Recognising Antisemitism

A guide to the language, themes and imagery of ‘the oldest hatred’

Antisemitism is a millennia-old phenomenon that, over the centuries, has spawned its own unique beliefs, language and mythology. It is an ideology in its own right.

Antisemitic Imagery

Here, the antisemitic gesture known as the ‘Quenelle’ is being performed. It has been described as an inverted Nazi salute. Its creator, the French ‘comedian’ Dieudonné, was recently given a two-month prison sentence for incitement to hatred over racist and antisemitic comments in his show. In January 2014, the French Interior Ministry linked the Quenelle to antisemitism and extremism.

In Nazi Germany, Jews were dehumanised by being forced to wear a yellow star in order to render them easily identifiable by the rest of the population. The use of the image today for anything other than academic or documentary purposes is always antisemitic.

This grotesquely antisemitic caricature of a Jew embracing the USA while preparing to stab it in the back is both conspiracy theory and blood libel in one. It conveys the idea that Jews manipulate the American government, and are prepared to harm others to further their own ends.

An antisemitic representation of a Jew as a vampire-like creature devouring other people, presumably non-Jews. The emblems used send the message that it is being done for the benefit of Israel and Freemasonry. Again, this is a combination of conspiracy theory and blood libel.

This portrayal of the Jew as blood-sucking parasite is a modern combination of blood-libel and Nazi-era dehumanisation.

The message being conveyed here is that Jews relentlessly indoctrinate children about the Holocaust.

This image of the entrance to Auschwitz on top of a cash register promotes the libel, popular among antisemites, that Jews fabricated the Holocaust as a long-term means of generating money for themselves.