Anti-Semitic demonstration
Anti-Semitic demonstrationStefanie Loos, Reuters

A report recently submitted to the government by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs details an alarming trend to blame Jews and the State of Israel for the coronavirus pandemic.

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in anti-Semitic activity around the world, and the global crisis due to the spread of coronavirus has provided fertile ground for new and needless to say baseless conspiracy theories to emerge, blaming “the Jews” or “Zionists” for the disease, as speakers at a recent international conference held by the Combat Anti-Semitism Movement also noted.

The Ministry’s report cited several examples of statements recently made by public figures that were blatantly anti-Semitic in content and tone. In one case, the head of the BDS movement in South Africa took part in a media panel in which he claimed that Israel is discriminating against its Arab citizens with regard to treatment for coronavirus, and that the Health Ministry’s guidelines are not being issued in Arabic – a totally false allegation.

In another example, Press TV, a news agency affiliated with the Iranian regime, published an article in which both Israel and the United States were accused of spreading the virus in Iran. An Iranian official was quoted as saying that the virus was a form of “biological warfare” directed against both Iran and China. And in Turkey, a senior government official with close ties to President Erdogan stated that “the virus serves Zionist purposes.”

The content of the Ministry’s report was also passed on to various pro-Israel organizations and media channels, in order to reach as many people as possible.

The Ministry of Strategic Affairs was established in 2006 in order to provide a ministerial portfolio for Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) as part of the coalition negotiations. Liberman had demanded the Internal Security Ministry, but since he was then under police investigation for corruption, a new ministry was created for him. The ministry is currently held by Likud and is headed by Gilad Erdan. It is tasked with leading the campaign against delegitimization and boycott campaigns against the State of Israel, in the economic, adademic, cultural, and media spheres, using diplomatic and media resources as well as liaison with NGOs around the world.