After Campaign Against Antisemitism was among the earliest to warn of a spike in antisemitic incidents online in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis, more evidence is emerging across the world that the coronavirus has become the latest pretext for anti-Jewish hatred on the internet.
In the UK, the Community Security Trust published a briefing titled Coronavirus and the Plague of Antisemitism, which presents five categories of claims made by antisemites, namely that the virus is fake and a Jewish conspiracy; that the virus is real and a Jewish conspiracy; that the Jews are the primary spreaders of the virus; that Jewish deaths from the virus should be celebrated; and that the virus should be spread to the Jews to effect a ‘Holocough’.
Elsewhere in Europe, Germany’s antisemitism commissioner has warned of “direct links between the current spread of the coronavirus and that of antisemitism”, noting that “there is a boom in conspiracy theories in times of crisis” and describing antisemitism as similarly “contagious on a social level”.
In the United States, a joint intelligence bulletin drafted by the Department of Justice, the National Counterterrorism Center and the Department of Homeland Security reportedly reveals that ‘domestic violent extremists’ “have sought to conduct, or conducted attacks citing the COVID-19 pandemic as a factor in the timing or motivation of their attacks,” and that ‘racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists’ “who advocate for the superiority of the white race seek to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic to bolster their narratives and encourage attacks and hate crimes against minorities, including Jewish and Asian Americans. Some [of these extremists] claim government responses to the pandemic could crash the global economy, hasten societal collapse, and lead to a race war.”
The report further explains that “conspiratorial narratives assigning blame for the pandemic to a Jewish conspiracy…heightens the risk of retaliatory violence.”
Another report, by Tel Aviv University, also showed that global antisemitism has on the rise during the COVID-19 crisis.
Campaign Against Antisemitism continues to urge vigilance and advises that Jewish institutions take precautions when using social media and online video conferencing platforms.
Campaign Against Antisemitism is able to assist victims and can be contacted at [email protected]