Antisemitism in the age of the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

My father-in-law recently died alone in a hospital room.  His body remained in the hospital until it could be removed by a special Coronavirus team.  His funeral was a lonely one and my wife was unable to travel to say her goodbyes.  It was his failing heart that certainly killed him, but at the time, he was under suspicion of carrying the virus, having come in contact with a doctor who tested positive. Sadly this tale is hardly unique -but rather is being repeated in one form or another across the world.  This virus is cruel and currently has much of the world in lockdown.  Coronavirus does not stop at the door to check which holy scripture, if any, the owner is reading before it enters.

But whilst most people are trying to navigate the mental, physical and financial challenges of our current situation – for some nothing can stop the hate:

Coronavirus antisemitism – more than just a Twitter troll

If you want to prove a point, you can always do it by finding someone saying whatever it is you want to be said on Twitter.  100,000s of anonymous accounts, some real people, many not – all screaming for attention.  It is how the antisemites found countless ‘new Jews’ to prove that British Jews supported Jeremy Corbyn.  How many were real?  Unless the Jewish population tripled between 2015 and 2019 – the answer is that not many of them were anything more than antisemitic trolls.

Which means finding an outrageous comment on Twitter doesn’t have much value unless it is attached to a verifiable identity.  We would be in a much better place if the only antisemitism climbing on the back of the Coronavirus outbreak was restricted to a few Twitter trolls.

The truth is that antisemites just cannot help themselves.  Their entire world vision is a dark place of evil conspiracy that one way or another is both ruined and run by Jews.  A killer virus that has locked us into our houses fits perfectly into their paradigm.  It contains both elements.  The virus represents ‘world ruin’ and the government lockdown represents ‘control’.  Unsuprisingly, the Coronavirus outbreak has seen an explosion of wild antisemitic accusations.

Blaming the Zionists

If Jews can kill god as suggested through Christian antisemitism, then they are capable of any evil. Three key trends resurface over and over again in history.  Jews kill gods, Jews kill children, Jews spread disease.  As today’s celebrities are treated as gods by so many, it is no surprise that Zionists have been blamed for killing those like Princess Di, George Michael and JFK.  It is the deicide libel updated for the 21st century.

The antisemitism is present everywhere.  These articles are both about Israel and Zionism.  One provided by rawstory.com, the other by Middleeastmonitor.com.  Both lean hard-left. MiddleEastMonitor is a hard-left / Islamist conspiracy junksite doted on by more moderate members of leftist politics.  It is through channels such as this that antisemitism spreads into the mainstream:

The angle is transparent.  If you disagree, then imagine how a Daily Mail article would be received if it blamed a Muslim community event for spreading Coronavirus ‘wide across the UK’?  Or if it accused one of exposing two-thirds of our MPs to the virus.  The underlying anti-Muslim bigotry – blaming Muslims for spreading the virus amongst ‘white Christians’ – would be clear.  This is no different. When it comes to non-whites or Muslims, the left instantly recognises the racism – on the subject of Jews and Zionism, they are blindly ignorant or the willing perpetrators.

The ‘low hanging’ coronavirus antisemitism

When major events occur, antisemitism researchers flock to the neo-Nazi forums looking for the low hanging fruit. Sickening, transparent and deeply offensive memes are quickly found.  Coronavirus proves no exception.  The ‘spread the flu to every Jew‘ image went viral – but mainly on Jewish media sites.  Go try and look for it and you’ll see what I mean.  In mainstream circles, this type of antisemitism is far from viral until we start pointing fingers at it.

These images work really well, not least because antisemitic Marxist types have no problem holding this up as an example of ‘real antisemitism’.  Everyone sees it and everyone shakes their head in disgust.  But racist existential dangers do not come from an environment where everyone understands and everyone shakes their head.

Yes, the neo-Nazi gangs and individual lunatics locked away in their garages are very real.  But of the three sources of antisemitism in Europe today – hard-left, Islamist and neo-Nazi – are the Neo-Nazis – reduced to hiding away in secret forums – really the biggest existential threat that the Jewish people face?  When was the last time in the UK, that real neo-Nazis took to the streets?  How many turned up?  In 2014 100,000s of British people marched through the streets to ‘free Palestine’ (destroy Israel).  It is absolutely true that many of them still do not understand the genocidal racism inherent in ‘from the river to the sea’ – but isn’t that EXACTLY what makes it so dangerous?  Canary Mission in the US just released a short video comparing antisemitic quotes from the hard-left SJP (Students or Justice in Palestine) to those made by white supremacists – the similarities are chilling.

Misplaced alliances

Jewish politics has for the most part had a moderate left-wing skew (both in the UK with the Labour Party and in the US with the Democrats) and so neo-Nazis provide the easy target.  In unions and left wing political movements, alliances have formed with the hard-left and Islamists.  Fighting antisemitism on the left becomes troublesome and divisive – and hey – there are always those neo-Nazis we can all join hands together to attack.  This is the way the Labour Party sank – by ignoring the growing threat from the left.  The most common place to find content glorifying Adolf Hitler is within the Arab world, where even verified blue tick accounts on Twitter can receive thousands of likes for their Hitler related content.  This account, that marks the birthday of ‘the influential figure, Adolf Hitler’, has 580,000 followers:

Personally, I find it an easy question to answer.  What is the greatest threat?  A gang of lunatic antisemites who have to hide their identity to be able to hire a venue – or an NGO that has access to parliament and schools and spreads antisemitism through their educational material?

The Coronavirus antisemitism reports – failure of the Brits

There have been several reports produced by Jewish organisations focusing on the coronavirus antisemitism.  Having read them it is clear that in the US, they understand the issue far better than we do in the UK.  You CANNOT discuss antisemitism and focus almost exclusively on the neo-Nazi aspect. This type of reporting is lazy.  Even people like Jackie Walker get neo-Nazi antisemitism.  Like with Corbyn, anti-fascist Marxist activists have no trouble holding aloft the Jews as victims when it suits them:

No offence but it is almost formulaic.  An event occurs and you quickly look for a couple of outrageous memes on neo-Nazi websites.  You link to them and you have your blog.  It is this single-minded blindness that helped create the environment for the rise of antisemitism in the first place.  The neo-Nazi ‘holocough’ is a clear and easy image to spread.  Yes, if you attack the neo-Nazis, there is no pushback. Everyone applauds you. But telling the truth without fear remains the only way of fighting antisemitism.  You have to anger some of those who ally with you and open the eyes of people who do not see it.  If you are not annoying anyone then you are treading water.  You are not truly fighting anti-Jewish racism.

The CST report into antisemitism during the virus is disappointing and indicative of the prevailing mindset that we really need to break free from.  ‘Israel’ is only mentioned once, ‘Zionist’ twice – with the central focus being the obscure shared content of neo-Nazi’s in places like the imageboard 4Chan. The word ‘Islam’ does not appear at all in the CST report- as if Islamist antisemitism using the virus to attack Jews is not even a thing.  This single-minded anti-Nazi focus is self-defeating.

Anti-Zionism as the new antisemitism

Why is Israel only mentioned once in the CST report?  The comparable Simon Wiesenthal Centre report on coronavirus antisemitism references Israel 16 times.  This isn’t a difference to easily dismiss. We must address the tunnel vision attitude that allowed for the rise of left-wing anti-Jewish hate in our own neighbourhood.  Some of the UK Jewish organisations monitoring antisemitism produced detailed statistics – which are then quoted by both press and politicians – that do not include tests for anti-Zionist antisemitism.  How can you produce a statistic for antisemites which does not include someone who believes ‘Zionists’ run the banks and are involved in a plot to take over the world?  This insanity allows for left wing antisemites to continually argue that antisemitism is chiefly a problem on the far-right:

To its credit, the UK publication Fathom display more clarity of thought – looking at antisemitism coming from across the spectrum.  In not one, but two excellent articles, Lev Topor and Cary Nelson discuss widespread antisemitism related to the virus as well as the horrific exploitation of anti-Israel groups piggy-backing on the Coronavirus outbreak to attack Israel.

B’tselem and the Coronavirus blood libel

For the anti-Israel NGOs, the Coronavirus pandemic has provided a perfect opportunity to accuse Israel of all sorts of dastardly deeds.  On Thursday, 26 March B’tselem reported that Israel had confiscated equipment intended for a Coronavirus field clinic.  This is one of the lazy accusations that NGOs frequently make and that western media outlets swallow wholesale.  Every piece of wood that Israel removes was going to be part of a classroom, every brick was to be the foundation stone of a new hospital. Israel never just removes a normal brick.  In today’s climate – the path to the lie about Coronavirus was an obvious one.

Once the lie about the clinic is published as a B’tselem press release, the eager anti-Israel industry turns it into viral news.  The fake news piece was reproduced in places such as Independent Catholic News, IMEMC, Mondoweiss, The New Arab, Palestine Chronicle, Palestine Return Centre,  The Muslim News UK, and Albawaba News.  COGAT can slam B’tselem for making up stories and ‘exploiting a global crisis to spread fake news’- but the damage is done.

When a trick works

The trick worked so well that they set up another.  A few activists arranged for a clinic to open in East Jerusalem – a place they knew would provoke an Israeli response.  So when the Israelis shut them down – Haaretz swiftly spread the fake news around the world.

Nobody stopped to ask why the people arrested at the clinic were ‘four activists’?  They were activists because the whole thing was a set-up.

NGO Monitor have been compiling a jaw dropping list of fake news being spread by NGOs exploiting the virus.  They all turn the Jewish state into a demonic place that seeks to spread a virus and kill innocent children.  Just a repetition of 2000 years of antisemitic libels.  The truth of course is that even the UN have praised Israel over the assistance they are providing to Palestinians during the pandemic.

Coronavirus antisemitism – wherever you turn

Stepping into social media today is to be transported into a world of raw left wing Jew-hatred.  These people are not fringe members of society locked away in the garage, but rather they include politicians, teachers, union leaders, lawyers and artists.  There are British MPs who taken any opportunity to attack Israel – even sharing a video that refers to terrorists with blood on their hands as ‘political prisoners’.

When Israel suffered its first coronavirus fatality – a Holocaust survivor.  The vile response on social media was swift:

There are those that openly refer to Zionists as a disease:

And the conspiracy theorists who claim Israel invented the virus for power or profit:

Online outfits such as Israellycool and Elder of Ziyon that expose the lies of anti-Zionists are full of examples of antisemitism as extremists groups in various countries and from across the spectrum have made accusations of a Jewish /Zionist conspiracy.

Coronavirus as #COVID48

Using the hashtag #covid48, antisemites – chiefly Arab in origin – have been creating memes to suggest ‘Zionists’ are the true virus. Full of all the classic antisemitic tropes, this campaign ran on Yom Hashoah – Holocaust Memorial Day – where Jewish people remember the 6 million lost in the Holocaust.

Unlike the ‘holocough’ – in some parts of the world this vile antisemitism is mainstream:

At the time of writing, of the 85k+ conversations using the #covid48 hashtag, 68k+ were in Asia and 65k+ of them in Arabic.

Corbyn and Sanders are symptoms

Human beings like battles that have a beginning, a middle and an end – preferably an ending which leaves them waving a victorious flag.  Fighting antisemitism allows for no such luxury and so some seek a way to rationalise an ending for themselves.  For many the defeat of Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders is a sign the battle has been won and they need to move on.  Already within the Jewish community there are those desperate to re-engage with a Labour Party that is still little more than a rancid sewer.

I keep repeating this because it needs repeating – the advent of Jeremy Corbyn was a warning and a symptom.  Those spreading antisemitism on the far-left – Unions, NGOs, movements like the PSC, Islamist groups – they are all untouched.

We cannot fight antisemitism if we write so as not to offend.  As Lev Topor wrote in his Fathom article, ‘ no virus has shown a greater capacity to mutate than antisemitism.  It is up to us to build up our herd immunity to every strain.’ Even if we lose some allies as we do so.

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David Collier blogs at his terrific website Beyond the Great Divide  where he goes to great lengths with his research.  Please support his site.

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