People across the world are struggling to deal with the effects of Coronavirus on their health and livelihoods. Unfortunately, the crisis has also led to a spike in hate, as both Jews and Asians are falsely blamed for the spread of the disease. Now more than ever, we must fight back against antisemitism and racism, so that all communities can work together to overcome this global challenge.
The American Jewish Committee (AJC) has highlighted, "a spike in anti-Asian violence and prejudice. In the U.S., racist and xenophobic outbursts, assaults and discriminatory practices against Asian Americans have been reported from coast to coast. Chinese restaurants are witnessing 30 to 80 percent drops in business. Misinformation about COVID-19 is rampant on social media." Jews are also being targeted with vile hatred, as evidenced by a simple search of twitter. This newest form of antisemitism blames Jews or "Zionists" for coronavirus and exploits the crisis to demonize Israel. It has appeared across the political spectrum and from the U.S. to the Middle East. Jewish students have been harassed on campus as well.
This rising hate echoes a dark history of Jews and other minority communities being demonized and scapegoated for the spread of diseases. In 1347, a disease known as the Black Death appeared in Europe and killing an estimated 25 million people. Rumors immediately spread that Jews were responsible and, by late 1348, they were “being slaughtered wholesale". Other outbreaks have historically led to xenophobia directed against immigrants and foreigners, anti-black racism, and homophobia.
Just as unity is crucial in the face of the threat posed by Coronavirus, we must unite to stop those who would exploit this moment to spread antisemitism, anti-Asian racism, and other forms of hatred.
What can you do?