‘Virus of hate’: Anti-Semitic rhetoric links Israel and Jews to corona outbreak

“Anti-Semitism, in order to remain relevant, always adapts to current events,” said Elan Carr, U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism.

By Josh Plank, World Israel News

Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs on Tuesday published a new report “The Virus of Hate” detailing recent anti-Semitic rhetoric linking Israel and Jews to the coronavirus.

The report highlights, through detailed examples, the common anti-Semitic coronavirus motif and libels shared by both “classic anti-Semitism” against Jews and “new anti-Semitism” against the State of Israel.

According to the report, classic anti-Semitism is “consistent with the centuries-old tradition blood libels against Jews, including for spreading viruses and plague. This anti-Semitism is perpetrated by the radical right in the North America and Europe and, to a minor extent, by the general public and the radical left.”

New anti-Semitism is “consistent with the campaign to delegitimize Israel. This anti-Semitism is perpetrated by governments and quasi-governmental actors, terror organizations and civil society, specifically: Iran, the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and the BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] movement.”

The report points out that “the leaders of the BDS movement and the delegitimization campaign against Israel have insisted that their anti-Zionist and anti-Israel rhetoric was not antisemitic, but rather, legitimate political criticism.”

“Now, however, the current wave of hateful rhetoric relating to the coronavirus demonstrates simply and clearly how both classic anti-Semites on the far right and far left Israel delegitimizers, including BDS, are using a common antisemitic motif and libel,” the report says.

According to the report, this common motif is the equation of Jews and/or Israel to the coronavirus with the libel that Jews and/or Israel are using or spreading the virus for political or economic gain.

The report quotes U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Elan Carr, who says that “anti-Semitism, in order to remain relevant, always adapts to current events.”

The current coronavirus outbreak has provided a perfect “test case,” says the report, for observing how the new anti-Semitism of the BDS movement is really just a modern adaptation of the same old hate.