As the world came to grips with the seriousness of the pandemic last spring, conspiracies arose linking COVID-19 and anti-Semitism.
In September, the Hungarian publication Népszava reported that the sole institution in Hungary that is dedicated to preserving the record of the Hungarian Holocaust, the Páva Street Holocaust Memorial Center, may be coerced to collaborate with three other Hungarian research institutes. These three institutes, which are controlled by the government, have engaged in Holocaust distortion and/or employed anti-Semites.
There are two important, but seemingly contradictory, takeaways from this laundry list of anti-Semitic incidents from May of 2020. First, we are experiencing a resurgence of extreme right anti-Semitic rhetoric in the United States. Second, don’t let anyone tell you that the danger from anti-Semitism in the United States (or most other countries) comes largely from the racist, xenophobic or white supremacist right. This past month the right-wing version of anti-Semitism was most ubiquitous. Next month it may very well be another manifestation of anti-Semitism that dominates the headlines. This disease shapeshifts over time and place, maximizing the damage it can inflict.
For the vast majority of Americans, the potential collapse of our public health systems and predictions of economic Armageddon have left us frightened and uncertain. But there are some who have found a silver lining in our coronavirus fears: the conspiracy theorists, the racists and the anti-Semites.