The Community Security Trust (CST) has released a research briefing investigating the “chilling” spread in antisemitism online related to the coronavirus pandemic.
In ‘Coronavirus and the Plague of Antisemitism’, which was published on Wednesday, the CST reviewed antisemitic content that had been circulating online and identified “five different anti-Jewish narratives regarding COVID-19”.
Narratives ranged from “bizarre conspiracy theories” to the “sheer nastiness of those who like to see others suffer.”
The CST identified broad categories of conspiracy theory – including those asserting that the coronavirus was a Jewish conspiracy, that the Jewish people were its principal spreaders and others who sought to harness the virus to spread it to the Jews in what they dubbed as “the Holocough”.
“Hatred flourishes when left unchecked, and CST is highlighting the existence of this antisemitic material so that action can be taken by social media companies and law enforcement where appropriate,” said the report.
“The spread of this antisemitism online is particularly chilling because the overwhelming response of people in Britain to this crisis has been to pull together and support the collective effort against COVID-19.”
The CST noted that antisemitism from the United States was “influencing extremist narratives in the United Kingdom” and remarked on “anti-Chinese xenophobia merging with anti-Jewish conspiracy theories”.
“Even when these theories do not start with the Jewish community, antisemites jump at the opportunity to blame the Jews,” the report read.