The report can also be viewed below in two online versions. The first is an illustrated version matching the downloadable PDF. The second is a text only version for accessibility.
The New White Supremacist Politics – Illustrated Version
The New White Supremacist Politics – Text Version
WHY WHITE SUPREMACY AND QANON ARE ANTISEMITIC & A THREAT TO THE JEWISH COMMUNITY
The American Jewish Congress is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, founded in 1918 to advance Jewish interests and rights both at home and abroad. We are deeply concerned about the rise in domestic terrorism in the U.S., including the steep rise of white supremacy and antisemitic extremism.
American Jews are a primary target of white supremacists and the trends are dire. In February 2020, the FBI warned of the “…increasingly lethal threat posed by violent extremism to the Jewish community.” Data on domestic extremism from the first eight months of 2020 shows that white supremacists were responsible for 67% of domestic terrorist attacks.
That’s why we’ve written this new special report. It’s our third in a series of reports that have focused on the links between online radicalization and domestic terrorism. It explains how these threats have dangerously seeped into the highest levels of our country’s leadership and politics, as symbolized by this report’s focus: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA).
In the report, we explain how politicians like Greene systematically use social media to engage white supremacists in order to recklessly build their own political power, all the while strengthening white supremacists’ impact on American politics. Regrettably, we are now living in a dangerous era of new white supremacist politics.
In their Homeland Threat Assessment in October 2020 the U.S. Department of Homeland Security defined White Supremist Extremist as “A group or individual who facilitates or engages in acts of unlawful violence directed at the federal government, ethnic minorities, or Jewish persons in support of their belief that Caucasians are intellectually and morally superior to other races and/or their perception that the government is controlled by Jewish persons.”
The QAnon conspiracy movement began in 2017 on the 4chan and 8chan message boards. The poster “Q,” believed by supporters to be a high-level government insider, released a serious of cryptic messages they claimed will lead readers to the truth about a plot by the “deep state.”
Q’s messages reuse proven antisemitic tropes. The deep state conspiracy borrows heavily from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a work of fiction created to blame the Jews for a wide range of ills in society. The protocols are presented as the minutes of a meeting of a secret group that is supposedly in control of the world and which plans disasters that harm people and countries to advance their interests. In QAnon this is presented as the deep state.
QAnon also adopted the far newer “pizzagate” conspiracy, created in 2016, which claims that prominent politicians and members of Hollywood are part of a child trafficking ring. This is where the common QAnon hashtag #SaveTheChildren comes from. In essence, QAnon has integrated pizzagate with an antisemitic twist. It now claims the children are drained of blood, from which the chemical adrenochrome is then extracted and ingested as a drug. This is often described as being part of a satanic ritual.
This is the new, modern version of the antisemitic blood libel, which spread throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. The earliest of these cases was that of William of Norwich, who died in 1144. He was discovered stabbed to death and the Jewish community was falsely charged with killing him in order to use his blood in Passover rituals. QAnon uses historic church art depicting the blood libel to promote its modern conspiracy theory. In one example, a group on Gab called “Adrenochrome is made out of our babies” uses a well-known picture of the blood libel from the Nuremberg Chronicle, an illustrated encyclopedia from 1493. Claims of blood libel have historically led to pogroms in which Jewish communities were massacred. The modern spread of blood libels is deeply concerning and inherently antisemitic.
Bottom Line: White supremacy and QAnon are both inherently antisemitic ideologies that draw on historic antisemitism, give it renewed energy, incite violence, and put the Jewish community at risk.
MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE’S HISTORY OF CONSPIRACY THEORIES, FROM ANTISEMITISM TO XENOPHOBIA
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) entered Congress on January 3, 2021. On February 4th she was removed on an almost party-line vote from her committee assignments due to her support for hateful and violent conspiracy theories that she still promotes.
Greene ran for election as an open supporter of the QAnon conspiracy theory. After she was elected, it emerged that she had posted her own bizarre conspiracy theory blaming the 2018 California fires on Jewish space lasers and supported conspiracy theories that labelled the tragic school shootings in Sandy Hook and Parkland “false flag” planned events. Soon after the Parkland shooting Greene responded “Exactly!”, endorsing a comment on Facebook calling the attack “a false flag planned shooting”.
In one online video she engaged in a 9/11 conspiracy, falsely claiming that there is no evidence of a plane crashing into the Pentagon, claimed that President Obama was Muslim, and went further into Islamophobia and white supremacy, by describing the election of Muslims Americans to Congress as “an Islamic invasion of our government.”
In June 2020 Marjorie Taylor Greene said in a speech that “The most mistreated group of people in the United States today are white males.” In February 2021 Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO) said, “We cannot build an equitable, anti-racist society if a Member of Congress endorses white supremacy.”
Bottom Line: Greene is an unrepentant conspiracy theorist, whose embrace of this extremism strengthened her candidacy for Congress and actively helps her to maintain political power today.
“GAB,” A GROWING ONLINE HATE MACHINE, IS TURNING POLITICAL EXTREMISTS INTO STARS
Created in 2016, Gab is an alternative social media platform that lacks the boundaries and community standards that are now standard on mainstream social media platforms. Far from banning hate speech, Gab’s founder, Andrew Torba, stating on Gab in February 2021 that, “Hate speech isn’t real”. CNN describes Gab as “an alternative social media network popular with conservatives, the alt-right and some extremists.” In function, Gab is a cross between Facebook and Twitter.
Gab has become the central home for Alt-Right adherents and white supremacists who have been driven off the mainstream social media platforms. After the January 6th Capitol attack, Gab announced it had grown by more than 2.3 million new users in one week. Gab’s founder stated that 33 million people visited the site in January. The growth came as mainstream platforms kicked out insurrectionists and the broader QAnon movement.
Antisemitism, Holocaust denial, COVID conspiracy theories and more recently QAnon have found a home on Gab. The content is normalized and spread as Gab allows it to be liked and shared. Gab was also the platform of choice for Robert Bowers, indited for killing 11 people at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on October 27, 2018. It was on Gab that he posted “HIAS likes to bring invaders that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.” HIAS is a Jewish American nonprofit organization that has provided humanitarian aid and assistance to refugees since 1881.
An example of the content found on Gab can be seen in a post explicitly promoting a white supremacy blog piece and calling for “unconventional tactics” and “irregular politics,” which may well be expressed through domestic terrorism. The post included this quote from the linked webpage: “From the perspective of white popularism, all politics must now be irregular politics as conventional politics has been closed off to us. The Right has to move away from the mindset of the majority to the mindset of the put-upon minority. That means engaging in unconventional tactics. When you cannot participate in conventional politics in order to advance your interests, your choices are clear. You either submit and live the lie that is conventional politics, or you rebel and live outside the lie.”
Bottom Line: Gab’s unrestricted nature makes it a magnet for haters whose numbers continue to skyrocket, providing an enticing online venue for extremist politicians who want to grow their power.
GREENE’S ONLINE PLATFORM OF CHOICE IS “GAB,” JUST LIKE IT IS FOR A GROWING NUMBER OF EXTREMISTS
Unlike other Members of Congress, Marjorie Taylor Greene’s social media presence extends beyond mainstream platforms and onto Gab and the encrypted message platform Telegram. She has over 243,700 followers on Gab where she created her account in January 2021. Only her political Twitter account has a larger following, with over 374,500 followers, but it was established back in January 2017. Her Facebook campaign page, created in October 2017, by comparison has just 209,300 followers.
Greene created her Gab account on January 12th in the shadow of the Capitol attack. It rapidly gained a significant following of Gab users, demonstrating its political appeal. She promoted her account on Twitter in order to encourage her followers to join Gab. After the initial flood of 226.4k followers in less than a month, Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Gab following continued to grow by 8% into March.
Greene’s Gab account has become a key part of her mobilization effort, including fundraising. As political pressure against her mounted, and ultimately led to her removal from committee assignments, she raised over $160,000 in one day (February 3rd) and over $100,000 the following day. Her Gab account was a key part of this mobilization effort and she posted a “thank you” on Gab to her followers that was reposted over 2,000 times and liked over 15,000 times.
Bottom Line: Greene has fully embraced Gab for political power and fundraising purposes, bringing mainstream followers onto its extremist platform and mobilizing the extremists already there.
GREENE CULTIVATES, MOBILIZES, & INSPIRES HER EXTREMIST SUPPORTERS ONLINE, REWARDING HER WITH MORE POWER
We analyzed content openly posted to Gab by 100 randomly selected Gab supporters (i.e. followers) of Marjorie Taylor Greene. These supporters, who have recently engaged with her posted content, frequently post and/or share content that promotes white supremacy.
Many of Greene’s Gab followers also promote conspiracy theories about the January 6th Capitol attack. Posts inciting violence and insurrection are far too common.
58% of those who had interacted with Greene’s Gab profile shared her content or posted or shared other positive content about her with their followers. 54% posted or shared conspiracy theories about the January 6th attack on the Capitol. 54% posted or shared conspiracy theories and misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic. 42% posted or shared QAnon related content or content from self-identified QAnon accounts, 42% shared or posted content promoting or supporting white supremacy.
One post by Greene, liked by 10,770 people and shared by a further 2,343, shows Greene gaslighting by claiming that mainstream media is “addicting our nation to hate.” The post links to a Breitbart article about a press conference Greene gave.
Greene is not alone in this push. Gab’s founder, Andrew Torba, wrote on February 4th 2021, “We need 200+ Marjorie Taylor Greene’s in Congress. We need to absolutely overwhelm thee demons with solid patriots who actually represent We The People. 2022 is our revenge on the GOP. Anyone who didn’t stand by President Trump gets voted off the ticket in the primaries. Gab is proving to be a force in the American Popularist movement and this train has NO BRAKES!”. The post received over 9,600 likes and over 2,500 shares.
Bottom Line: Greene is fully aware of her supporters’ extremist views on Gab, who relish her voice.
GREENE’S SUPPORT ON GAB IS SATURATED WITH NEO-NAZIS, WHITE SUPREMACISTS & FAR-RIGHT EXTREMISTS
A significant number of Marjorie Taylor Greene’s supporters are openly engaged in posting and/or sharing content promoting white supremacy, some are neo-Nazis openly posting Swastikas and other Nazi symbols in their posts and on their profiles.
Given Gab’s courting of white supremacists and neo-Nazis who have been deplatformed from mainstream social media sites, their presence on Gab is both unsurprising and disturbing.
However, it is deeply troubling that Greene, a sitting Member of Congress, would choose to use such a platform to build a political base, demonstrating that she knowingly cultivates and engages with extremists for her political power.
There are multiple examples of white supremacist posts amongst Greene’s followers:
Many shared Gab posts describing crimes against white people, painting them as victims of non-whites. One had a picture of a young girl and a banner “#WHITELIVESMATTER”. A post declared March to be “stop blaming white people month.” Another said that the government was “openly hostile to white Christians.” One Greene supporter had a picture at the top of their profile with giant swastikas. Another shared a Gab post referencing the “great replacement” white supremacist conspiracy and linking to an article on VDARE, a website linked to white supremacists.
Great replacement” and “white genocide” conspiracy theories have also been promoted. These white supremacist conspiracy theories were also found in 2019 Christchurch attackers’ terrorist manifesto.
Bottom Line: White supremacist rhetoric, symbols, and grievance permeate the posts of Greene’s Gab followers, demonstrating her willingness to embrace overtly Antisemitic and extremist supporters.
GREENE’S SUPPORTERS DIG IN AND CALL THE JANUARY 6TH INSURECTION A HOAX, TO HER SILENCE
A common theme across the sample of supporters we examined was support for conspiracy theories around the January 6th attack on the Capitol. Many called it a “Hoax” and argued it was staged.
One Greene supporter wrote, “I never believed this storming of the Capitol and shooting was for real. George Floyd all over again.“ The post attacks the veracity of not only the deadly events at the Capitol, but those around the death of George Floyd at the hands of police which led to the global surge in support for Black Lives Matter. A number of Greene supported shared links to articles calling the Capitol attack a hoax, including a range of articles from the far-right website Gateway Pundit which is known for spreading fake news.
Other posts claimed those behind the attack were Democrats or Antifa. Some claimed there was a conspiracy to hide the identities of those involved. “Democrats confess to staging Jan 6th Capitol Attack,” claimed one post shared by a Greene supporter. The approach is reminiscent of Holocaust deniers who seek to deny the atrocities of the Nazis in order to make it easier to repeat them.
Bottom Line: Greene’s Gab feed provides a popular platform for Gab users to trade in extremist conspiracy theories. By giving them space to share, she legitimizes their claims to build power.
GREENE’S GAB SUPPORTERS CONTINUE TO POST AND SHARE INCITEMENT RHETORIC, POSING MORE DANGER
35% of the Greene supporters we reviewed on Gab either posted or shared content inciting insurrection or violence. Posts of incitement were frequently shared by some of these supporters.
A Greene supporter posted, “democrats conspired with foreign agents, lied, cheated and denied due process to Donald Trump” then accuses democrats of “coming for our guns.” The post continued, “there will be bloodshed… guerilla warfare… a revolution… they should expect targeted assassinations of leftist leaders.” Another post by a Greene supporter said, “If civil war breaks out today I’m ready to fight.”
Another post shared by a Greene supporter speaks of an “immanent revolution” and calls on law enforcement to “take a stand and to side with the people” against politicians. Another called on the military to act against “tyrannical government, media and corporations” saying “our constitute depends and demands you act now!!!”
One post by a Greene supporter spoke about the limitations on restaurant capacity saying, “DemoCRAP politicians should be hung for what they’ve done to these poor people who’ve lost everything!”
A Greene supporter and retired marine wrote, “They rigged and stole an election… Talking only gets you so far. That ends here and right now, time for corrective action!”
Bottom Line: The violent threat to our democracy posed by domestic extremists is real. Greene’s Gab platform not only provides a venue for their organization, but also gives her political power. This symbiotic relationship – supporting extremism to obtain power – thrives with Greene.