Nigel Farage has been condemned by the UK’s main Jewish groups, including the Board of Deputies, the country’s EJC affiliate, and MPs for repeatedly using language and themes associated with far-right antisemitic conspiracy theories, something for which he has been previously criticised.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews said Farage’s airing of claims about plots to undermine national governments, and his references to Goldman Sachs and the financier George Soros, showed he was seeking to “trade in dog whistles”.
The Brexit party leader, who has been criticised for agreeing to interviews with openly antisemitic US media personalities, was also condemned by the MPs who co-chair the all-party group against antisemitism.
Much of Farage’s most recent use of such themes has been connected to the Black Lives Matter protests, and his belief that dissenting voices are being silenced.
In a tweeted video message this month, Farage said the UK faced “cultural Marxism”, a term originating in a conspiracy theory based on a supposed plot against national governments, which is closely linked to the far right and antisemitism.
In the same message, Farage said companies who pulled TV adverts from rightwing TV shows were being pressured by “Soros-funded organisations”. George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist and campaigner, is a regular target for antisemitic conspiracy theories. Farage had made the same claim about Soros three days earlier in an interview with the far-right news website Breitbart.
In a recent opinion piece for the Newsweek website, Farage talked about “unelected globalists shaping the public’s lives based on secret recommendations from the big banks”. Goldman Sachs was the only bank he mentioned by name, echoing another common theme from far-right antisemitism.
Writing in a separate Newsweek column, Farage said Black Lives Matter was made up of radical socialists trying to destroy nationalism, “oftentimes funded by globalists”, another term linked to such ideas.
Amanda Bowman, vice-president of the Board of Deputies, said: “If Nigel Farage continues to trade in dog whistles and tropes about George Soros and Goldman Sachs, his decline into obscurity will continue apace. Mr Farage would do well to remember that this proud country has always rejected this sort of prejudice and fought wars to defeat it.”
The Community Security Trust, a charity that works for the safety of Jewish people in the UK, said in a statement: “This is not the first time that Nigel Farage has used language that evokes antisemitic conspiracy codewords, but the deeper problem is that this search for scapegoats will keep requiring new enemies and new excuses, moving the national debate into more polarising and dangerous places.”
Andrew Percy, the Conservative MP who co-chairs the all-party group on antisemitism, said Farage’s tendency of “simplifying everything into a grand conspiracy theory” risked spilling into racism.
“These conspiracy theories have real world and dangerous consequences and are without question antisemitic,” he said. “So now he is being put on notice. Farage needs to cut it out before he causes further harm by providing further fuel to racist antisemitic tropes and conspiracy theories.”
Labour MP Catherine McKinnell, the group’s other co-chair, said Farage was “like a bad salesman, peddling distrust and fear that someone is out to get us”.
She said: “Talk of shadow cabals, Soros conspiracies and other nonsense has repeatedly been proven to find its roots in anti-Jewish racism. His choice of language, which echoes some of that circulating amongst the far-right online, is worrying and getting worse.”
Farage’s representatives and the Brexit party were contacted for comment. A spokesman for Farage has condemned previous criticism of his language by Jewish groups and others as “pathetic” and “a manufactured story”.
Farage has previously aired beliefs associated with antisemitism in a series of interviews with the far-right US conspiracy theorist and radio host Alex Jones, and has called Soros “the biggest danger to the entire western world”.
He outlined similar themes in an interview with Revelation TV, a tiny UK evangelical Christian TV channel. He was also interviewed at least six times by Rick Wiles, a far-right, antisemitic US pastor who subsequently used his web radio show to claim Donald Trump’s impeachment was a “Jew coup”.
Farage remains leader of the Brexit party, which has largely halted its activities since December’s general election, although it could re-emerge if Boris Johnson extends the Brexit transition period.
His parallel career as a media personality suffered a blow this month when he lost his show on radio station LBC. Farage has recently sought to establish himself as a web-based media commentator, making videos about the arrival of migrants in boats across the Channel.
Farage’s representatives did not respond to a request for comment.