When renowned antisemite and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan referred to Jews as termites in a 2018 tweet, he was trafficking a well-known antisemitic trope comparing Jews to vermin or other creatures. But not everyone recognized the termite as a symbolic antisemitic term.  

Knowing the history of antisemitic tropes and how to avoid them is the first step to fighting the increasing hatred of Jews, which is why AJC this week published a glossary of two dozen antisemitic terms and tropes, with definitions and explanations of why they are antisemitic when used in a certain context. Titled Translate Hate, the glossary’s publication coincided with the FBI’s release of data showing Jews and Jewish institutions represented the overwhelming majority of targets of religion-based hate crimes in the United States last year.

Of the 7,120 total hate crimes reported in 2018, 1,550 were motivated by religious bias, and the majority of those — 57.8% — were anti-Jewish.

In addition to blatant Jew hatred such as denying the Holocaust or engaging in blood libels – accusing Jews of using the blood of children to make ritual bread – here are three seemingly innocuous terms or concepts that seekto disparage Jews.

  1. Control

One of the most enduring conspiracy theories about Jews is the infamous tale of a Jewish cabal that controls the media, financial institutions, and governments. Its origins can be traced to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a fabricated series of reports from fictional meetings of Jewish leaders supposedly held in Basel, Switzerland in 1897. The anti-Jewish propaganda reflected the paranoia of tsarist Russia and propagated the belief that Jews had devised a secret plot to overthrow Christian civilization and rule the world.

According to conspiracy theorists who blame Jews for all the world’s ills, including the Black Death and the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the “elders’ protocols” are now in motion. With the help of money, guile, and influence, they say Jews still pull the strings of the world’s economies and governments to further their own global agenda for total domination of the so-called “New World Order.”

  1. Dual Loyalty

Not to be confused with dual citizenship, dual loyalty is just plain offensive. Often used in the context of Jews’ love for Israel, it implies that American Jews who support the existence of the Jewish state have a conflict of interest and therefore can’t be trusted.

That said, the trope long predates the modern State of Israel. First century Romans accused Jews of dual loyalty. In the late 19th century, French Jews were accused of dual loyalty during the notorious Dreyfus Affair, the wrongful conviction of a French army captain of Jewish descent for treason.

Accusations of disloyalty have been close cousins to dual loyalty ever since World War I, when Jews were accused of dodging military service and their allegiance was questioned.

Questions of allegiance have come up several times this year during heated debate among politicians in Washington, D.C., including suggestions that Jews who vote for Democrats show “great disloyalty” and questions about whether politicians should “push for allegiance to a foreign country,” referring to Israel.

  1. Globalist

A globalist refers to someone who approaches foreign policy and the economy through an international lens and sees the advantages of countries and corporations connecting beyond national borders and around the globe.

It’s often actually just another form of the dual loyalty accusation, used to argue that Jewish people have more allegiance to a global economy or international political system than their own country. It’s employed to discredit the motivations of Jews who are wrongly accused of attempting to enhance their control (yes, there's that word again) over the world’s banks, governments, and media.

Hitler often portrayed Jews as “international elements” who “conduct their business everywhere,” posing a threat to all people who are “bounded to their soil, to the Fatherland.”

Today, globalist is code for cosmopolitan Jewish elites who are allegedly using their international connections and supposed control over big corporations to dismantle Western society. The term has been leveled frequently at George Soros, a Hungarian-born Jewish billionaire who funds progressive initiatives around the world.

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