Germany Sounds Alarm On Rising Anti-Semitism Due to the COVID-19
Felix Klein, the German government’s anti-Semitism commissioner, claimed the coronavirus outbreak has reignited Jew-hatred.
“There are direct links between the current spread of the coronavirus and that of anti-Semitism,” Felix Klein said in Berlin at the launch of a new official research project addressing the issue. “In recent weeks, right-wing radicals have increasingly tried to leverage the coronavirus for their own ends.”
Germany is one of the worst-affected nations in the pandemic with over a 100,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Tuesday. Klein acknowledged that the virus has continued a disturbing trend in a country that already has been reporting an increase in hate crimes targeting Jewish communities in recent years according to The Times of Israel.
As an example of wild conspiracy theories being circulated online, Klein pointed at claims by far right and neo-Nazi groups that the coronavirus pandemic is the result of a botched bio-weapon test by the Mossad, Israel’s secret service.
“There is a boom in conspiracy theories in times of crisis,” he said, describing anti-Semitism as a virus that spreads ‘on the social level’ — and is being leveraged by the far-right to promote their own agenda.
Klein was speaking in Berlin at the launch of a federal research project with leading German universities aimed at understanding the causes and manifestations of anti-Semitism in the country.
The German government and think tanks have been keeping a close eye on far-right and neo-Nazi groups in the country after a spate of recent incidents targeting Jews.
Last October, a neo-Nazi gunman attempted to break into a synagogue conducting services in the city Halle, but failed and shot dead a bystander and another patron at a local restaurant. A few months later, German intelligence also uncovered that the far-right actors were stockpiling fire arms in a potential effort to attack Jews in various German cities.