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Anti-Semitic "Dog Whistles"

Following the events of October 7, an unsettling number of rallies around the world have espoused anti-Semitic rhetoric, either through anti-Semitic ‘dog-whistles’, or with explicit calls for violence against Jews. These are some examples of dog-whistles that are blatantly anti-Semitic:

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Use of the term anti-Zionism as a cover for anti-Semitic language

The idea of Jews controlling the world has existed for a long time, but was popularized in the Russian text “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, published in 1903. It describes a vast Jewish plan for global domination, and claims to be the minutes of a meeting of Jewish leaders, these being the Elders of Zion. This text was spread by the Nazis, Soviets, and even Henry Ford.

A number of sources link anti-Zionism with antisemitism. French President Emmanuel Macron calls anti-Zionism "a reinvention of anti-Semitism." In 2015, a German court in Essen ruled that "'Zionist' in the language of anti-Semites is a code for Jew". Professor Robert S. Wistrich argues that "Anti-Zionism has become the most dangerous and effective form of anti-Semitism in our time… relying on an anti-Semitic stereotypization of classic themes, such as the manipulative 'Jewish lobby,' the Jewish/Zionist 'world conspiracy,' and Jewish/Israeli 'warmongers'". When a student attacked Zionism in the presence of Dr. Martin Luther King, King responded to the student, "When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You're talking anti-Semitism."

One can harshly criticize Israel’s leaders and actions without being anti-Semitic, however accusing “Zionists,” or anyone who supports the existence of the State of Israel, of behavior commonly associated with age-old tropes about Jews (such as greed, bloodthirstiness, and power) is anti-Semitic. Additionally, this rhetoric villainizes the vast majority of Jews around the world who identify with Zionism, or feel a connection or kinship with Israel (regardless of their individual views on Israeli policies).

This trope can sometimes take the form of “Zionism is Racism”: This stems from United Nations Resolution 3379 in 1975, in which the General Assembly linked Zionism and the State of Israel to racism and racial discrimination. This resolution was overturned in 1991. Zionism is the historic aspiration of Jews to self-determination, specifically with the establishment of a Jewish nation in the historic Land of Israel. This phrase, and the overturning of this resolution, suggests that Jews do not have a right to self-determination.


Dual Loyalty:

Dual loyalty is a bigoted trope used to cast Jews as the “other.” Dual loyalty accusations often occur on college campuses when Jewish students are asked to denounce the actions of the Israeli government in order to participate in progressive activities. Videos have emerged recently of Jewish students being attacked and chased by pro-Palestinian supporters, even in the absence of pro-Israel sentiment from those Jewish students.


“From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free”:

Chanted by Palestinians and their supporters at Free Palestine/Anti-Israel protests, this refers to the entire area in between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea — an area that encompasses not just territories captured by Israel in 1967 during the Six-Day War, but the entirety of Israel. Referring to that entire area as “Palestine” is not a call to end the occupation, to create a two-state solution, or even to return Israel to the borders that existed before 1967. It is a call for the elimination of Israel in its entirety. Israel is home to nearly half of the world’s Jewish population. The only way one can eliminate Israel and turn that whole area into Palestine is by killing millions of Jews. Following the events of October 7, 2023, Germany decried the public utterance of this phrase, classifying it as anti-Semitic rhetoric. This phrase is also a rallying cry for terrorist groups and their sympathizers, from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) to Hamas, which called for Israel’s destruction in its original governing charter in 1988.


“There is only one solution, Intifada, Revolution”:

Another common chant at pro-Palestinian rallies. It references the famous Nazi ‘final solution’, which was meant to solve the Jewish problem once and for all by exterminating European Jewry. Intifada is an Arabic word meaning “to shake off”, and was a rallying cry for Palestinian terrorists during the first and second intifadas, during which hundreds of Jewish civilians were killed in schools, hospitals, cafés, and bus bombings. Most notably, Palestinian youth engaged in suicide bombings of Israeli civilian areas. In 2015, a wave of violent knife attacks against Israeli civilians was perpetrated by Palestinians, and came to be known as the knife intifada. Calls for intifada are explicit calls for violence against Jewish and Israeli civilians, and when coupled with Nazi rhetoric, paint a clear picture of a desire to harm and kill Jews around the world.



In Islamic tradition, a warrior who gives life to the ‘struggle’ or ‘holy war’ is considered a ‘Shahid’, or a martyr. Muslim theologians have expanded the meaning of jihad to embody the armed struggle inherent in expanding the territories ruled by Muslims. This concept is often coupled with phrases in the Qur’an and the Hadith which call for the murder of Jews, such as: “The Hour will not begin until you fight the Jews, until a Jew will hide behind a rock or a tree, and the rock or tree will say: ‘O Muslim, O slave of Allah, here is a Jew behind me; come and kill him – except the gharqad (a kind of thorny tree)’.


“Glory to the Martyrs”:

These chants are often heard at pro-Palestinian rallies, and have been echoed by leaders of Islamic countries, such as Iran, Jordan, and Lebanon. Palestinians have been referring to terrorists as martyrs since the 1920s, and will consider anyone who dies at the hands of the IDF to be a martyr. The Palestinian government educates young children on how to become martyrs, and makes role models of child suicide bombers. Palestinian leaders encourage civilians to die in the service of ‘liberating’ Palestine, and routinely count terrorists and Hamas fighters amongst civilian-casualties. When considered in this historical context, glory to the martyrs is meant to praise and elevate those Palestinians that have successfully taken Jewish and Israeli lives.



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