British Anti-Racism Group Issues Report Detailing Spread of Antisemitic COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories
A new report by a leading British anti-racism organization showed a troubling rise in antisemitic conspiracy theories surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, which have blamed Jews for causing, spreading, falsifying, or benefiting from the disease, and have compared measures to contain it to the Holocaust.
The group Hope Not Hate issued its “State of Hate 2021” report on Monday, giving a broad overview of racism and bigotry in the UK and beyond in the shadow of the coronavirus.
Among its findings, the report notes the enormous spread of conspiracy theories surrounding the pandemic, especially among far-right groups. Advocates of these conspiracy theories, said the report, are often openly antisemitic, providing a gateway for others into antisemitic ideology.
Noting that antisemites have often blamed Jews for various disasters such as plagues and economic crises, the report found that several prominent coronavirus and anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists and far-right figures have engaged in pandemic-related antisemitism.
These include the eccentric David Icke, a bestselling author and speaker who claims that blood-drinking Jewish reptilian humanoids secretly control the world. Icke has claimed that Israel is exploiting the pandemic to “test its technology.”
Icke was recently banned from Facebook and Twitter over his conspiracy theories, and has previously recommended the infamous “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” to his followers, claimed that “Rothschild Zionists” were leaders of the reptilian conspiracy, blamed Jews for the 9/11 attacks, and endorsed Holocaust denial.
Piers Corbyn, the brother of former Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn, has been a prominent anti-lockdown and coronavirus conspiracy theorist as well. He was arrested in Feb. 2021 for distributing literature comparing COVID-19 vaccines to Auschwitz, and has also attended events with Holocaust deniers.
Kate Shemirani, another popular anti-vaccination and coronavirus conspiracy theorist, referred to Britain’s National Health Service as the “new Auschwitz.”
The report notes another popular conspiracy theorist, Sacha Stone, who claims that the COVID-19 vaccine is a conspiracy to implant a “nanochip” in the human body so that “the Beast” can “take control of their soul.”
Stone blamed the world’s current woes on “Sabbatian Zionist Lurian Kabbalists behind the veil,” a bizarre formulation referring to followers of the 16th century Kabbalist Rabbi Isaac Luria and the 17th century false messiah Shabtai Tzvi.
Hope Not Hate also found worrying levels of antisemitism in the UK. In April of last year, 13% of Britons felt Jews had too much influence over the banking system, and 17% thought the Jews have “disproportionate control of powerful institutions,” which they exploit at the expense of non-Jews.
Members of the openly antisemitic far-right blamed the Jews for the pandemic, said the report, with Nick Griffin, former leader of the British National Party, claiming that the virus was a fraud perpetrated by an “Anglo-Zionist financial elite.”
Mark Collett of the group Patriotic Alternative — a Holocaust denier who the report refers to as “the most influential neo-nazi currently active in the UK” — used images of Orthodox Jews to claim that the Jewish community was spreading the virus.
The coronavirus has also been connected to the so-called “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory, according to which Jews are forcing non-white immigration on Western countries in order to destroy the white race.
The report also found that the infamous QAnon conspiracy theory — which holds that a group of powerful elites are in fact blood-drinking pedophiles responsible for killing children, and which has been compared to the classic antisemitic blood libel – has failed to satisfy some of the UK’s most outspoken antisemites.
Collett, for example, attacked QAnon for failing to deal with “the disproportionate amount of power that Jewish individuals hold within the power structures that [Q] constantly criticized.”