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On May 14, 2022, a white supremacist attacked and killed 10 people, all of them Black, at Topps Supermarket in Buffalo, New York. From our reporting it was clear that the shooter became radicalized online and was inspired by other acts of white supremacist violence and by the January 6 insurrection. Along with invocations of the “great replacement” narrative, the man responsible for this massacre spewed hateful, false assertions online about the intellectual inferiority and inherent criminality of Black people and false, antisemitic allegations of wide-ranging Jewish conspiracies against whites.

This racist “great replacement” conspiracy, which promotes the false notion that there is a systematic, global effort to replace white, European people with nonwhite, foreign populations, furnishes the central framework for the white supremacist movement. The murders in Buffalo last year provide a brutal example of how antisemitism is an animating feature of white nationalist ideology, inextricably intertwined with anti-Black racism. And this conspiracy theory has motivated many other deadly, terror attacks and instances of extremist violence. Antisemitism and racism intensified the past few years with the political rise of Donald Trump and the pandemic, but both forms of hatred have a long and disturbing legacy in America.

Eric Ward, senior adviser to the Western States Center and a core partner of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), in recent congressional testimony poignantly said, “…antisemitism is the loom on which other hatreds are woven, so essential that it is easy to ignore. If we seek to counter domestic extremism, we must recognize that antisemitism remains the energizing principle behind white nationalism.”

Established in 1971, the SPLC has been tireless in identifying and rooting out hate and extremist groups to create a fair, inclusive and unified nation. The SPLC Intelligence Project monitors the activities of domestic hate groups and extremists, including the Ku Klux Klan, the neo-Nazi movement, antigovernment militias, anti-immigrant groups and others. 

Antisemitism serves as a connective tissue between hate groups that are otherwise seemingly unconnected. Particularly among white supremacist groups, antisemitism is often the entry point into the hate movement and is the fuel the feeds white nationalism. We saw this in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 (“Jews will not replace us”) and in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 (many breaching the Capitol flaunted antisemitic imagery).

White nationalists seek to return to an America that predates the implementation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. There is also a core belief among many antisemitic or racist organizations that the civil rights movement was beyond the capability of African Americans and that their progress was due to the Jewish financiers and puppet masters. The hard right in America sees the nation’s increasing diversity as a threat that must be countered in politics, in law, in court, in the media – and with violence.

After four years of national alignment with Trump Administration policies and priorities, extremist groups have not gone back the shadows. With anti-LGBTQ and anti-inclusive education messages, hard-right hate and antigovernment extremists have coalesced, returning to their bread-and-butter focus on attacking local democratic institutions, targeting local public health boards, elections administration as well as school boards and libraries. Throughout 2022, celebrities, politicians and other public figures promoted and embraced antisemitic rhetoric. This normalization of antisemitism has boosted the profile of many extremist groups and has resulted in direct threats to the Jewish community. The antisemitic tirades and online threats from Ye – formerly known as Kanye West – for example, appear to have had real-world consequences.

Another example of the normalization of antisemitism; in the 2022 election cycle, no name was invoked more in association with dirty money, control of media and politics, or the existence of a “deep state,” than George Soros, the Hungarian American Jewish financier and philanthropist. Right-wing media and politicians have consistently positioned Soros as a boogeyman whose influence and ideas will destroy American democracy.

As SPLC relayed to Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff and other members of the White House interagency working group on antisemitism, Jews are not responsible for antisemitism. The recognition that anti-Jewish hatred is a core facet of other bigoted ideologies reinforces the need for a more robust interracial and intersectional approach to combating antisemitism in America. To advance the goal of a multi-racial, inclusive democracy, fighting antisemitism is at the heart of the fight against structural racism.



  1. Expand Upstream Prevention Initiatives to Build Community Resilience: To bolster community well-being and ensure that all individuals are prepared to inoculate young people against radicalization, funding for prevention and education initiatives is imperative
  2. Defend and Promote Inclusive, Truthful Education: Concealing the truth about our history leaves our youth without the skills and education to navigate a new age of disinformation. Young people must learn the unvarnished truth about American history – to learn from the past – like the universal lessons of the Holocaust – to shape a better future. We must support digital literacy initiatives and fiercely oppose book banning and all efforts to place restrictions on inclusive education. 
  3. Speak Out Against Hate, Political Violence and Extremism: Elected officials, business leaders and community officials must use their public platforms to condemn antisemitism, hate crimes, threats to and houses of worship and other minority institutions.
  4. Mandate Hate Crime Data Collection: Data drives policy – we cannot address what we are not measuring accurately. After 30 years of incomplete data and underreporting from the FBI, the U.S. government should support mandatory hate crime reporting as a condition precedent to receiving federal funds.
  5. Provide Equitable Access to Government Funds for Prevention Initiatives and Security Infrastructure: Government funds for hardening houses of worship and community institutions should be complemented with long-term prevention and antibias education initiatives.
  6. Promote Online Safety and Hold Tech and Social Media Companies Accountable: Consistent with the First Amendment, tech companies must follow civil rights laws prohibiting discrimination and should not enable the funding or amplifying of conspiracy theories, racist or antisemitic ideas or provide a safe haven for extremists.   

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