The coronavirus pandemic has sparked a rise in anti-Semitic statements blaming Jews for the disease and resulting economic crisis, researchers said today.
‘Since the beginning of the Covid -19 pandemic, there has been a significant rise in accusations that Jews, as individuals and as a collective, are behind the spread of the virus or are directly profiting from it,’ said Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress.
‘The language and imagery used clearly identifies a revival of the medieval blood libels when Jews were accused of spreading disease, poisoning wells or controlling economies.’
Kantor warned that the virus had the potential to spark populist extremism similar to that which erupted after the Great Depression and contributed to the rise of Nazism.
Researchers in Israel said the conspiracy theories were a continuation of an ancient form of anti-Semitism that involves blaming Jews when ‘things go wrong.’
They recorded examples of people pinning the source of the virus on Jews rejecting Christ, and accusing Jews of perpetrating the virus’s spread in order to profit from vaccines they would ultimately create to combat it.
The FBI has also warned against calls coming from neo-Nazis and white supremacists to spread contagion among Jews.
Researchers said an 18 per cent increase in anti-Semitic violence in 2019 continued a steady rise of recent years.
Seven Jews were killed in 2019 in more than 450 attacks across the globe against synagogues, community centers and other Jewish targets.