Orthodox Jews and neo-Nazis marched under the same banner during January’s US Capitol Hill protests “united around common narratives of anti-government and anti-COVID conspiracies,” a new report has said.
Despite clear antisemitic undertones to the conspiracy theories that underpinned the insurrection, pro-Israel and Jewish participants were present on the demonstration, the study added.
The report published by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King’s College London, said there was now a need to reassess understandings of antisemitism amongst ideologically motivated violent extremists (IMVE).
Published on Friday, the report looked at the key narratives and motivations of the January 6 insurrectionists, and how they have evolved in the first 100 days of the administration of President Joe Biden.
It states: “The appearance of neo-Nazis and religious Jews under the same banner demands researchers to reassess contemporary understandings of IMVE antisemitism and the extent to which far-right groups may choose to accommodate and work with Jewish extremists in order to achieve common goals. ”
Overtly national socialist and antisemitic elements were certainly present among insurrectionists, says the study, whose author’s include former Union of Jewish Students President Hannah Rose.
It makes reference to a photo of a man, later identified as Robert Packer, wearing a “Camp Auschwitz; work brings freedom” T-shirt which was widely shared on social media.
Video footage and photos of the insurrection also show individuals making Nazi salutes, and confirmed the presence of known antisemitic actors, such as Nick Fuentes’ Groyper Army and social media personality Tim Gionet, known as Baked Alaska
But the report adds: “Narratives about Jewish people and Judaism were not monolithic in the insurrection, with the recorded presence of neo-Nazis, antisemitic conspiracy theorists, philosemitic far-right actors and Jewish people themselves.”
While antisemitism is “not a primary motivating narrative” for the majority at the protests, the report says “various conspiracy theories that were key to the insurrection are reminiscent of old antisemitic tropes.”
The appearance of neo-Nazis and religious Jews under the same banner demands researchers to reassess contemporary understandings of IMVE antisemitism and the extent to which far-right groups may choose to accommodate and work with Jewish extremists in order to achieve common goals
It adds that marchers might not have held anti-Jewish views but “their complicity in its proliferation and their failure effectively to oppose antisemitism speaks to the rising normalisation of anti-Jewish narratives.
“While mainstream media coverage has focused on purely neo-Nazi symbols, such as Packer’s Auschwitz hoodie, it has neglected a threat of a different nature: a broader crowd that projects subtler, but no less dangerous antisemitic tropes.”
The study – Far from Gone: The Evolution of Extremism in the First 100 Days of the Biden Administration – warns of a move amongst those who attended the protests towards a “big tent” conspiracy which has generated a “big tent” enemy, often “seen as the Jew. ”
“This is likely to continue to grow antisemitism among American IMVE actors,” it adds.
It makes stark warnings about the consistent and growing threat of domestic extremism in the US and says while many insurrectionist groups have been pushed underground through mass condemnation and deplatforming, they continue to be a present and growing violent extremist threat.
Insurrectionist groups, including Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, who took direct inspiration from Donald Trump, continue to mobilise despite the change in administration, it is suggested.
And previously distinct narratives have begun to converge, including anti-government ideologies, COVID conspiracy theories, election misinformation, anti-Asian racism, antisemitism, misogyny and transphobia.
Disenfranchised QAnon adherents are also being recruited to further radicalise and mobilise them to action both in the US and transnationally.
“Since the 6 January insurrection, the nature and prioritisation of antisemitism within the American far right has evolved, in line with the merging of distinct conspiracy theories,” it says.
An analysis of far-right social media platforms reveals how a peak in mentions of the term “globalist” can be seen on 20 January, the day of Joe Biden’s inauguration.
“Globalist” is often a dog-whistle term for Jew amongst far-right activists.
It is also suggested that among the groups most prominently identified at the insurrection, such as the Proud Boys and Boogaloo Bois, “attitudes towards Jewish people and Judaism are not as straightforward.”
The report concludes: ” In order to gain acceptance and mainstream support, some IMVE ideologies attempt to move away from an overtly antisemitic image, which is recognised to be unpopular among the public and any potential pool of recruits.”
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- Capitol Riot
- International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation
- king's college london
- ideologically motivated violent extremists (IMVE)
- President Joe Biden
- Union of Jewish Students
- Hannah Rose
- Nick Fuentes’ Groyper Army
- Tim Gionet
- Robert Packer
- Proud Boys
- Oath Keepers
- anti-government ideologies
- COVID conspiracy theories
- election misinformation
- anti-Asian racism
By Laurent Vaughan - Senior Associate (Bishop & Sewell Solicitors)
By Joe Millis