While all forms of racism possess characteristics in common, antisemitism has one unique characteristic ― it tends to become genocidal.
Racism means treating certain people less favourably than others because of their race, ethnicity or skin colour. Its purpose is often to keep members of the targeted group “in their place” in an imagined racial hierarchy. Different forms of racism can vary dramatically in levels of seriousness, from a casual put-down through to deliberate social exclusion and violence. State sanctioned racism can include legalised discrimination and persecution, slavery and organised mass murder.
While all forms of racism possess characteristics in common, antisemitism has one unique characteristic ― it tends to become genocidal. Other forms of racism have escalated into mass murder in order to serve a more basic purpose, such as the conquest of territory or the acquisition of resources. With antisemitism, genocide is an end in itself. Jews are perceived and portrayed as evil per se and an existential threat to others. Many modern-era racists are not content with measures such as discrimination and oppression to subjugate and control Jews, or with expulsion, but aim not just at murdering, but completely annihilating all Jews.
Racists often express their desired solution to the presence of despised and unwanted minority groups. Contemporary white supremacists distinguish between Jews and other groups they hate by advocating the forced deportation of the latter and the mass murder of the former. This has often been illustrated in their graffiti, posters and online posts. Three examples which occurred in Australia over the last two years are instructive.
Racist graffiti was painted on the back walls and doors of buildings housing Asian restaurants in the middle-class leafy Sydney suburb of Epping in March 2019. The graffiti used neo-Nazi themes and symbols, including images of swastikas, the Nazi eagle, Stars of David crossed out, and the texts “Adolf Hitler,” “SS,” “Sieg Heil,” “Skinhead,” “White Power,” “1488” (symbolising the 14 words of the white supremacist creed and the words “Heil Hitler”), “B&H” (Blood and Honour), “KKK” and “6,000,000 Lies.”
The main part of the graffiti named the targets of the hatred: “Gooks fuck off,” “Niggers go home,” “Pakis go home,” “Watch out Jews,” “Fuck Jewish Scum,” “Kill Jews” and (to emphasise the latter, it was repeated) “Kill the Jews.” The message is clear. People of African, east Asian and south Asian background are to go back, either voluntarily or forcibly, to their countries of origin or ancestral lands, but Jews are to be treated differently ― instead of being deported, Jews are to be killed.
An online discussion on Gab, a Twitter-like platform for the far right, in July 2018 was initiated when a person using the name “Yatzie,” without even mentioning the word “Jew,” announced that the goal is to deport “Asians, Africans and Arabs/Muslims” and to annihilate all Australian Jews.
“Yatzie” wrote: “My goal is to … Push to do a Mass Deportation of Asians, Africans and Arabs/Muslims from Australia’s shores.” In response, “Tilly Oakum” wrote: “While you’re deporting all that excess biomass, you missed (((something))) …” using the echoes symbol ((( ))), which is a code to identify someone or something as Jewish, to indicate that “Yatzie” forgot to include Jews in the deportation plan. “Yatzie” explained that he “Wasn’t going to deport them. Don’t want them nor their children coming back. I hear the deserts are quite nice this time of year.” To which “Tilly Oakum” got quite excited and wrote: “Please ― shark bait, fertilizer or landfill.” “Yatzie” replied with, “Gonna make it a surprise.”
The neo-Nazi group Antipodean Resistance plastered thousands of posters around Australia over a two-year period from October 2016. Antipodean Resistance focussed most of their intense hatred on Jews and homosexuals. The group also focussed on immigrants of non-European ethnicity. The main anti-immigrant poster was titled “Stop the Hordes,” with derogatory names for different groups of Arab, south Asian, African and east Asian background. The posters demanded that they “Get Out!” in order to “Keep Australia White!” and accused “the Jews” of somehow being responsible for their immigration into Australia. Antipodean Resistance policy is to stop those of non-European ethnicity from immigrating to Australia and to deport those already living here.
In contrast, when it came to Jews, other Antipodean Resistance posters advocated the mass killing of Jews in Australia. One of the posters called to “Legalise the execution of Jews” and glorified an image from the Second World War showing the execution of a Jew during a mass killing, as part of the Nazi genocide of Jews. Another poster was of an image of a Star of David, representing Jews, in the fire of a Nazi-style crematorium, with the caption “Blaze It.” An online image that was posted is composed of a photo of the bulldozing of bodies at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp by British troops after the camp’s liberation, but with the bulldozer driver captioned as “Antipodean Resistance” and the bodies captioned as “Australian Jewry.”
Why the differential treatment in these and similar cases? The idea of deporting those of non-European ethnicity, from countries with a European ethnic majority, is perhaps considered the easiest and best solution by racists. It stems from the belief that ethnic-European majority countries should be “ethnically homogenous,” without, what they consider, “foreign races,” living in their midst. Their aim, therefore, is to remove those of non-European ethnicity from “European lands” and have them live elsewhere ― “ethnic cleansing” by emigration. As to the indigenous peoples of North America and Australasia, they are conveniently air-brushed out of the picture.
The genocidal nature of antisemitism is rooted in the maniacal and perverse belief that “the Jews” are innately evil and absolutely powerful. This derives from superstitions and mythologies about Jews that have blighted and shamed both European and Islamic civilisations since medieval times, and which have produced unspeakable barbarities. Modern-era conspiracy theories about “the Jews,” portrayed as nefarious and powerful, plotting to control the world, have added another layer to, and reinforced, these older theological and cultural myths. Jews have been among the most vulnerable and persecuted people in history, yet their tormentors continue to betray their own inner darkness by portraying Jews collectively as innately evil and absolutely powerful.
The false belief that “the Jews” are evil and powerful, and therefore an existential threat to the rest of humanity, produces the idea that murder and genocide are the “solution” to the “Jewish problem.” This is the main reason why modern-era racists tend to advocate that European ethnic majority countries (“white” nations) should deport those of non-European ethnicity (“non-whites”), but annihilate Jews.