When a cable TV program in Manchester, N.H., included offensive
Jewish stereotypes this summer, some in the area weren't surprised
when, a few days later, a local synagogue was defaced with anti-
Semitic graffiti. Or when, around the same time, extremist groups
distributed hate literature in several other New Hampshire
Anecdotal evidence indicates that such incidents are on the rise
across the country. In Westchester County, N.Y., for example, there
were 26 anti-Semitic incidents last year, up from seven in 2002.
Members of the West Virginia-based National Alliance have become
active in the Pacific Northwest, leafleting in many communities and
showing up at antiwar rallies with signs saying "No More Wars for
Israel." Later this month, the National Socialist Movement (which
traces its roots to the American Nazi Party) is holding a rally at
the Valley Forge National Historical Park in Pennsylvania.
Young people in particular seem to be the targets of such
efforts. Panzerfaust Records, a Minnesota-based music label
specializing in "radical pro-White rock music" and Nazi
paraphernalia, just announced that it will sponsor "Project
Schoolyard" - the distribution of 100,000 sample CDs featuring such
bands as "Skrewdriver," "Bound for Glory," and "Max Resist," on
school campuses, in malls, and at mainstream concerts.
But anti-Semitic rhetoric these days is showing up on the left as
well as the right, says Brian Levin, director of the Center for the
Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San
It's more noticeable in Europe, he says, where the left-wing
movement is much more vibrant than it is in the US, and where there
is strong opposition to the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. But
it's also "seeping into the debates that we see here in the United
States," says Mr. Levin, and it's appearing in the literature and
rhetoric found on American college campuses.
"One of the ways that you can excite your anger against the
United States is to accuse the United States of not just having
wrong-headed policies, but of being impermissibly influenced by this
kind of Jewish cabal," says Levin.
Left-leaning Internet discussion sites have seen heated
conversations about whether or not opposition to the war in Iraq,
coupled with criticism of Israel's policy vis a vis Palestinians,
amounts to not-so-thinly-veiled anti-Semitism.
Meanwhile, and despite the passing last week of the neo-Nazi
Aryan Nations founder Richard Butler in Idaho, there's evidence that
new antigovernment militia cells are forming in many states.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) estimates that the number
of racist skinhead groups in the United States has doubled over the
past year, and that the Aryan Nations has 11 new chapters. The SPLC
tracked 751 hate-group chapters in 2003, 43 more than the previous
More recently, the Anti-Defamation League warned that right-wing
militia activists have been recruiting members and mobilizing new
groups or cells in at least 30 states as well as on the Internet. …