February 01, 2021

Understanding the history and 21st century manifestations of antisemitism

The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) published new reports today that chronicle the historic roots of antisemitism, its persistent themes, and its modern manifestations. CEP’s antisemitism resource is comprised of two reports, Antisemitism: A history and Antisemitism resurgent: Manifestations of antiaemitism in the 21st century which provide a basis for understanding modern antisemitism, its resurgence in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East, and how historic tropes are re-packaged to fit into mainstream political discourse.

“The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism and its 11 contemporary examples provides institutions and individuals with guidance to help clearly identify and ultimately combat antisemitism,” said CEP Executive Director David Ibsen. “We must also work to better understand the origins of antisemitism and why it appeals to so many.”

The commonality among antisemitism on the far left, the far right, radical Islamism, and Christian antisemitism is a manufactured fear of perceived Jewish power and the need to defend against it. For those who feel insecure in their current place in the modern world, and especially for those who wish to manipulate unease to gain power, the Jew continues to be a convenient target.

“To understand the modern incarnation of antisemitism requires an examination of the roots and evolution of institutional antisemitism and how it led to events such as the Spanish Inquisition and the Holocaust. Understandings its origins and the violence it has borne throughout history is essential to slowing its surge in popularity,” said report author CEP Senior Research Analyst Josh Lipowsky. “This hatred is evident on both the far left and the far right. It has fueled attacks by individuals, terror groups, and state sponsors of terror.”