Pandemic and digitalization have added "arguments" to the arsenal of anti-Semites around the world

Pandemic and digitalization have added "arguments" to the arsenal of anti-Semites around the world

27 January , 13:51Society
Today is January 27, Holocaust Remembrance Day. The "final solution to the Jewish question" - that is, the destruction of 6 million Jews by the Nazis - took shape gradually.

And an important role in this decision and its implementation was played by anti-Semitic mythology, which penetrated into the everyday and political life of the Germans.

Now, in 2021, it seems to us that this is far in the terrible past, and no one will seriously tell anti-Semitic stories.

However, unfortunately, this is not entirely true. They are. Anthropologist Alexandra Arkhipova writes about them in her channel:

“This is a very unpleasant topic, so if in doubt, do not read this material. If you decide, then here they are - in front of you - the descendants of the mythology that led to the terrible tragedy.

“The Holocaust is a myth”, “6 million Jews just hid somewhere”, “the gas chambers are bomb shelters”...

If you hear such statements, then you can immediately say: before you is a Holocaust denier. There are not as many of them as vaccine deniers, but they are. The Holocaust denier movement originated in the 1980s and 90s in the United States, thanks to the publication of several strange near-historical works, which argued that the Jews were not killed, but that they quietly fled to their relatives, there were no death chambers in the concentration camps, and so on. And all Nazi documents are forged. This is a typical conspiracy theories in academic robes. In some countries of the Middle East, for example, in Iran , now this conspiracy theory is approved by the state, which contributes to the confrontation with Israel. But for modern Russia it was not very typical.

Until yesterday. Yesterday there was a piece of news and everything is “fine” in it.

Vladimir Matveyev, professor of SPGEU, doctor of technical sciences, candidate of economic sciences, doctor of philosophy (Ph.D), former colonel, finally! gave a lecture to teachers of the Leningrad region. The topic of the lecture is how to tell children about the Holocaust and how to deal with myths in this area. But his lecture was a classic example of a Holocaust denier speech. And, like almost any denier, the text there was little connected.

For example, here is a slide on which Matveev asserts that the Holocaust is the punishment of Jews among his own people and, in general, "is a positive phenomenon." And on the next slide, we are told that the Jews conspired with the Nazis and secretly resettled Jews to Palestine.

I have one question: how did Matveyev get to the teachers to give lectures? Those who called were not aware of his views? Colleagues quickly found out that he was not the first time to make such statements. However, he is neither a historian nor an expert in any topic related to teacher training. Moreover, colleagues from Dissernet express reasonable doubts about his qualifications and even the availability of degrees.

But although Matveyev is a striking case of a conspiracy theorist in the field of history, alas, there are much worse cases.

Anti-Semitic Myths in the Covid Era

During social catastrophes, people begin to swiftly exchange any information that somehow helps explain what is happening. Including rumors with fakes. If you want to know more, then you are here.

Therefore, it is not surprising that during the coronavirus pandemic, a wide variety of conspiracy theories, including anti-Semitic ones, have revived.

Throughout 2020, my colleagues and I collected and studied rumors about the coronavirus, as well as other rumors exchanged between Russians. At first, we found a rumor, recorded its variants, then uploaded search words into the Medialogia system, which searches through social networks (but not through instant messengers!). And here is the result - the main anti-Semitic rumors in Russia. And as you can see, unfortunately, there are actually a lot of them.

For many subjects, these are small numbers. However, perhaps these views are more common. It's just that the carriers of such ideas disguise their statements (for fear of being attracted under the article on inciting hatred or enmity). In the blogs of Russian nationalists (who, moreover, are often prone to conspiracy theories), one can find the following statements:

They run the USA

They benefit from covid

These "they" are Jews. It is a visual reference (linguists call it "index mark") to a group that poses a threat to a nationalist conspiracy theorist. The parentheses here indicate sideways, an element of the traditional Jewish identity.

"The virus was invented by the Jews"

There are two paranoid accusations against Jews. “They steal and kill our children!” - for what? - "to add blood to matzo", "to desecrate Easter", etc. This is called blood libel. But there is another type of accusation, according to which the Jews seek to seize power around the world. The infamous forgery of the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" tells about this.

So, during the 2021 pandemic, a modern version of this myth was born. According to British psychologists who studied the impact of conspiracy theories on British life in 2020, the rumor that the virus was invented by Jews for financial manipulation and control of the world was very popular among British residents. In Russia, as we can see, this rumor (by a large margin) is in second place (and it may be even greater, because its content will be masked and search engines will not see it).

"Kabbalah of German Gref", or "Digitalization is the new Satan"

In the first place (with a monstrous separation from other plots) is the story that German Gref, the head of Sberbank, an ethnic German by origin, is a "secret Jew who spreads the Kabbalah". But he is not just a secret Jew, he has a goal - to destroy Russian children through the introduction and maintenance of distance education.

For all the apparent madness of this accusation, there is a whole (and large!) Group of people who consistently adhere to this point of view. These are worried parents. They are very concerned about distance education, more precisely, the expectation that the Russian government is going to make it permanent. And it is Gref who is considered responsible for this project and its secret meanings. They write petitions, create groups in messengers. I closely follow the life of these parent groups. Such accusations appear there regularly. And the surge of such accusations falls on the beginning of May, when parents start drinking the alarm en masse: "distance education will stay with us forever!" This parental panic affects all segments of the population, but for some it is difficult to adhere to rational arguments - what is the danger of remote control for the future of children. And then irrational arguments about the secret nature of the one who, according to some parents, invented all this, come into play. After all, when there is a specific enemy, it is always easier to fight.

Israeli paracetamol with poison wire inside

Since 2015, this rumor has surfaced every year. Allegedly, someone bought a medicine, and there is a wire inside. Alerts are often sent out like this.

This horror story has been translated from Arabic and is being circulated in Arab countries. Often it can be found in Iranian and Egyptian blogs: with its help "prove" that in this way the Jews are planning to exterminate the Arab population.

The plot of the horror story itself is not new - it could be found in the USSR at the very height of the anti-Semitic campaign of 1953 - "the doctors' case". Soviet citizens, frightened by stories about Jewish poisoning doctors, shied away from doctors and vigilantly checked the pills, including paracetamol, for wire or poison. In February 1953, in several Ukrainian towns at once, people stormed hospitals, demanding to punish doctors who allegedly give them pills with a wire inside, as well as infect children with diseases through vaccinations and supply pharmacies with cotton wool infected with typhus. In the summer of 1952, everyone in Vilnius was talking about a doctor who infected streptocide with Koch's bacilli. In Moscow in January 1953, there were rumors about a woman who brought penicillin for examination, in which poison was found. In February 1953, a resident of Dneprodzerzhinsk reported to the local party committee that a small sharp piece of lead was found in the pill that a Jewish doctor prescribed to her child (more about these and other cases in the book "Dangerous Soviet Things: Urban Legends and Fears in the USSR", from page 533 onwards).


This concludes our unpleasant review. All rumors are still few in number (except for the story with German Gref), but this does not mean that there is no need to fight them. More than once in the history of Europe, following these myths led to tragedy, no matter how innocent they may seem..."

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