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.

Conspiracy Theories

The persecution of Jews has always been underpinned by the idea that they participate in secret and sinister plots to exert wide-ranging control throughout the world. The belief that Jews use this control in order to profit while non-Jews suffer was one of Hitler’s key justifications for the Holocaust. Here are some of the most common conspiracy theories.

Banking / Media / Government

References to Jews secretly controlling any of these always have an antisemitic motivation.

Protocols of the Elders of Zion

or just


This is an antisemitic document that was forged at the start of the twentieth century by the secret police of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and used to incite mob violence against Jews. It purports to be the minutes of a meeting of Jewish leaders, at which they discussed their plans for global domination.


The Rothschilds established themselves as a wealthy family of bankers in the early nineteenth century. They appear in many anti-Jewish conspiracy theories (see below) as a sinister, controlling force. The use of ‘Rothschild’ (i.e. ‘A Rothschild plot’) is invariably a device to avoid saying ‘Jew’ or ‘Jewish’.

ZOG (Zionist Occupied Government)

This idea holds that the official government of a country is just a puppet, while the real control is exercised behind the scenes by a cabal of Jews.


Supposedly Jews, not Islamist terrorists, were responsible for flying passenger jets into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, so that they would profit from the resulting war. This is backed up by the equally false belief that no Jews were killed in the attack, as they had all been warned to stay at home that day.


It is alleged that Jews were responsible for the London Underground bombings on 7th July 2005, not Islamist terrorists.