How Antisemitism and Racism interconnect and the Evolution of Far Right Extremism

February 27, 2023

On February 19th, the Collaboratory Against Hate co-director, Dr. Kathleen Blee and researcher Dr. Rachel Kranson led a discussion on Antisemitism at Rodef Shalom Congregation, fortuitous timing considering  antisemitic Day of Hate threats this past weekend.

Dr. Blee discussed how antisemitism is at the core of far right extremism and which, unlike the former, more covert days of the KKK, has gone mainstream, taking over political parties, sports and even fashion. Far right extremists promote a fluid constellation of ideas: anti government, 2nd amendment, anti vax, etc. with their strategy being to bring society to the brink of chaos and collapse by going after issues that seem to have nothing to do with antisemitism and racism.

Dr. Kranson discussed how antisemitism and racism have amplified one another over the course of American history. She shared how incidents of American antisemitism, such as the lynching of Leo Frank and the synagogue bombings in the American South during the Civil Rights era were shaped by both racist and antisemitic ideologies.

Dr. Blee is a world renowned research expert on white supremacy and its evolution over the last century. A distinguished professor of sociology and current Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at University Pittsburgh, she has won numerous awards for her research and books including a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize. She is a Co-Director of the Collaboratory Against Hate.

Dr.  Kranson is an Associate Professor and Director of Jewish Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. She has authored and been awarded for her research and books focusing on Jewish culture in postwar America and it’s intersectionality with feminism.

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