How is the Jewish community scapegoated during pandemics?
Conspiracy theories need scapegoats to blame for societal crises. Historically, Jewish people have been wrongfully scapegoated during pandemics. For example, in the 14th century, Jews were blamed for the devastating Bubonic Plague. Jewish communities had lower plague death rates, possibly due to their religious practice of handwashing. Claiming that Jews had caused the plague by poisoning the wells, neighbours unleashed violent pogroms on the Jewish community. In fact, however, modern science and research indicate that the plague was likely transmitted by flea-infested rodents carried on merchant ships.
Today, equally false and unreasonable antisemitic explanations for COVID-19 are being spread. It happens here, in real life. Antisemitic stickers in Halifax and an antisemitic article in Glos Polski (a Polish-language Canadian newspaper) blamed the spread of COVID-19 on the Jewish community.
Online disinformation can spread into the real world. We are all responsible to recognize and Stop the Transmission of these antisemitic conspiracies.