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Antisemitic Metaphors and Latent Communication

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Chapter Summary

The National Socialists, in their antisemitic propaganda, made substantial use of metaphors with which they dehumanized their victims, including metaphors of plague, cancer, octopuses that encompass the whole world with their tentacles, and different sorts of insects and parasites. In contemporary anti-imperialist and Islamist caricatures, a lot of similarities with "classic" antisemitic illustrations are quite obvious. In recent years, something different happened in Germany. Metaphors of parasites appeared in political discourse without being linked to "the Jews" or to antisemitic ideology. This chapter debates whether those illustrations and metaphors are nonetheless connected to antisemitic ideology or whether, as their advocates assert, they are nowadays completely harmless and in no way problematic. Research has dealt with the fact that antisemitism is not an invariant stereotype but that it adapts to concrete historical circumstances and could be described as a "flexible prejudice". The stereotypical form of antisemitism consists of certain elements.

Keywords: antisemitic ideology; antisemitic metaphors; Jews; latent communication



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