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Online forums for anti-vaxxers are ‘hotbeds’ of anti-Semitism, UK report finds

Government study says majority of immunization opponents are not openly anti-Semitic, but ‘their propensity to conspiracy theory reduces their resilience’ to Jew hatred

FILE -- People take part in a 'Resist and Act for Freedom' protest against a mandatory coronavirus vaccine, wearing masks, social distancing and a second lockdown, in Trafalgar Square, London, Sept. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
FILE -- People take part in a 'Resist and Act for Freedom' protest against a mandatory coronavirus vaccine, wearing masks, social distancing and a second lockdown, in Trafalgar Square, London, Sept. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

JTA — Online forums frequented by those opposed to vaccinations are hotbeds of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, according to a new report from the British government.

The 20-page report, titled “From anti-vaxxers to antisemitism: Conspiracy theory in the COVID-19 pandemic,” was published earlier this month by John Mann, Britain’s independent adviser on anti-Semitism.

“The accusations that the pandemic is fake and that Jewish conspirators created the virus are the most dominant in anti-vaxxer communities,” says the report, which is based on two months of monitoring more than 25 Facebook groups as well as Twitter accounts and other social networks.

“Whilst the groups themselves are rarely established to spread antisemitism, they become a hotbed for antisemitic conspiracy theories,” the report said.

While the majority of anti-vaxxers are not openly anti-Semitic, the report said, “their propensity to conspiracy theory reduces their resilience to antisemitic beliefs and attitudes.”

The problem, the report said, has been growing since the start of the pandemic.

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