Three Examples of 21st Century Anti-Semitism

The former Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir, at an Islamic conference in 2003:

And Richard Williamson, a Catholic bishop:

And the Drudge Report, using an anti-Semitic trope—the large and overshadowing Jew—in reporting on the Pope’s visit to Israel (May 12, 2009):


The clear implication of the Drudge Report image is that sinister and shadowy Jewry is harassing an old man (and given that the aged and decrepit John Demanjuk had been deported for trial to Germany for Nazi war crimes at about the same time, it seems hardly a coincidence that Drudge would evoke right-wing Catholic resentment toward Jews). Drudge apparently knows that some of his loyal audience is at least reflexively anti-Semitic. He frequently runs, for example, images and advertisements against a favorite conservative bogey, George Soros, implicitly depicting him as an eastern European Jew conspiratorially involved in the undermining of America. I think that Drudge, when he invokes such antisemitic visual tropes, knows exactly what he is doing. I don’t think it’s innocent or merely coincidental. In my view, Drudge uses postmodern irony to generate ambiguity about his intentions—even as he manages to feed his non-ironic and earnest paleo-conservative core audience the kind of demonological archetypes that they so clearly crave.


Below are two antisemitic propaganda images from World War II. The first is of a shadowy Jew, behind curtains, clearly plotting subterfuge against Catholic Vichy France and Nazi Germany:


And here is a fascist cartoon characterization of Oslo in 1941, suggesting that behind the shoulders of global leaders—such as Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin—is always a lurking and outsized world dominating Jew:


Source for World War II images: Faces of the Enemy: Reflections of the Hostile Imagination (Sam Keen 1986, pp. 20, 35).

It’s time, I think, that we start worrying about the resurgence of conspiratorial thinking and anti-Semitism in the 21st century.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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1 Response to Three Examples of 21st Century Anti-Semitism

  1. Anonymous says:

    The Bishop that was talking is a liar!!

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