Sunday, April 5, 2020

France: Coronavirus and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories

Related: France: Former Health Minister is a target of vicious online anti-semitism

Via JTA:
[…] In recent weeks, a caricature of Agnès Buzyn, France’s previous health minister who is Jewish, pouring poison into a well — a depiction of one of the most prevalent theories that led to pogroms during the Black Death plague — has made the rounds on French social media. It’s been shared tens of thousands of times.

Another viral image superimposes Buzyn’s face on the “happy merchant” anti-Semitic caricature, which shows a grinning Jewish man rubbing his palms together.

Then there’s a widely shared video accusing Buzyn and her husband, Yves Levy, also Jewish, of withholding chloroquine — an anti-malarial drug being touted as a possible coronavirus antidote by some, including President Donald Trump, but whose effectivity against the coronavirus is unproven — from the French public for financial gain. It garnered 170,000 views on YouTube before being deleted. Alain Soral, a Holocaust denier with multiple convictions for inciting hatred against Jews, said in a video he posted on YouTube that the virus is being used by “the luminary community, which we are forbidden to name” that “wants to cash in on the backs of the French to weaken French people by the sheer weight of the death toll.”

The statement, which echoes similar allegations made against Jews during the Middle Ages, was unusual for Soral, who likes to cloak his hate speech in academic language and pseudo-rational constructions that he delivers dispassionately.

But to Knobel, the historian, the video’s reach was even more surprising. Its 406,000 views [416 295 views today] made it the second-most popular video on Soral’s YouTube channel, Kontre Kulture, which he launched eight years ago. 
Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, the anti-Semitic French comedian and a friend of Soral, has aired similar theories on his YouTube channel, which has hundreds of videos. His
first post about the virus received 410,000 views — his highest number of clicks in more than six months. Mainstream French media has taken notice of the anti-Semitic chatter around Buzyn, including the Voici news site and France Inter public radio, which said the pandemic was “triggering a wave of anti-Semitic rhetoric.”
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