Blood Libel Version 2021

Iran's mission to blame the cause and spread of The Novel Coronavirus is yet another way antisemites hope to spread hate towards Jews and Israel by way of spreading conspiracy theories. The image was taken from the official Instagram page of Ayatollah Sayyid Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader

At times, it seems that hate and prejudice against Jews is the one unifying factor connecting people from all walks of life. Irrespective of a culture’s nationality, age or education, antisemitic actions and ideals somehow work their way into the very fabric of Eastern and Western societies. Antisemitism is a hate as old as time and, even in the 21st century, is as prevalent as ever.

The truth is that antisemitism is a conspiracy theory with no validity that goes back thousands of years. Antisemites are delusional, misinformed and irrational, and their message of hate does not stand on solid ground.

In various societies over time, Jews were called out for being the smart ones,  yet were detested for supposedly being dirty and inferior. The fact that two opposing points of view could be held towards Jews makes perfect sense to the antisemite. Economic downfalls of a society lead to the Jews taking the blame. In truth, history has shown that it is the Jews who are blamed for the unexplainable. Myriads of incomprehensible world events were blamed on the Jews, simply because it was the easy thing to do and the one thing accepted by people the world over.

It happened in Hitler’s Germany, which lead to his rise and the murder of six million innocent Jews. Times of uncertainty and worry during the Bubonic Plague – the “Black Death” – which killed 25 million people in the 14th century, lead to desperate people believing they were being punished for their evil ways. Naturally, Jews, as the “Killers of Christ” were blamed and stories of Jews poisoning the wells spread like wildfire. Soon, a massacre of Jews, unparalleled in magnitude, took place all over Europe.

Does it make any sense? Of course not, because conspiracy theories rarely do.  Another fact about conspiracy theorists is that one cannot argue or reason with them.  A conspiracy theory is one that arises out of people’s fear and the theorists are virtually impossible to reason with. They will not listen to facts and will always have an answer for why they are correct.

In a recent report conducted by The Diaspora Ministry in Israel, it was predicted that the rate of antisemitism will be on the rise in 2021.  While the actual acts of antisemitism dropped in 2020 due the lockdowns, the rates of written antisemitism increased wildly over online media.  This brings me to the latest conspiracy theory that is gaining ground.  Amongst the most used hashtags going around internet chatrooms and sites is COVID1948, a reference to Israel’s founding in 1948. The hashtag, which is believed to have been started as a part of an Iranian disinformation campaign, aims to place the blame of the pandemic in the hands of Israel.  Iran is  blaming Israel for its own poor handling of the COVID-19 virus.  This is a way that Ayatollahs deflect the problems of their country on another. Iran, known for its sponsoring of terror toward The United States and the only Jewish State in the Middle East, is using an old conspiracy theory: blame it on the Jews who they falsely believe are dirty and inferior.

For thousands of years, Jews have served as scapegoats for world-wide disease, and this current effort by the Islamic Government of Iran is not any different. Now the internet, spreading information faster and to a wider audience, exacerbates the spread of mistruths.  A quick search on Twitter and Instagram turned up countless posts with hashtag COVD1948 accompanying hateful words and pictures directed towards Israel. (The fact that these social media networks have not banned the groups or people using the hashtag is a discussion for another article.)

For a country like Iran, Jews and Israel are not just an enemy, we are THE ENEMY who must be destroyed at all costs. Iran has been and continues to be successful at blaming the Jews for the problems of the world…and must be stopped.

China and Iran, two of the world’s nations worst-affected by COVID 19  –have both been accused of covering up the scale and severity of their national outbreaks in order to keep the world at bay. So, it is no wonder that Iran would spur a conspiracy theory to take the focus away from its own mishandling of the virus. The fabrication of lies by the Islamic regime, although unjustified, is how conspiracy theories and antisemitism weave their ways into the minds of people.

It has been said that a society that breeds antisemtism  has a general intolerance for all minorities and people who are different. This was true in Germany, where Hitler began his campaign by blaming Jews for all of Germany’s problems. But his hate did not stop there, and  this monster was subsequently  responsible for the killing of five million Polish people, gypsies, blacks, gays and disabled people.

Antisemitism has never made sense and conspiracy theories rarely do. This is why every one of us has a personal reasonability to stand up to antisemitism and to all hate because hate is a cancer that grows and knows no bounds.

About the Author
Aylin Sedigh grew up in Shiraz, Iran. She immigrated to the United States at the age of twelve. She is passionate about raising awareness about Mizrahi Jews and their trials and triumphs. Her goal is to open the conversation about the sacrifices that Mizrahi Jews had to make in order to survive the oppressions of the governments which they lived under.
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