Israeli researchers report that the global coronavirus outbreak has sparked a rise in anti-Semitic expression blaming Jews for the spread of the disease and the economic recession it has caused.
The findings, which come in an annual report by Tel Aviv University researchers on anti-Semitism, show an 18% spike in attacks against Jews last year. The report warns that the pandemic has threatened to amp up incitement even more.
Although they do not include 2020 statistics, the researchers say the hatred has come from sources as varied as right-wing European politicians, ultra-conservative American pastors, anti-Zionist intellectuals and Iranian state authorities.
“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant rise in accusations that Jews, as individuals and as a collective, are behind the spread of the virus or are directly profiting from it,” says Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, an umbrella group representing Jewish communities across the continent. “The language and imagery used clearly identifies a revival of the medieval ‘blood libels’ when Jews were accused of spreading disease, poisoning wells or controlling economies.”
Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry releases its report every year on the eve of Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, which begins Monday at sundown.