As the world continues to combat the spread of covid-19, Israel remains on the frontlines of this raging battle. A nation driven by the Jewish principle of tikkun olam (repairing the world), Israel has committed herself to her people’s security as well as the safety and well-being of the world at large by partnering with others around the world in the effort to combat coronavirus. Nonetheless, anti-Semitism soars.
History reveals a precedent of accusing the Jews for the evils of the world. During the Black Death in the mid-1300s, there were significant pogroms. The Strasbourg “Valentine’s Day Massacre” was among the worst, occurring in 1349, during which 2,000 Jews were burnt alive. The situation grew so unbearable that reports sprang up of Jews taking their own lives to avoid persecution.
But anti-Semitism is not just then and there, it is here and now. In the US, extremist groups—including neo-Nazis and other white supremacist groups—have encouraged members to spread covid-19 to police officers and Jews, according to an FBI report.
Synagogues in Maryland, Massachusetts, and Alabama have been defaced with anti-Semitic slurs and swastikas. Additionally, an anti-social distancing protestor in Cleveland held a sign with a rat, a Star of David, and the colors of the Israeli flag which read, “The Real Plague.”
However, this shocking upsurge in anti-Semitism is, sadly, not limited to the United States. In France, Alain Mondino, head of a party list belonging to the far-right National Rally political party, posted a video on social media trying to link Jews to the spread of the coronavirus.
Unsurprisingly, rhetoric from Iran’s leadership via the media has been classically and disgustingly anti-Semitic. Press TV, a semi-official government station, broadcast a number of reports claiming “Zionists” were behind the Coronavirus. A hardline cleric stated you shouldn’t listen to the World Health Organization’s directives about the virus because “they are a bunch of infidels and Jews.”
Meanwhile, Iranian-backed Spanish language HispanTV published a report claiming the virus “is the result of a Zionist plot…” and HispanTV has also been quoted as saying, “The virus has an Israeli tilt. Why did they do it? For revenge and frustration.”
But Iran is not alone in these heinous, anti-Semitic accusations. In Spain, an article published on an extremist, far left, Basque Spanish language website, blamed COVID 19 on “Yankee Zionist imperialism.” One infamous far right leader in Switzerland blamed COVID-19 on George Soros, while another notes “There’s worse than coronavirus — judeovirus (Jewish virus).”
Fatih Erbakan, the head of the Islamist Yeniden Refah Partisi political party, and on of a former Turkish Prime Minister, stated that while we “do not have any hard evidence…Zionism could be behind the Coronavirus.”
Incidents such as these abound worldwide.
Though this global pandemic has been an extraordinary occurrence in many ways, irrational and hate-charged anti-Semitism of this kind is not new. That is why, since 2006, CUFI has been committed to confronting indifference toward this age-old evil and combatting anti-Semitism in all its forms, wherever it may be found.
Join us by signing the pledge to Shine the Light on anti-Semitism. Let us refuse to be silent as this darkness envelops our world even during one of the most challenging times in recent history.
And join us for our first-ever CUFI Virtual Summit on June 28-30th. Let us stand with our Jewish brothers and sisters in solidarity and support through this dynamic and vital virtual gathering. Our unity will make a difference for Israel and the Jewish people for years to come.