Covid-19 and the plague of online antisemitism
The Covid-19 virus has produced sickness and death, turmoil and disruption, around the world. It is a silent stalker of human fragility. But it has brought with it another virus, an older but virile plague, one with no known cure, and no limits to the amount of dead bodies it can produce. This plague flares up whenever the society faces uncomfortable changes. This is the plague of antisemitism – the longest standing, most pervasive, and most genocidal hatred known to humanity.
During the Bubonic Plague of the 1300s, Jews were accused of creating and spreading the plague by poisoning the water-wells in order, so the accusation claimed, to destroy Christendom. Thousands of Jews were massacred, often by being herded into synagogues and set alight, resulting in over 200 Jewish communities being annihilated. Even though the Bubonic Plague was caused by plague-infected fleas on rats, the delusion that Jews are the cause of plagues developed deep roots. So again, today “the Jews” are blamed for creating and spreading Covid-19.
The antisemitism engendered by reactions to Covid-19 is world-wide, in the streets and online. In order to see in detail what is being discussed and promoted by antisemites online, a good snapshot with an abundance of examples is provided by a study of posts by people in one country, Australia, on one social media site, Gab. This site is favoured by extremists for its permitting of all kinds of speech. These expressions can either be described through paraphrasing or can be reproduced as is. The latter method is a more accurate and precise way to show what the hate propagandists are actually saying. Their online expressions fell into nine general themes, plus images.
Weeks before Covid-19 hit Australian shores on 25 January, Australian antisemites were reposting images from others that referred to Jews as the virus. One notable example was composed of images of several green cylindrical-shaped viruses and several of the crowned coronavirus, also in bright green, but in the centre of each coronavirus was placed an image of the caricatured Jew, Shlomo. The message: Jews are the virus. This image was later updated to include the text: “Question: Why aren’t Jews getting infected? Answer: One virus can’t live inside another.”
There were other images equating Jews with Covid-19. One image of a person whose head is a coronavirus is named “(((CORONAVIRUS)))” thus indicating it is Jewish by use of the echoes symbol, the triple parenthesis. Another image is of a green coronavirus with the Nazi-imposed yellow Star of David replete with the word “Jude” (German for “Jew”) attached at the front. Even the Israeli flag had a green coronavirus image superimposed over the blue Star of David. Many images were repeatedly reposted.
One image placed Jews as the power and orchestrators behind Covid-19. This image is of a caricatured Jew placing a king’s golden crown upon the coronavirus which is sitting on a red throne, with the globe of the world wearing a surgical mask and running away from the corona-king. Another image is of caricatured Jew and the coronavirus with text including the words “It’s not Chinese. It’s the JEW FLU!”
Jews created it
An accusation made very early on, and consistently repeated, was that Covid-19 was created by “the Jews”. A variety of nefarious purposes were put forward. One of the earliest claims was of “the Corona virus coming from a jewish laboratory.”
There were claims about Jews in China: “Apparently a jew professor was arrested and is believed to have sold the virus? Israeli Mossad agent?” and “Hasn’t a Jewish professor been arrested for selling this virus to students from Wuhan? China has a terrible record for pandemic viruses, wild animal consumption, and poor sanitation standards. Are they a testing lab for Israeli agents?” One wrote that “mossad released the virus in the city that had a Chinese viral warfare lab in it, so they could have plausible deniability.” Another wrote that: “The jews set up China as a communist state in the first place. Nothing happens in their turf without their say so”, and “China is the scapegoat for what the NWO Jews are doing to Christians in America”, and “the so-called “Wu Flu” has transitioned into the dreaded “Jew Flu”.”
Put simply, one person argued that “At this point in history, a cynical mind must assume that Jews are behind any world calamity as they were with all recent wars and the Black Death.” One claimed that “The coronavirus fits into the Jewish paradigm of legalism, parasitic prophecies and fabricated history.” Others claimed that Jews were immune: “they’re not going to release a virus which is going to effect them especially are they” and that Jews have “anti-bodies to corvid19.”
Some proposed that it was an extension of Israeli-Iranian animosity: “Just a cohencidence how Iran and China have been the hardest hit by Israel’s bio weapon, eh? Can’t expect jewish owned media to admit THAT though” and “The idea that the virus racially discriminates was probably cover for israel murdering a bunch of Iranians that it wanted vapourised.”
Some claimed that Covid-19 was created with genocidal intent: “Watching this movie #Inferno. Basic plotline: billionaire #Jew (((Ben Foster))) plans to kill billions of people with a #virus” and “It’s obviously the jews trying to start another epidemic to kill whites.” One cited the “1320 Black Death. The rumor began to circulate that certain Spanish rabbis … had produced a powerful poison, which they poured into the water wells to cause the plague.”
Jews are spreading it, so spread it to Jews
Many people on Gab accused Jews of spreading Covid-19. One posted that “Jews have been noted as the biggest spreaders per capita.” Some claimed that it “was a jew who spread corvid19 around AIPAC and CPAC, which infected many leading political figures … it a jewish press secretary of the Brazillian President, whom exposed Trump to the corona virus.” Another simply claimed “that the noted jewish lack of hygiene and lacking the empathy for others” caused the virus to spread.
Others claimed that Jews were taught to deliberately infect gentiles, especially antisemites: “With Rabbis schooling the online shule attendees that coronavirus is for the gentiles not the Jews, and Jews from Israel to New York to the UK coofing [ie coughing] on anyone suspected of being anti-Semites.” There were claims that Jews can afford to spread the virus as they do not get sick: “if jews get Corona Virus they just need some vitamin C, but if Italians get Corona Virus they have to die.”
In contrast, others encouraged spreading Covid-19 to Jews: “Start spreading the flu / Jew World Order is gay / … Jew York, Jew York / You’ve got the flu.” Another one posted: “Remember goy it’s okay to coof [ie cough] on the kids of #Yids, after all they’re just lying rodents and 2020 is the year of the rat. Mind you the #Jews will use their #media power to turn set coofing into anudda #Holocaust story.” Some claimed that “The jews have already arrested some White kids for joking around on telegram that they were going to spit on jews to spread corvid19 to their community.”
One encouraged Jews to spread it amongst themselves, that “Jews of New York and beyond should keep packing themselves into synagogues, gathering in the street, and visiting their jewish friends and family. They should only stay away from white gentiles (Nazis), who are deliberately infecting jews.”
Jewish plot to control the world
This was another common and popular theme – that Covid-19 was orchestrated in order to facilitate and enable “the Jews” to enact government crackdowns on democratic rights and freedoms, lock-down whole populations, cause economic chaos, and thereby control the world.
Some people claimed that government policies under Covid-19 were directed by Jews and had the aim to destroy white ethno-nationalists, to “use the virus to empty the [prisons], was that they were freeing up for their real goal for the prison industrial complex, somewhere to house racially conscious Whites.” Another claimed that “we see all the time the police walking in close proximity to themselves and to those whom they seek to harass on behalf of the jewish crown.” A Victorian state government advertisement educating about coronavirus was photoshopped replacing the word ‘together’ with ‘subjewed’ to state: “Staying Apart Keeps Us SubJewed. To help keep us SUBJEWED, visit vic.gov…”
Some claimed that “China (given that it’s willing part of the jewish banker led agenda21 concept for a global order) was in cahoots with our governments for this operation to spread corvid19 to the West” and others that “At the very least it can’t hurt to draw attention to Jews betraying America for China again.” Yet, others claimed that “The CDC is run for jewish world communism.” One even suggested that “The jews will want to wreck Easter for the Christians.”
Others were more precise: “Lets get our priorities straight here (((raab))) The disease which “has no borders”, which they should be occupying themselves over with high level summits, should be the disease of cosmopolitan jewish global finance and trade.” Another posted: “But in all honesty the Jewish community have good reasons to be fearful for they are rightly being singled out as the traitors in our midst, as well as being a demonstrably greater antagonist than the coronavirus itself.”
In contrast, some people dismissed that it was a Jewish conspiracy. One person claimed that the “Corona Virus has two purposes … secondly to crash the old monetary system and take away the cabals power (bankers, Rothchilds) there will be the introduction of gold backed currencies again.” Another person claimed: “Exactly – so it makes NO SENSE WHATSOEVER to unleash a Virus that EXPOSES THE FAILURE CALLED GLOBALISM… How in the HELL could this POSSIBLY help the Jews?.. It’s FUCKED UP ALL THEIR PLANS.”
There were quite a few posts, although clearly in the minority, claiming that the Covid-19 pandemic was a hoax. Examples include: “flaccid false flag virus experience”, “the Global Flu Hoax of 2020”, “We’ve now come to see that the virus was a mild flu”, and “Could this be the biggest hoax in history?”
Others focused on the economic and political aspects of it being a hoax, namely that it is aimed at enabling dictatorial control of the population: “this Holocough … lockdown bullshit … the economic damage”, “treasonous suspension of our rights over the nothing virus”, and “COVID-19 PLANDEMIC IS A NEW WORLD ORDER ROTHCHILD JEW HOAX!!!” The use of the term “Holocough” is playing on the word ‘Holocaust’, and inferring that both are hoaxes.
Jewish money-making scam
There were theories that Covid-19 was a Jewish money-making scam. It was repeatedly claimed that Jews were making money either via economic collapse caused by the lock-downs and so buying-up cheap, or were raking-off money from the government support schemes, or that Jews were lending governments the bail-out money and would reap a rich harvest in repayment. This was a very popular theme. It tied into old stereotypes and tropes about Jews and money, of Shylock and Fagin, of Jews as greedy money-grubbing capitalists.
This post summed it up: “Yeah, shit like this makes me wonder if it’s all another elaborate jew scam. Siphon off our money through bailouts. Crash the economy and buy everything up cheap. Typical.” Others claimed that “A lockdown … the great economic reaping culls many independent non-kike players from the scene” and “In Frydenberg’s case, using a lockdown to destroy uncounted Aussie businesses … Members of the jewish community are famous for pulling this feel sorry for us so you don’t realise that we run everything as an organised crime activity, trick.” References to Josh Frydenberg, the Australian Federal Treasurer, were fairly common, especially in relation to his being Jewish.
Others termed it in different ways: “Every jew made out like a bandit through the bailout schemes” and “all the money being thrown at the jews thanks to this false flag virus, we have our ‘cui bono’ which leads us to understand therefore whom perpetrated this whole exercise in crisis management for the enrichment of the managers, scheme. Jew Bono. … But a hallmark of a guilty jew, is the misdirection exercise of pretending that they too, are a victim of the fraud that they’ve been coordinating.”
Two images exemplify this theme. A meme of a round yellow face hugging a red heart was created during Covid-19 as an image to show that people cared. This was turned into an antisemitic meme by adding a large hooked nose and of holding a bag of money instead of holding the heart. Another meme was of the US government giving a cheque for “one trillion five hundred billion dollars” to “Jews”. These images were posted many times. The cheque image was posted one time accompanied by the text: “The #Jews are a parasite race of murderers, gangsters, bankers, fraudsters, extortionists, predators, perverts and liars. They OVERTLY have the ear of ALL federal authorities. Let that sink in.”
Claims that Jews were making massive amounts of money were often expressed: “Now’s the time to start trying to get people to see what the jews are doing again. Harp on about how this money is coming from nowhere, that they are getting richer by lending us money from nowhere that we have to pay them back – again which they got from nowhere”, and “Yeah, and now they’re printing what must be trillions more free money globally, which we are going to have to pay back plus interest. Trillions of dollars of free money for the jews.” One posted a general claim: “How shit works. Jews get free money no matter what the situation is. That’s why there’s the age-old meme about jews not working. Don’t need to work when your species gets money for free. (No, jews with jobs don’t work.)”
There has been a vocal anti-vaccination campaign for years. It was not just the possibility of scientists developing a vaccine against Covid-19 that concerned ‘anti-vaxxers’, some even saw the pandemic as created in order to enforce mass vaccinations. Many posts directly connected Jews to this, with some using the Hebrew word ‘goyim’ (gentiles), or the antisemitic hashtag ‘Expose the Nose’.
Posts included that “If Israel develops a “vaccine” for WuFlu, there is a zero percent chance I will take it voluntarily and nobody else should take it either. Never trust anything created in Israel”, “There must be immense pushback on this jewish plan by stealth to move us closer to regular forced vaccination of lord knows what”, “Take the vaccine, goyim #ExposeTheNose”, and “good goyim, take your government approved “vaccine” so … you can be safe and secure from the “virus”.”
An image by cartoonist Ben Garrison showed a caricatured Jew overlooking a chart titled “The Plannedemic” with a 6-step plan, with the last step being “Mandatory Vaccine Rollout”. Others saw it as more dictatorial: “it’s some martial law and some medical militia coming to your door to force immune system destroying medical death into your arm.” One went further, into Christian eschatology: “Do NOT take the vaccine or the tracking chip, if this is an accurate prediction it is the mark of the beast.”
Mocking the Holocaust
Given any opportunity, antisemites often gravitate towards mocking and/or denying the Holocaust, the murder of 6 million Jews under Nazi Germany. Some used the death toll from Covid-19 to engage in mocking the Holocaust. These included: “Never forget the 6 million killed in the holocough” and “Please remember the 6 gorrillion Israeli’s that died from #Caronavirus” and “Never forget the 1,000,000 Israelis who Tragically Died from the Coronavirus invented by Nazi SS Soldiers in a Death Camp.”
Some made reference to the Australian Federal Treasurer, who is Jewish, and the government economic packages to keep Australians financially above water. For example: “We have a Jewish Treasurer. Never forget the 6 gorillon stimulus packages”, “Australian FERAL (((treasurer))) – (((frightenedberg))) announced 3rd stimulus package that will help 6,000,000 Who would have thought that was possible?” and “6 million. The Jewish Australian Treasurer miraculously uses his powers of gematria to ensure that precisely 6 million Australians get the Shekels. … Always with the 6 million. No more, no less.”
Some engaged in Holocaust denial, by using a mainstream media headline “Italian Mayor: We can’t cremate bodies fast enough to keep up with coronavirus deaths” as evidence that the Holocaust did not occur, and posting that “Europeans may be about to find out how difficult it really is to cremate 6 million bodies.”
In further Holocaust denial and mockery, one wrote: “In years to come there will be covid-19 museums in every town displaying not actual proof, but shoes, hair, wedding rings and sad stories from millions of survivors. Students will be taught of the horrors so they never forget (or begin to question). Denying it will land you in gaol.” This was accompanied by a photo of the Auschwitz death camp with photoshopped images of the coronavirus entering Auschwitz, and the text “It’s not the first time the entire world has been tricked.”
Jews receiving divine punishment
Some people believed that Covid-19 was an act of divine punishment of the Jews. One man, an extremist Christian, wrote that it “Seems a ton of the parasite class and many Jews are catching Diversity flu. Almost as though God is saying something.” Another was more forthright, posting “God: “I must send pestilence to exterminate the jews”” and “God promised to wipe the jews out with pestilence.” The latter comment was accompanied by images of the coronavirus.
Glee at Jewish deaths
Given that many people blamed “the Jews” for Covid-19, it is no surprise that many would be glad to see Jews die from the virus. Others went further and called for the death of Jews. Some examples include: “I just hope the prideful bigoted hateful RACIST unclean Cainetic fake jew trash dies of the corona Bullshit” and “Out of 350 million [American deaths]? I hope they are all niggers or jews.”
Another posted: “As expected the #MSM is lording the #Hollywood #Jew faggot praising #celebrities throughout the headlines with regards to the #coronavirus. Fact is most everyday citizens hope these verminous sacks of affluent crap die agonizing deaths from COVID19.” One poster used poetry: “Imagine all the hebrews / Getting covid 19 / woohoo-hoo! /… I hope someday soon they will leave us / And the Whhhi-i-i-te world will live as one” and “They would crash the economy / To make another buck / Ain’t no time being wasted / Time to heat the oven up.”
Racist and bigoted expressions, against anyone, are despicable at any time. But as history shows, when there is economic uncertainty, social unrest, and political turmoil, extremists tend to become much more active and militant. Add a pandemic to this mix, and fuel is added to the wood-pile.
The anti-Jewish hate expressed in the online posts above, by people in one country on one social media site, is only a tiny fraction of the antisemitic hate posted online globally. The conspiracy theories, the animosity, the death-wishes expressed, along with the total lack of logic and reason, shows that for some people their hatred knows no bounds.
If those views enter the mainstream or are turned into violent action, then no one is safe, and the society is under threat of going down a path that leads to much pain and darkness. It is incumbent upon political and civil leaders and citizens to actively and effectively expose and oppose all forms of racism and bigotry, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Disclaimer: All quoted comments throughout the article are reproduced as in the original, without any correction of spelling or grammar.
Julie Nathan is the Research Director at the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, the peak representative body of the Australian Jewish community, and is the author of the annual ECAJ Report on Antisemitism in Australia.