‘Direct links’ between rise in Jew-hate and coronavirus spread, says German antisemitism commissioner

Felix Klein described Jew-hate as a virus of its own, ‘contagious on a social level’


Germany’s antisemitism commissioner has warned of a spike in antisemitism in the country due to the spread of coronavirus.

Speaking at the launch of a government research project into the issue, Felix Klein said that there were “direct links between the current spread of the coronavirus and that of antisemitism”.

“There is a boom in conspiracy theories in times of crisis,” he said, describing antisemitism as a virus of its own that is "contagious on a social level".

One example he pointed to, according to AFP, were claims circulating online that the pandemic was the result of a failed bioweapon test by Mossad.

“In recent weeks, right-wing radicals have increasingly tried to leverage the coronavirus crisis for their own ends,” he continued.

Antisemitism has been on the rise in Germany in recent years. There were 1,799 antisemitic offences recorded in 2018, a 20 per cent rise on 2017.

Last October, a gunman tried to storm a synagogue filled with worshippers in the city of Halle.

The new research project into the issue of antisemitism, funded with €12m (£10.6m), will involve several German universities and will aim to better understand the causes and manifestations of antisemitism.

Education and Research Minister Anja Karliczek said of it: “We want to tackle antisemitism with science.”

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive