Anti-Semitic groups calling on followers to ‘deliberately infect’ jews with COVID-19

July 16, 2020 Agencies
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Far-right, Neo-Nazi and antisemitic groups are encouraging their followers to “deliberately infect” Jews with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and are utilizing the pandemic to spread conspiracy theories, new research on the subject show.

COVID-19 quarantine. Credit: Pixabay.

In its report, the United-Kingdom’s Commission for Countering Extremism said that a variety of groups have been seeking to “breed hate” and promote conspiracy theories, including that the pandemic is part of a Jewish plot.

“Through the use of conspiracy theories and fake news, the Commission has found that hateful extremists have used divisive, xenophobic and racist narratives to sow division and undermine the social fabric of our country,” the report said.

“We have heard reports of British far-right activists and neo-Nazi groups promoting anti-minority narratives by encouraging users to deliberately infect groups, including Jewish communities; and of Islamists propagating anti-democratic and anti-western narratives, claiming that Covid-19 is divine punishment from Allah on the west for their alleged ‘degeneracy’,” the report, published earlier this month, warned.

Lead Commissioner Sara Khan said that the research shows that there are five primary categories of conspiracy theory targeting Jews, namely that “the virus is fake and part of a Jewish plot to mislead the public, or that it’s real and was deliberately created for malevolent purposes, or that Jews are the primary spreaders of the virus, or that Jewish people are dying in disproportionately higher numbers and posts that incite others to deliberately spread the virus to Jews.”

The research also notes how Islamists are using the pandemic to radicalize followers and promote anti-Western narratives.

One study shows that during the pandemic, over 90% of social media posts containing misinformation were not taken down by social media companies when flagged by volunteers.

Another study found hundreds of thousands of Far-Right posts around COVID-19 and millions of engagements with known disinformation sites.

Khan called for action against the conspiracy theories and the groups that promote them.

One in five of the British believe to some degree that Jews created the Coronavirus (COVID-19) to collapse the economy for financial gain, an Oxford University poll that was discussed in the Knesset’s Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs earlier this month shows.

The research, titled “Oxford Coronavirus Explanations, Attitudes, and Narratives Survey,” polled a representative sample of 2,500 English adults from May 4 to May 11, 2020.

Presented with the statement “Jews have created the virus to collapse the economy for financial gain,” 5.3% of the respondents “agreed a little,” 6.8% “agreed moderately,” 4.6% “agreed a lot,” and 2.4% “agreed completely,” while some 80.8% did not agree with it at all.

The Coronavirus has brought a sharp rise in online antisemitic content, and Ahmed Shaheed, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Religion or Belief, has recently warned the rise in antisemitism surrounding the Coronavirus raises the need for “tougher” measures against the phenomenon.

An internal report by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) revealed in March that antisemitism 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.

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.


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