Why do neo-Nazis hate Jews?

This may seem like a strange question because of course the Nazis hated Jews, enough that they set about systematically trying to exterminate all of them. But the anti-Jewish racism of Nazi Germany had a plausible explanation. Demagogues always face a particular problem. Part of their appeal is to pander to their followers by telling them how great their race is. This message resonates especially when they are not doing so well, as was the case in pre-war Germany. But then you have the problem of explaining why, if they are so great, their country and their lives are not wonderful.

This is why demagogues need a designated enemy, an other, who can be blamed as the cause of their current bleak situation. In Hitler’s Germany, Jews played that useful role of being the scapegoat for Germany’s setbacks during and after the first World War. While the Romani people and homosexuals were thrown into the mix of people who were to be exterminated as the idea of racial purity expanded, it was Jews who provided an easy target.

But when it comes to the neo-Nazis now, especially in the US, Jews should not be an obvious target. For white nationalists, there are plenty of obvious targets that are far more visibly ‘the other’. There are plenty of people other than Jews, such as people of color, immigrants, Muslims and Sikhs, all of whom can be easily blamed for the plight of the white underclass, even if the charge is not true. Jews are not easily distinguishable since they are not (at least largely) seen as people of color. In the present time, they are pretty much integrated into white American society. Unless someone has an obviously Jewish name, one cannot (at least I cannot) tell if they are Jewish or not. And they are all over the map when it comes to political affiliations. For every George Soros that the right wing likes to demonize, there are plenty of right wing Jews playing some other role in politics. Jews cannot be accused of being the beneficiaries of the welfare state or of affirmative action the way that other minority groups are, policies which these white nationalists seem to think are being funded by ‘their’ tax dollars.

So why are Jews still in the crosshairs of the neo-Nazis? I doubt that those young people marching in Charlottesville chanting “Jews will not replace us” have studied the anti-Semitic classics like The Protocols of the Elders of Zion or have even heard of the slanders about Jewish ritual practices. Or even if they have, they would hardly seem relevant to them now. So why still hate Jews? Do they think that they have to be faithful to the entire ideology of Nazi Germany that spread to the US during that same time and have mindlessly adopted the entire package including the old slogans?

This reprint of a 1981 article titled Why do Nazis hate Jews? tries to explain this strange phenomenon but doesn’t really. It simply re-states the problem rather that explain it.

Many experts blame the nation’s economic problems for the new signs of anti-semitism. “Times of distress, social unrest and economic depression [are] often preliminary to outbreaks of anti-semitism,” explains the Rev. Edward H. Flannery, author of another book on the subject, “Anguish of the Jews.” In hard times people find it comforting to have a scape-goat, Flannery says, “And they always look in the direction of the Jews.”

But why are they still looking in the direction of Jews? As I said, there are now plenty of other scapegoats that are more easily identifiable and distinct than Jews who are largely assimilated and are a pretty tiny group anyway..

So back to my question: Why do the current neo-Nazis hate Jews? I am genuinely baffled.


  1. cartomancer says

    I think that the fact Jewish people blend in so well with everyone else is part of the myth. They are a conveniently shadowy fifth column who could be up to all sorts of mischief -- and there are lots of Jewish people prominent in finance, academia and the media, so they make for plausible movers and shakers of any international conspiracy on the ground. It’s rather like witches -- they’re hiding in plain sight, they could be your neighbours and they’re working to undermine all we hold dear.

    Which is not too far from anti-Jewish rhetoric throughout the ages. A lot of Medieval pogroms tended to happen in places where the nobility owed lots of money to Jewish moneylenders and decided that it was easier to hound the local Jewish community to death rather than pay it back.

  2. kestrel says

    I have no idea really, because I don’t have any clue how neo-nazis think or if they even do… but, in the past, I’ve had many, many religious people tell me that they hate Jews because “they killed Jesus”.

    It makes no sense, but in the past, when I’ve asked people this question that is what they have told me.

  3. unperson says

    Maybe it’s just the tradition? A lot of these clowns are lusting after some illusory past golden age. In that past golden age, proper white people had problems with jews. So they do too.

  4. says

    Yeah…I’ve wondered about it myself. I’ve come to a similar suspicion as cartomancer. You, Mano, have noted this yourself numerous times in posts about that lobbying group (or whatever they technically are)…trying to remember the name…AIPAC???

    From my personal, non-scientific observations, these white supremacists and Nazis do care for people of color less than they do for those with Jewish backgrounds. (This looks to be somewhat supported by a study mentioned in a post I saw on Pharyngula today.) But, when it comes to finding someone to blame for what they think is wrong in this country, people with a Jewish background would seem to make better scapegoats because they seem to have the most political influence out of the groups of people these supremacists hate.

  5. anat says

    White Supremacy Is Bad for the Jews. Let’s Be Bad for White Supremacy..

    From there:

    Pay attention. This administration is hell-bent on complete deregulation — unfettered access to money and resources for the corporations and their very rich top echelon, and to hell with all the rest of us. Crony capitalism plus demagoguery is a powerful brew, and anti-Semitism and anti-Blackness are both at work in the mix. Eric K. Ward’s excellent “Skin in the Game: How Antisemitism Animates White Nationalism” spells this out. The more the economic elite are consolidating their wealth and power, the more heavily they rely on white supremacy to get the majority of non-rich Americans to go along, and the more use they make of Jews as foils to get away with their corporate robbery in plain sight, without being noticed. It’s possible that this is another useful role Jared Kushner and Steven Miller play as court Jews. (Honestly, though, Steven Miller? And people call me a self-hating Jew because I’m not a Zionist? Such a one! In the words of Rabbi Aaron Spiegel’s Yiddish curses for Republican Jews, may he be reunited in the world to come with his ancestors, who were all socialist garment workers.)

    The comments section yells that the people to fear are Black and Brown people, Muslims, immigrants, and queers. The comments section acts like it’s revealing the evil Jewish mastermind behind it all, but that whole narrative actually functions as a desperate shout to pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

    When Trump, for example, can blow anti-semitic dog whistles about conspiracies of international bankers, he can distract the public from his own highly dubious financial deals (some of which actually have to do with international loans and some of which are under federal investigation right now).

    Guess what? We Jews aren’t the ones owning and controlling everything. We Jews are not the man behind the curtain. We Jews are the curtain.

    So basically, the traditional antisemitic scaremongering dovetails with the current regime’s scam of appealing both to people concerned with the economical issues of ‘white middle class’ and racial resentment.

  6. Ketil Tveiten says

    Like duh: the original Nazis hated the Jews, so obviously the neo-Nazis are going to neo-hate the neo-Jews. I don’t understand how this could be confusing, really. “Hating the Jews” is just as much a part of the Nazi package as “Swastika” and “Sieg Heil”.

  7. rpjohnston says

    The answer to your question is in the Tiki torches.

    In the good old days that these “people” yearn for, they could have gone into the woods and gotten their own sticks, some twine, pitch and matches, and made torches. In 2017, with mass communication they could have easily shared schematics for their own brand of Fashy Torches.

    Instead, these “people” -- this Master Race, the most intelligent, strongest, beautiful, supreme, entitled to rule the world, on whose glorious vision and labor civilization was built -- had to go to Wal-mart and trade their balls in for tiki torches. They were too inept, or too afraid of getting dripped on by hot pitch, to make their own Bundle Of Sticks On Fire.

    These aren’t visionaries, or leaders, or fighters. They’re spoiled, entitled brats, who’ve had everything MADE for them, everything PROVIDED for them, for no more cost than it takes to buy at Wal-mart with White Bux. They have never been pushed past their own mediocrity, never been pushed to MAKE something of their own.

    Does it surprise you that people who can’t craft their own Bundle Of Sticks On Fire can’t craft a whole political ideology. Of course they have store-bought Nazism, just like they have store-bought torches. That’s what they’re “fighting” for, to have everything sold to them at the store.

  8. sonofrojblake says

    There are plenty of people other than Jews, such as people of color, immigrants, Muslims and Sikhs, all of whom can be easily blamed for the plight of the white underclass

    Fear -- just a different kind of fear than that aimed at the people you list.

    Even the dumbest knuckle dragging Nazi (who I’m going to refer to as male because nobody will object) can see that, en masse, those minorities aren’t doing so well. That goes even more so for the huge majority of those people who don’t live in the US, all the millions in Mexico and Africa and billions in Asia. Ultimately, whether he realises it or not, he fears those minorities because they might come take his job. And he is at least somewhat rational in that fear -- that’s capitalism, and if someone else will do his job for less, it’s at risk. Welcome to globalisation.

    Meanwhile, almost half the world population of Jews lives in the US, and they appear to be doing better than fine. The blue collar racist in the USA fears the Jew who can fire him… or more realistically, the Jew who can fire his boss’s boss’s boss. The impression he has of Jews (drawn from all the popular culture surrounding him) is of disproportionate power and success. And again, this fear is at least somewhat rational, because by most metrics our society uses to measure success, the Jewish people are demographically disproportionately powerful and successful.

    It’s easy, therefore, for motivated leaders to sell the idea of a Jewish conspiracy. You don’t need boring old stuff like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. You need only mention the 2007 financial crisis and the role of Lehmann Brothers. You need only mention Hillary Clinton making speeches for huge payouts to… Goldman Sachs. Point to 33% of Supreme court Justices hailing from a demographic group that forms less than 3% of the population, while African Americans (13% of the population) have just one (i.e. 11%). And so on -- simply pointing to examples of Jewish success is enough, if you frame it (extreme) right. Fear and envy will do the rest.

  9. says

    An invisible enemy is scarier than a visible one.

    It’s easier to lie and fantasise about people you’ve never met -- or never even seen. Which is why the best scapegoats of all are people who don’t even exist -- cultural marxists, the illuminati, the deep state etc.

  10. Dunc says

    Cultural evolution is like biological evolution, in that it occurs by descent with modification. Today’s fascists hate Jews because they learned their ideology from previous generations of fascists who hated Jews. The precise forms vary somewhat over time, whilst retaining the major outlines. It’s like how we have five fingers because we’re descended from fish with five bones in their fins.


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