Number of Americans who believe antisemitic ideas has doubled since 2019, new survey finds
Plus, Proud Boys go to trial, and the live-streamer known as 'Baked Alaska' goes to prison. It's the week in extremism, from USA TODAY.
The number of Americans who hold extensive antisemitic prejudice and believe in antisemitic tropes has doubled since 2019, according to a new annual study from the Anti-Defamation League. A far-right troll and provocateur gets 60 days in prison for his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection, and the Proud Boys Jan. 6 seditious conspiracy trial picks a jury and gets under way.
It's this week in extremism.
Antisemitic views double
One-fifth of people surveyed by the Anti-Defamation League believe in six or more ideas the group describes as anti-Jewish tropes, the highest level the group has found in three decades. The ADL has been studying antisemitism in America since the 1960s, and now works with the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.
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- The ADL surveyed 4,000 people in September and October 2022. Surveyors asked participants to rate the truthfulness of 14 statements, each of which described different traditional anti-Jewish stereotypes or conspiracy theories.
- The results showed that 85% of respondents believe at least one antisemitic trope, and 20% of people believe in at least six tropes, which is almost twice the 11% who responded that way in 20019.
- Examples of the tropes the ADL asked about include whether “Jews stick together more than other Americans,” or “Jews have too much power in the business world” and “Jews have a lot of irritating faults.”
“Those of us on the front lines have expected such results for a while now — and yet the data are still stunning and sobering," ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said in a statement. "There is an alarming increase in antisemitic views and hatred across nearly every metric — at levels unseen for decades."
Go deeper: You can read the full study here.
Baked Alaska in prison
Anthime Gionet, aka "Baked Alaska," a far-right troll and provocateur who livestreamed his entry to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, was sentenced to 60 days in prison Monday by a district court judge in Washington, D.C.
- Gionet made a name for himself by performing on-camera stunts including ripping down a menorah and Hanukkah sign in Arizona and spraying a bouncer with pepper gel after he was ejected from a nightclub.
- Gionet also spent years as a mainstay of far-right media, culminating in his self-filmed livestream on Jan. 6.
- "I’ve learned a lot since then & grown to be a better person," Gionet tweeted the day before his sentencing.
Almost 1,000 charged: Gionet joins more than 350 people who have been sentenced for their roles on Jan. 6 according to the Department of Justice. Almost 1,000 people have so far been charged.
Proud Boys Trial underway
The Jan. 6 seditious conspiracy trial of five former leaders of the extremist street gang the Proud Boys got fully underway in Washington, D.C., this week, with opening remarks from federal prosecutors and defense attorneys taking place on Thursday. USA TODAY reporter Ella Lee was in the courtroom and will be covering the trial.
- “To these men…(the election) was a fraud,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason McCullough said in the prosecution’s opening remarks, as reported by Lee. “And they were there to stop it.”
- But Nick Smith, attorney for defendant Ethan Nordean, told the jury the government's case is based on the false premise that the defendants' talk of a "stolen" election led to the Jan. 6 riot. “Don’t take the bait,” he told the court.
- Context: The case is the second seditious conspiracy trial brought by federal prosecutors. In a trial late last year, Stewart Rhodes, founder of the extremist group the Oath Keepers, and a key accomplice were both found guilty os seditious conspiracy. Two other Oath Keepers were found guilty of serious felonies.
As I reported last week, the two years since Jan. 6 have seen big changes for the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers and other extremist groups. But the hateful ideologies that underpin those groups have gone nowhere, and experts caution that violent domestic extremism remains a grave threat to public safety.
Hate groups fragmented, not dead:Two years since the Jan. 6 insurrection, extremist ideas live on
Catch up:Last week in extremism