Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off your first 2 months of Unlimited Monthly. Start your subscription for just £35.99 £24.99. New subscribers only T&Cs apply

Find out more

The place of antisemitism in the Far-right

The place of antisemitism in the Far-right
As we can see, antisemitism has constituted an essential part of Far-right ideological content, both in the past and in the present. It is important to point out, however, that when discussing the contemporary world, Jews, particularly in Europe, are not the major target of the Far-right today. Rather it is the immigrants and refugees, most of whom are Muslims from the Middle East, Africa and Afghanistan, that are currently attracting the attention of the Far-right; and anti-Muslim rhetoric and actions are polarizing society. This being said, antisemitism in its variant forms is still very much a part of these groups’ ideologies and actions, existing alongside Islamophobia and other forms of racism and xenophobia. Why is antisemitism so attractive to Far-right groups and movements?
So in the Far-right, conspiracy is a very strong part and parcel of their imagination, and the conspiracy theme again is linked very strongly to the ‘world conspiracy’ stereotype about Jews. That has always been part of the Far-right and still is part of the right-wing populist ideology. Another important criterion is the anti-globalization of the Far-right. There they target not sort of the financial capital etc per se but cosmopolitanism and cosmopolitanism has always been linked to Jews. Jews were always seen as mobile, as moving, as not being based in a nation-state, not being loyal to a nation-state, as sort of going after their own interests. Everything I say is, of course, under quotation marks, and this is part of the cosmopolitanism cliche.
So the anti-globalization movement of the Far-right necessarily again evokes antisemitic stereotypes and cliches. And finally the sort of left which is targeted by the Far-right, obviously as the opposition group, and the left-wing has always been linked to intellectuals and to revolutionaries etc. These were always also linked to the stereotype of the Bolshevik Jew. So again in this objective you can also mobilize antisemitic cliches. So in that way, the Far-right mobilizes all these collective cliches, which are apparent in most of the countries, and in the collective memories, and can be mobilized whenever they believe that it makes sense.

Prof. Ruth Wodak

In previous weeks we saw how antisemitism held a major part in Far-right ideologies. What place does it hold in this sphere today and why?


  • Caiani, Manuela, Donatella della Porta and Claudius Wagemann, eds., Mobilizing on the Extreme Right: Germany, Italy, and the United States (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012).

  • Rensmann, Lars, “The Politics of Paranoia: How—and Why—the European Radical Right Mobilizes Antisemitism, Xenophobia, and Counter-Cosmopolitanism,” in Charles Asher Small, ed., Global Antisemitism: A Crisis of Modernity (Boston: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2013).

  • Wodak, Ruth, “The Radical Right and Anti-Semitism,” in Jens Rydgren, ed., The Oxford Handbook of the Radical Right (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018).

This article is from the free online

Antisemitism: From Its Origins to the Present

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now