Antisemites have wasted no time in blaming Jews for the COVID-19 outbreak or hoping that Jews are disproportionately impacted by it.
One commentator on Turkish television explained that “Jews, Zionists have organised and engineered the novel coronavirus as a biological weapon just like bird flu” in order to “design the world, seize countries and neuter the world’s population.” Some have claimed that the proof of Jewish involvement would be if Israel invented the vaccine.
An Iraqi political analyst has claimed that the novel coronavirus is an American and Jewish plot to reduce the world’s population.
A professor at California State University predicted that Israel would use the virus as an opportunity to put all the non-Jews in prison.
On Twitter, one user joked that the novel coronavirus is not as bad as the Jews because it does not kill children, a comment invoking the antisemitic blood libel.
Another user urged the President of the United States to use the virus as an opportunity to expel the Jews.
The notion that the Jews have a sinister role in global pandemics goes back at least to the Black Plague, when, during the period from 1348 to 1351, there were attacks on Jewish communities which were scapegoated for the epidemic.
Campaign Against Antisemitism is monitoring for UK-based examples of such antisemitic conspiracy theories, the promotion of which would be very likely to constitute a criminal offence.
Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, Campaign Against Antisemitism is continuing our work as usual. We have taken internal measures to avoid exposing our team to risks, but our charity is built to be extremely resilient and we are lucky to be able to rely on extraordinary volunteers. Our ability to raise funds has been impacted however and we would be especially grateful for donations at this time. We wish everyone good health.