Antisemitism ‘Flourishing’ Among Pandemic Conspiracy Groups in UK: Report
Antisemitism remains widespread within Britain’s COVID-19 conspiracy movement and could present escalating risks for Jews in the UK, according to a report by the Community Security Trust nonprofit.
“There are elements within the COVID conspiracy movement that are moving in a more confrontational and violent direction,” the CST warned, pointing to public harassment of journalists and politicians in the UK and preparations by some groups to physically confront law enforcement.
“The antisemitism in the COVID conspiracy movement, combined with this gradual move towards violent activism, could therefore pose a direct threat to the Jewish community,” said the CST, which works to secure the British Jewish community.
Released Tuesday, the report, “Covid, Conspiracies, & Jew Hate,” adds to the growing picture of antisemitic activity among some pandemic conspiracists — who, having determined that the coronavirus is “a fake pandemic being exploited by elites to control their populations,” are also more likely to believe that world events are steered by a Jewish cabal.
The group added that through 2020-2021, COVID-related antisemitic incidents in the UK rose 95%, with 78 in 2021 compared to 40 in 2020. Last year saw the highest total number of antisemitic episodes ever reported to the CST, the organization said in a separate report released in February.
Incidents cited included public harassment, the hijacking of online Jewish communal spaces, and the distribution of leaflets reading “Don’t trust the Jew jab” and “Beware the k*ke spike.”
Some activists have spread their message on social media using vulgar antisemitic memes alleging that “every aspect of COVID is Jewish,” or that a Jewish plot is behind not only the pandemic, but also the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The CST described how the prominent fascist group Patriotic Alternative has exploited anti-vaccine and anti-lockdown sentiment to reach new followers. Another organization, known as Alpha Men Assemble, has reportedly held “military-style training” and is “preparing for violent confrontations with the authorities.”
“The danger is that radicalized individuals could seek to carry out some kind of violent attack. If they have been influenced by the antisemitism they have seen pumped through online channels, they may choose to target the Jewish community,” the report concluded. “The instant availability of harmful material online and the incitement of individuals to act against perceived enemies must be addressed before real-world attacks take place.”