Fourteen years after the 9/11 attacks, terrorist groups motivated by Islamic extremist ideology continue to rely on depictions of a Jewish enemy – coupled with violent opposition to the State of Israel – to attract and recruit followers.
In a new report, “Anti-Semitism: A Pillar of Islamic Extremist Ideology,” the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) examines the nature and function of anti-Semitism in terrorist propaganda, focusing on recent rhetoric being promoted by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Al Qaeda, and Al Shabaab.
“Anti-Semitism remains at the core of Islamic extremist ideology and Jew hatred is often used as a rallying cry and recruitment tool,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL National Director. “We are witnessing terrorist organizations quickly adapting to social media platforms and new technology to reach an ever-widening pool of potential recruits. As terrorists continue to adapt their violent ideologies to social media, anti-Semitic narratives have become more easily accessible than ever before.”
Among the most prevalent themes outlined in the report are:
New technology and the development of social media platforms have been key in aiding the promotion of terror propaganda and related anti-Semitic narratives;
Anti-Semitism remains a central element in Al Qaeda and its affiliate’s efforts to recruit and motivate a new generation of supporters and would be jihadists;
ISIS threats against Jews are often most pronounced under two sets of circumstances: when there is conflict involving Israel and the Palestinians, and when it wants to reinforce perceptions of strength;
Various terrorist propaganda, including online magazines, such as AQAP’s Inspire, continue to portray Jews as a key force at war with Islam;
Even terrorist organizations such as Al Shabaab that operate in locations with little to no Jewish presence employ anti-Semitic narratives to mobilize support;
Supporters of Palestinian terror on social media regularly share and post anti-Semitic and anti-Israel content inciting violence;
Recent attacks in Europe against specifically Jewish targets underscore the danger of violent anti-Semitic messages;
Several individuals linked to terrorist plots and other activity in the U.S. were influenced, at least to some degree, by anti-Semitic and anti-Israel messages.