Alarmed by global spike in anti-Semitism, Yad Vashem calls for action

April 29, 2020 by TPS
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Yad Vashem, Israel’s National Holocaust Memorial, has expressed “deep concern and dismay” following a recent global spike in anti-Semitic incidents and rhetoric, especially in the US.

Yad Vashem decried the “malicious conspiracy theories that absurdly blame Jews or the Jewish people for the current global health crisis or accuse Jews of deliberately profiting from this situation,” and said they “echo age-old anti-Semitic tropes that have no place in our post-Holocaust civilization.”

“We, at Yad Vashem, believe that these spiteful utterances are symptomatic of the spiritual and moral virus known as anti-Semitism, that has continued to proliferate and infect our societies with hatred,” Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev stated Tuesday, a week after Israel marked its national Holocaust Remembrance Day.

“Sadly, such hatred has all too often shown its potential for inciting violence and destruction, not only against Jews but against society as a whole,” he cautioned.  “Undoubtedly, an essential tool in this effort is to engage the public in meaningful and accurate education about the Holocaust, which highlights the danger of virulent antisemitism and racism,” he said.

This past January, leaders of some 45 nations gathered at the Fifth World Holocaust Forum at Yad Vashem and declared their commitment to fighting Holocaust distortion and anti-Semitism.

“As the world prepares to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II,” Shalev continues, “we must hold world leaders to their vows of solidarity and support in fighting intolerance, racist hatred, and anti-Semitism. I call on the global community to act resolutely to legislate and enforce laws against hate crimes and to sustain effective Holocaust educational programs that further these goals.”

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has brought a sharp rise in online anti-Semitic content. As during previous global pandemics and catastrophes, Jews have been scapegoated and blamed for spreading the virus, have been characterized as the virus itself, and anti-Semitic theories have accused Jews of creating the virus for economic gain and claimed the novel Coronavirus was an Israeli bio-weapon.

An internal report by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) revealed last month that anti-Semitism is rising around the world as a direct result of the spread of the Coronavirus.

A sharp rise was detected globally, with the US, Germany, and France seeing the largest increase. The MFA stated that it was working closely with foreign governments to address the problem.

Similarly, the UK-based Anti-Semitism watchdog Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAA) reported last month that anti-Semitic conspiracy theories are spreading online and in international media, claiming “Jews and Zionists” have “organized and engineered Coronavirus” as part of a scheme to “design the world, seize countries and neuter the world’s population.”

Twitter has been a hub for Corona-based conspiracy theories, with Israel’s ongoing efforts to develop a vaccine also seen as “proof” for the “Zionist plot” by several users.

JNS

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