Extremists are well practiced in taking advantage of crises to elevate their bigoted worldview. That opportunistic streak is on full display as violent conflict rages in Israel and Gaza.
White supremacists’ and other antisemites’ “support” for the Palestinians’ cause is not rooted in genuine concern for their plight, but rather in a desire to see the destruction of Israel. Extreme antisemitic and anti-Zionist content can be found across a wide variety of channels calling for the destruction of the Jewish state, including posts that state: “GAS THE KIKES RACE WAR NOW” and “ISRAEL ENDS TONIGHT.”
White supremacists, who typically espouse hatred for all races and ethnicities not deemed “white,” are using the conflict to push their own racist agenda. Telegram channels argue that there is historical precedent for “supporting” the Palestinian cause: “Palestinians fought with the Germans in the Wehrmacht"s [sic] Free Arab Legion in WW2.” Others see that support as a means to a (white supremacist) end: “The best way to stop muslim [sic] immigration into Europe and White countries is to support Arab security in their own lands and fully oppose Zionism.”
One channel urged followers to advantage of the situation because “Jews are weakest when Israel is under attack.” The Western Chauvinist, a racist, antisemitic Proud Boys offshoot Telegram channel with more than 47,000 subscribers, shared a Tweet linking white supremacists who marched in Charlottesville in 2017, chanting “Jews will not replace us,” to the situation of Palestinians, describing both events as “one struggle.”
White supremacist Telegram channels highlight numerous memes depicting Hitler and other antisemitic historical figures applauding of the current conflict.
Other posts seek to deny and subvert the historical facts of the Holocaust and diminish the atrocities Jewish people have faced, suggesting that instead Jewish people have been the oppressors historically.
Israel is used as a case in point: “But the Holocaust never happened. The genocide of Palestinians and whites at the hands of Jewish monsters is real.” This comment was posted on a Telegram account associated with Eric Striker, which is a pseudonym used by an American white supremacist who has written for the Neo-Nazi publication The Daily Stormer.
Meanwhile, the Goyim Defense League, a loose network of individuals that espouses virulent antisemitic content, has also incorporated the Middle East crisis into their two-week “Name the Nose” tour.
On May 11, 2021, the GDL protested at the Holocaust Documentation & Education Center in Dania Beach, Florida. Referring to Palestinians as their “brothers and sisters,” GDL members waved a Palestinian flag and stomped on an Israeli one with the words “Jews kill Palestinians” scrawled across it. Chants at the protest included: “Jews are taxing Americans and killing Palestinians;” “They take 8 million dollars of American tax dollars to kill Palestinian kids and to fund a race war with BLM;” “These Jews control all of the media. They kill Palestinians;” “Jews lie, American’s die. Jews lie, Palestinians die.”
On May 12, 2021, the group protested outside the ADL offices, shouting antisemitic chants and carrying bigoted, hateful signs.