Wednesday, August 10th | 14 Av 5782

April 2, 2020 4:18 pm

Top Australian Jewish Group Expresses Alarm About Online Spread of Antisemitic Coronavirus Conspiracy Theories

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

An antisemitic Facebook post blaming Israel for the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Anti-Defamation Commission.

A top Australian Jewish group on Thursday expressed alarm at the rise of antisemitic conspiracy theories on social media surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, calling it a modern version of the medieval blood libel.

Dr. Dvir Abramovich — chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC) — said in a statement, “While we are in 2020, the old blood libel of medieval times that accused Jews of spreading the Black Death plague, has now been reconfigured to fit this modern global pandemic.”

“It is alarming that antisemitic conspiracy theories blaming and scapegoating Jews and Israel for the coronavirus are circulating on Australian sites and on social media pages such as Facebook, YouTube, Telegram, and Reddit,” he added.

The ADC gave several examples, such as a Facebook post linking to an article on Israeli efforts to develop a vaccine for the virus, commenting, “The ones that created and released the virus in Wuhan are now developing the vaccine!”

“Whatever you do, don’t take the vaccine!” the user added.

Another Facebook user named “Futurist” posted an antisemitic caricature of a Jew next to an artist’s impression of the virus, and asked, “Are the Jews behind coronavirus?”

The user then blamed the Jews for forcing the cancellation of their blog.

A user called “Teutonic Trickster” who described themselves as “a living breathing hate crime” retweeted a post by US President Donald Trump calling the virus a “hidden enemy,” and commented “International Juden!”

Abramovich stated, “We have received several reports that information channels are clotted with falsehoods claiming that Israel and a cabal of Jews invented the disease as a plot to control the world, cause the deaths of non-Jews, and are planning to sell the vaccine so as to profit off the crisis.”

“We call on people to immediately report such instances to platform administrators and to challenge those individuals or groups that are promoting these tainted rumors and dangerous lies,” he concluded.

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