Sharansky said that anti-Semites were using the coronavirus epidemic to spread their hateful message.
By World Israel News Staff
Natan Sharansky warned at a conference held virtually under the auspices of the Combat Anti-Semitism (CAS) movement that anti-Semites are distributing material blaming the Jews and Israel for the coronavirus pandemic, Arutz 7 reports on Monday.
The famous Soviet refusenik said that Iran, Turkey, and other countries are blaming Jews for spreading the coronavirus. For example, Iran’s state-media is accusing “Zionists” of being responsible for the disease, which it falsely claimed was developed by Israel scientists, Sharansky said.
Iran has pushed this line repeatedly. On March 5, a headline blared on Iran’s state-funded PressTV: “Zionist elements developed deadlier strain of coronavirus against Iran: Academic.”
“They are blaming the Jews, accusing us of trying to destroy the economy in order to make money,” Sharansky said.
“They also blame Israel for causing the virus. We know that accusing Jews of spreading plague is nothing new. We saw it in the Middle Ages, during the Black Plague that swept through Europe. Then, too, they accused Jews of causing the spread of disease,” he said.
“The difference between then and now is that today, we have a strong State of Israel, and we are determined to fight anti-Semitism and defeat it,” Sharansky said.
The conference had been scheduled to take place at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia, but was held online due to the coronavirus outbreak. Over 30,000 participated online.
Also participating in the event was the Trump administration’s Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism, Elan Carr.
CAS’s director, Sacha Roytman-Dratwa, said, “The coronavirus epidemic provides fertile ground for the propagation of anti-Semitic propaganda.
“Due to this, and in light of a general increase in anti-Semitic acts in recent months, we urge governments to take a firm stand against any emergence of anti-Semitism, and we also advise Jewish communities to take extra precautions,” he said.
CAS describes itself as a “non-partisan, global grassroots movement of individuals and organizations, across all religions and faiths, united around the goal of ending anti-Semitism.”