“Anti-Jewish hate online never stays online” warns watchdog group. “Conspiracy theories may lead to more attacks on Jews when lockdowns end”

The significant rise in extremism and the widespread increase in antisemitic conspiracy over the last year could have profound effects on Jewish communities in a post-Pandemic world, Dr. Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress, said at the release of the Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide 2020, by the Kantor Center at Tel Aviv University.

“2020 has been a year like no other in recent memory. Our worlds and daily lives were changed and altered, leading to a global social crisis in many countries and for many around the world,” Dr. Kantor said.

“As a result, there has been a deep global polarization, with the extremist margins increasing due to conspiracy theories and the search for answers in a challenging world. This led to a change in the type and distribution of antisemitism.”

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Fewer physical attacks took place, because of lockdowns and severe restrictions. Far more hate against Jews was spread online where accusing Jews and Israel for the Coronavirus was easily spread, resulting in the expansion of extremist groups.

Dr. Kantor also expressed concern at the effect on people, in particular the younger generation, of the spread of online hate.

“We have yet to see the results of a younger generation forced indoors during a protracted period of their formative years, with the closure of educational institutions and employment and entertainment opportunities and exposed in some cases at the click of a switch or the touch of a screen to 24-7 anti-Jewish hate in online forums.,” Dr. Kantor said.

“We know that antisemitism spread online to young minds can and does lead to violent and racist attacks. We only have to look at some of the most pernicious hate crimes of recent years such as Breivik in Norway, Mohammed Merah at the Jewish school in Toulouse in France, the attack on a mosque in New Zealand and the attacks on synagogues in Pittsburgh and Poway to see how easy it is to transfer learned hatred into murderous violence.”

“Anti-Jewish hatred online never stays online. We have to be prepared that antisemitic conspiracy theories could lead to physical attacks on Jews when lockdowns end,” he added.

According to the report, in most countries a decrease was observed in violent incidents, attacks on both people and property, threats and arson, but the number of attacks against Jewish sites and communal property increased. Read more at Arutz-7