Anti-Semites: 'Cough on Jews, make them sick'

Arutz Sheva speaks with ADL's Alex Friedfeld about how coronavirus is being used to spread anti-Semitism, and what you can do about it.

Yoni Kempinski ,

Alex Friedfeld speaks with Arutz Sheva
Alex Friedfeld speaks with Arutz Sheva
Arutz Sheva

Arutz Sheva spoke with Alex Friedfeld, investigative researcher at the Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism, about how anti-Semites are using the coronavirus outbreak to spread falsehoods and extremism.

"There's a lot of different tropes that are being thrown around," Friedfield said. "They're framing the coronavirus as a bioweapon that the Jews or Israel released, to further their objectives, achieve more power, expand their power and influence. So under this narrative, you see it taking a couple forms. So sometimes it's a bioweapon designed to target enemies, for example, of Israel and the United States. So they point at the fact that China and Iran have been hit some of the hardest, as evidence that this is a weapon."

"Sometimes it's used to target, it's part of a larger kind of Jewish conspiracy, this notion that Jews are trying to de-populate non-Jews in order to expand their influence, expand their power, and install a kind of new world order where they'll be at the top. And then there's other forms of this. Part of this is also this notion that Jews are greedy, they're viewed kind of as scheming, as manipulative, and those tropes are kind of being thrown around as well. So under this story, Jews are essentially trying to profit and exploit other people for their own financial gain. So sometimes this tale is basically that they made this virus, they released it, and they're the only ones with the vaccine, that they can sell. Other times it's that they're trying to profit off the stock market variability."

Friedfeld added that "there are extremists online that are encouraging people that if you start showing symptoms of coronavirus, to go to your local synagogue, to target a Jewish community, to even travel to Jerusalem, essentially cough on things, cough on people, to do whatever you can to spread the virus among the Jewish community."

"A lot of this stuff is happening on mainstream social media platforms, things like Instagram, Twitter, Reddit. And all those companies do have options to flag offensive material. It's obviously not a guarantee that it'll get rid of it, but a lot of these posts do violate the terms of agreement, and if it's egregious enough you can get these people de-platformed. So that's something that anyone in their own home can do at any time. If you see something anti-Semitic, hit the flag, and alert the social media companies that this is happening on their platform."

And, he said, "just calling it out, wherever you see anti-Semitism," is important. "If you see someone spreading an it out for what it is, and say, 'hey, that's anti-Semitic,' or 'hey, that's a hateful message.' People have to be aware of what they're saying."