Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky צילום: רויטרס

According to an analysis published this week by Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, a worrying picture is emerging in which extremist movements on both the far-left and far-right are exploiting the war between Russia and Ukraine to spread antisemitic propaganda.

Extreme Right

Some far-right movements have advanced antisemitic conspiracy theories of Jewish culpability for the war based on the Jewish identity of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

White supremacists have also lamented what they describe as a ‘brother war’ between two white nations fueled by a Jewish conspiracy seeking to annihilate Western civilization and establish a ‘New World Order.'

Other antisemitic conspiracy theories regarding the Russia - Ukraine war frame Russian President Vladimir Putin as being controlled by Russian-Jewish oligarchs.

This extremist far-right rhetoric has occasionally degenerated into calls for violence against Jews.

Extreme Left

Extremist left-wing activists have compared the Russia-Ukraine war to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and have used the current war to advance anti-Zionist messaging. These claims have been championed by high profile political and media figures on the progressive left.

Nazi-related rhetoric and abuse of Holocaust memory

Nazi-related rhetoric and utilization of the memory of the Holocaust has been widespread in relation to the current war, and is characteristic of the discourse patterns of the Russia-Ukraine information war.

"Holocaust Remembrance Day reminds us more and more every year of the horrific consequences of antisemitism, ignorance and unbridled hatred of Jews,” Minister of Diaspora Affairs Nachman Shai said in a statement Wednesday morning.

"It is sad to see extremist movements exploiting the terrible situation in Ukraine for cynical purposes and to increase hatred and division. The State of Israel has a historical duty to preserve the memory of the Holocaust, to fight ignorance and to declare war on antisemitism."