Head of British Foreign Office’s Coronavirus Operations Condemns ‘Sad, Hateful’ Pandemic-Related Antisemitism
The head of the British Foreign Office’s coronavirus operations denounced antisemitism connected to the pandemic on Sunday.
“So much of this corona-related #antisemitism now infesting our TLs – it’s a Jewish/Zionist/Israeli plot, say the conspiracy theorists. Just sad, hateful nonsense,” tweeted Jon Benjamin, who has served as a prominent diplomat since 1986.
He then quoted British comedian David Baddiel, who said, “Conspiracy theories are how idiots get to feel like intellectuals.”
Concerns about antisemitism arising from the coronavirus crisis, akin to medieval claims that Jews were responsible for the bubonic plague, have been rising in recent weeks.
Earlier this month, Evan Bernstein, vice president of the Anti-Defamation League’s Northeast Division, warned, “We’re seeing stuff online. We’re getting more and more reports of those comments.”
Last week, former Jewish Agency head Natan Sharansky, said such things are “nothing new.”
“The idea that Jews are behind the virus, that Jews want to destroy markets, to make money or that Israel is behind it — there is nothing new in it,” Sharansky said. “We saw it during the Black Death in the Middle Ages. There was broad belief that Jews were behind it.”
Besides blaming Jews for coronavirus, other antisemitic libels have arisen in connection with the pandemic, with anti-Zionist California State University professor Asad Abukhalil tweeting on March 8, “Israel will — I am sure — have different medical procedures for Jews and non-Jews. Non-Jews will be put in mass prisons.”
Abukhalil later blamed criticism of his tweet on “Zionist hoodlums.”