Pandemic strengthened anti-Semitism and forced it online

Tel Aviv (AP) in Israel — Last year’s blockade of the coronavirus brought anti-Semitic hatred online, with many conspiracy theories blaming Jews for the medical and economic devastation of pandemics, Israeli study Reported on Wednesday. It raised concerns about the rise of anti-Semitism in the post-pandemic world.

The findings in an annual report by researchers on anti-Semitism at Tel Aviv University show that the social isolation of the pandemic has kept Jews away from those trying to harm them.

Last year, the number of violence against Jews dropped from 456 to 371 in about 40 countries. This is about the same level that researchers reported from 2016 to 2018.

Online, the scene was very different, researchers reported — as pandemic restrictions were relaxed, hateful behavior towards Jews was during other historical struggles of mankind. It can be intensified.

“The hatred of anti-Semiticism online never remains online. The anti-Semitic conspiracy theory is the physics of Jews when the blockade is over,” said Moshe Cantor, chairman of the World Jewish Congress. We must be prepared for possible attacks. “

The Cantor Center for Contemporary European Jewish Studies at Tel Aviv University publishes its report on the eve of Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance, which begins every Wednesday at sunset.

The researchers discovered that anti-Semitic conspiracy theories blossomed as soon as the coronavirus began to spread around the world in February 2020.

When global health officials declared a pandemic in March, people were driven in and out of each other. But there, they went online and were exposed to conspiracy theories, many blaming ethnic and religious groups in the catastrophe, including Jews.

According to the report, the false theory was generally as follows: Jews and Israelis created and spread the virus so that they could save the world with a lucrative vaccine.

This tendency reflects ancient anti-Semitism, which the Jews accused of spreading illness and other tragedy. Researchers also said conspiracy theorists had drawn a false comparison between health restrictions and vaccines and the Holocaust, where the Nazis killed more than 6 million Jews.

According to the report, the anti-Semitic trend weakened in the summer, but surged in the fall with news of vaccine development. Meanwhile, the splitting presidential campaign in the United States provided a fertile basis for the rise of conspiracy theories, he said.

According to the report, the online anti-Semitic message was widespread, worried about anecdotal evidence that it was repeated not only by extremist circles, but also by “people without a clear political or ideological identity.” It was. Soros and the ultra-Orthodox Jews who ignored the safety rules and the virus surged in them.

Meanwhile, in 2020, the number of personal injuries in anti-Semitic cases decreased by 37% from 170 in 2019 to 107. According to the report, damage to private property also decreased by 35% from 130 to 84.

However, other evidence suggests that feelings of hatred still exist, the report found.

Trends of concern included a gradual increase in violence in the United States and a sharp increase in Germany. In both countries, vandalism accounted for the majority of the cases.

The blasphemy of Jewish cemeteries and other monuments increased by a quarter during that period. The number of destroyed synagogues has also increased by 19%.

Meanwhile, big media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have cracked down on racist and false posts. But it only pushed conspiracy theorists to the darkest corners of the Web, where they were difficult to quantify, the report said.

The report said the attack escalated with aggression and verbal abuse as militants argued over the spread of the virus, the collapse of the world economy, and false theories about who was responsible. In the cartoons and false theories it documented, the report points out a phenomenon called “zoom bombing” in which militants break into video conferencing among members of synagogues, Jewish community centers, and educational institutions. did.

The report found that the goal seemed to be to post swastikas and provide anti-Semitic presentations and speeches.

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