Who Would Have Imagined that 77 Years Later We Would Be Still Battling Nazi Symbolism in American Politics
New American Jewish Congress Special Report
Whether it is Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who perseveres in calling political opponents Nazis, or Robert F. Kennedy Jr. who implied recently that Anne Frank had more freedom in hiding from the Nazis than people have today under U.S. vaccination policies, such comparisons distort the Holocaust, radicalize our political discourse, and fuel antisemitism. Our report highlights how the trend has become deeply problematic in Georgia. This is partly because of Rep. Greene’s continued extreme activism and rhetoric in comparing vaccine mandates to the Holocaust. Another example is the condonement of Nazi symbols by Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker, who excused the use of swastikas by a person that was raising funds for him.
Social media platforms are greatly contributing to exacerbating this problem, with comparisons between Covid-19 restrictions and the Holocaust flooding the web. The report carefully analyzes the alternative social media platform Gab, which is minimally moderated and thus the platform of choice for Holocaust denying white supremacists and neo-Nazis, and it highlights how such discourse has metastasized within the anti-vaxxer movement. The report highlights how the growing intersection between neo-Nazi activity and the anti-vaxxer movement is fueling the growth of modern Nazism and thus representing a direct threat to the American democracy.
The report explains how online political extremism is developing:
- Anti-vaxxers use inappropriate Holocaust analogies to oppose public health efforts, creating high levels of Holocaust distortion.
- Nazi groups use Holocaust distortion to engage anti-vaxxer groups and see it as an opening to flood these groups with Nazi glorification, Holocaust denial, and antisemitism.
- Nazi groups absorb anti-vaxxer massaging and spread versions of it, with more overt antisemitism, within their own groups.
Jack Rosen, President of American Jewish Congress, commented on the report and its findings:
“With polarization continuing to grow, the comparisons of political opponents to real Nazis are becoming normalized. This is a new low for our politics and our country. But it is not only problematic on a moral level, but also shows a decline in our democracy and democratic discourse. We also see the proliferation of alternative social media platforms that actually encourage such extreme behavior. When considering all of these, we have a recipe for disaster.
That’s why this week, as we come together to honor the memory of the six million Jewish lives lost in the Holocaust, it is more important than ever to reject the revitalization of Nazi symbolism. This cannot and should be the new normal in America. Only by rejecting such extremism forcefully can we make sure that these atrocities never happen again.”
Background on the American Jewish Congress’ Advisory Board to Counter Domestic Terrorism and White Supremacy
In June 2021, the American Jewish Congress launched an Advisory Board to Counter Domestic Terrorism and White Supremacy. This Board advises the organization on its efforts to combat these threats to the Jewish community and the United States. The Board is comprised of a bipartisan set of eminent leaders spanning national security, law enforcement, counter terrorism, foreign policy, legal, and civil rights expertise. It seeks to combat white supremacist and domestic terrorist activity by identifying the social and technological accelerants that drive extremism while also recommending government policies to counter these trends.
Background on the American Jewish Congress
The American Jewish Congress has been a legacy organization of the Jewish community for over 100 years. Founded in 1918 by leaders like Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, Albert Einstein, Golda Meir, U.S. Supreme Court Justices Louis Brandeis and Felix Frankfurter, the American Jewish Congress helps shape the Jewish voice of tomorrow by defending Jewish interests at home and abroad through public policy advocacy, legislation, and the courts.
For more information on the American Jewish Congress and our efforts to combat white supremacy and domestic terrorism, visit www.ajcongress.org. The organization’s latest reports on radicalization and white supremacy in the United States can be found HERE.