikes away …
begin stepping in this oven, kike get in
Get in this oven, Kike get in … Sieg heil 88 …
blacks stinking out ma home and moaning Kebabs …
now I’m gonna bag every fucking fag and drag em naked
behind a horse on jagged gravel until they’re (sic) limbs
are fucking dangling off and feed em to crocs …
crusade every Muslim on the face of earth
convert em by blade or make em drop …
what I got in store for the THOTS, Your gonna bleed a lot …
And heebs you’ll leaving as ash, get in the oven.”

In a second video by Foster, ‘88 MUTHA FUCKAS’ (20 June 2019), he again glorifies and incites violence against Jews:

“I’ll be dragging bodies down an alley to stab em
don’t panic only kike maggots get damaged…
we’re wild Aryans we overtake …
happily put a knife to ya throat …
break through this Jewish cage …
fuck ya optics I’ve lost it maybe I’ll Holocaust it …
I think I got time to drop every last dogshit kike …
always keep the kikes in the eye of your sight …
so I’m like the forth (sic) Reich.”

In a third video by Foster, ‘HONOUR ME’ (21 June 2019), lyrics include: “1488 Race War Gas all the fucking kikes”. A fourth video by Foster, ‘WHO OWNS HOLLYWOOD?’ (12 July 2019), includes the lyrics of:

“… fuck ya optics …  then I mention Jews … 
Who owns all the banks Who owns all the oil
Who owns big pharma Who owns all the media
They’re trying to harm ya Who owns Hollywood
They’re trying to harm ya
I’m naming the Jew everyday are ya?
If not you better start brah start another Shoah … 
ride with da Reich … that’s what’s like with these kikes…”

Jarrad (Jaz) Searby is another rapper; he has become involved in the neo-Nazi group, National Socialist Network. He posts his videos on Gab and Telegram. Many of his songs include content denigrating or threatening Jews. The lyrics to Searby’s music video, ‘THE AWAKENING’ (27 June 2021), include:

“… we know the Jews have always hated us
They fuck us up the arse these cunts
are smiling while their raping us …
now we’re coming with a vengeance and
they don’t know what to do
We will be catching them real soon then
we’ll throw them in a room
you smell that gas? Yeah I do too
And that’s the end of you know who!
I can’t help it I drop J pills every time I’m in the room …
And now all across the world people are screaming FUCK THE JEWS
Now we’re ready for the white Boy Summer 2022
And now these kikes will start to run every time we enter rooms …
I will see Valhalla soon…”

These examples of rap-style music are newly created works, with original lyrics and using a rhythmic beat. Rap is a popular style of music that does not require a musical voice or even music. The lyrics of rap-style are often not as audibly clear as other forms of music. Yet despite this, as can be seen through the lyrics, this form of music is glorifying hate and advocating violence.

Conclusion

The internet allows the easy dispersion and proliferation of hate propaganda. Mostly, online hate is composed of articles on websites and posts/comments and images on social media sites, as well as videos uploaded onto most platforms. The genre of music adds a medium of hate that is much more easily transmissible and retainable in the memory. Regardless of whether the production of such music is for the enjoyment of racists or for propaganda and recruitment purposes, it remains a source of hate that is likely to grow, and thus is of great concern.

Music has an effect on the human psyche. The saying that music soothes the savage beast is certainly true. It can relax and soothe. Music speaks to the soul. Equally true is that music can also stimulate the emotions, raising excitement levels and aggressive tendencies.

Herein lies the danger – racist lyrics, emotive melodies and vivid visuals, can inspire and incite racist acts. Hate music can be just as inciting, or more so, than even the most riveting hate speeches by demagogues. One hears such music, and if it connects, it is absorbed. And the propaganda seeds have been planted.

About the Author
Julie Nathan is the Research Director at the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, the peak representative body of the Australian Jewish community, and is the author of the annual ECAJ Report on Antisemitism in Australia.
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