Monitoring report: Antisemitism at rallies against measures to curb the corona pandemic

In recent weeks, very large rallies have taken place in Bavaria, which were directed against government measures in the context of the corona pandemic. RIAS Bavaria has observed a number of events and publishes examples of antisemitic incidents that occurred at the rallies. [1]

Antisemitic conspiracy myths as a 'declaration of crisis'

It is not surprising that antisemitism is increasing in the context of the corona crisis. Already at the time of the plague, 'the Jews' were collectively accused of causing the disease through well poisoning. Antisemitism acts as a world declaration that declares complex social processes, which are usually perceived as negative, to be the result of the evil machinations of a secret elite. The supposed enemy is named as 'those up there', 'Illuminati', 'banksters' or 'Freemasons' to 'Zionists' or explicitly as the supposed 'Jewish world conspiracy'. All conspiracy tales that reduce complex relationships to the evil will of 'secret powers' have the potential to become openly antisemitic.

This has often happened at the meetings documented here. For example, a photo montage was shown at a rally in Munich on May 9, in which people were 'forcibly vaccinated' by uniformed people. The emblem on the uniforms and cars of the fictitious vaccination unit is based on a Star of David and bears the inscription 'ZION'. Here 'Zion', readable as 'the Jews', 'Zionism' or Israel, is accused of being behind the alleged 'forced vaccination' against Covid-19.

At the documented rallies, Bill Gates and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which campaigns for vaccinations worldwide, among other things, were discussed. Gates stands for a supposed elite that wants to destroy humanity. Although his person (so far) is not charged with explicitly antisemitic images, he is repeatedly mentioned with enemy images that represent classic projection surfaces for antisemitism: In Erlangen, for example, on May 6, the speaker and the public said during the dialogue, "Bill Gates , the rich, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bill Gates Foundation ”are responsible for the corona crisis alongside George Soros, the Bilderbergers [2] and a few others. The Bilderbergers, the Jewish billionaire and philanthropist George Soros as well as David D. Rockefeller has long been known in antisemitism as enemy images that stand for a hallucinated Jewish world conspiracy. This conspiracy thinking was shown, for example, at a rally in Passau on May 2, at which one participant commented on the presence of a photographer with the sentence "Probably he studied at Soros". 

An essential element of such ideas is that this elite, however it is named, aims to introduce a New World Order (NWO). In this, people are supposed to be suppressed and controlled, for example by chips supposedly implanted during vaccinations, or even to reduce the world population. A demonstrator served a popular cipher for 'the Jews' at a rally on May 2 in Munich: his poster spoke of the "Corona Lie" and a "global conspiracy of globalists". Numerous posters at the demonstrations 'warned' of the New World Order that was supposedly aimed for.

Why do people believe in obviously abstruse or false conspiracy stories? 

Many of the alleged grievances charged with demonstrations are fictitious. It is often said that freedom of expression is restricted or abolished and that people want to restore it. At the same time, however, the participants apparently did not notice that just when they put it on the street, they were exercising the right to freedom of expression that was supposedly no longer applicable. Some of the measures to contain the corona pandemic do mean immense interference with fundamental rights, some of which have severe economic and social consequences, but to call this a dictatorship and to erroneously equate it with the transfer of power to the National Socialists in 1933 stems from the rally participants' imaginations.

It is reasonable to assume that this fantasy is the negative expression of a projected longing for many: longing for an authoritarian society in which the right of the stronger applies [3] and in which non-mediating, democratic processes, but direct rule, of the people ', as the demonstration participants call themselves again and again, regulates social coexistence. Not only the murder call "Kill Bill!" (Gates), which is often formulated on the demonstrations and on the Internet, would probably be implemented in such a society. 

The sometimes complete decoupling of one's own claims from reality is a psychological process that is known in antisemitism research as a pathic projection: the world is perceived in the way that one's own ideological conception pretends to be. This fends off the fact that you are exposed to the world with its complex mechanisms. You create your own world, which is characterized by simple good-bad structures. It no longer identifies the establishment of the world (in which no one is directly to blame) as hostile and contradictory, but an evil group as the enemy - with the destruction of which the evil disappears from the world. At least this picture of the world is less complex than the real one, supposedly known and therefore psychologically manageable. The uncertaintywhich is inevitably available to everyone in the complex real world, is warded off by counting yourself into a supposedly good collective that has to defend itself against evil powers. The fact that National Socialism - like all antisemitic ideologies - also acted as supposedly innocent self-defense against these evil powers in the form of the 'Jewish world conspiracy' is evident, for example, in the motto "The Jews are our misfortune" by the striker, a well-known antisemitic weekly newspaper in National Socialism.The fact that National Socialism - like all antisemitic ideologies - also acted as supposedly innocent self-defense against these evil powers in the form of the 'Jewish world conspiracy' is evident, for example, in the motto "The Jews are our misfortune" by the striker, a well-known antisemitic weekly newspaper in National Socialism.The fact that National Socialism - like all antisemitic ideologies - also acted as supposedly innocent self-defense against these evil powers in the form of the 'Jewish world conspiracy' is evident, for example, in the motto "The Jews are our misfortune" by the striker, a well-known antisemitic weekly newspaper in National Socialism. 

Antisemitism is not just an 'extreme' phenomenon 

Although extremely right-wing actors also took part in most of the rallies observed by RIAS Bayern and some were even organized by them, a large part of the incidents documented here did not originate from them. Rather, people publicly displayed the documented messages, which, according to their appearance, are more of a social average and should not infrequently belong to the middle class economically. Observing the online channels and using statements from rally participants suggests that many of these people have never been politically active. For them, the current crisis is an unusual uncertainty; normal life is turned upside down. This is not an excuse for antisemitic statements,but shows the susceptibility to antisemitic alleged crisis declarations. 

The current mass influx of online forums and events on the street underline once again that antisemitic images can be found not only on the 'political fringes' of society, but across the entire ideological spectrum. 

Trivialization of the Shoah 

Most often, however, schoahrelativative antisemitism had to be found at the rallies. In Munich, Nuremberg and Passau, participants wore yellow stars on May 9, as they had to wear Jews under National Socialism, with inscriptions such as "not vaccinated" or "CoV-2". In this way, the bearers line themselves up as alleged victims in line with the persecuted and murdered Jews and thus play down the Shoah. The lettering "Vaccination makes you free" was seen at several rallies. This in turn belittles the inscriptions "Work makes you free" affixed to several concentration and extermination camps.

A sign at the rallies in Augsburg on May 2nd and 9th called a vaccine against Covid-19 the "final solution to the corona question". This trivializes the Shoah, which was also called the "final solution to the Jewish question". In Munich on May 9, a protester carried a cardboard label that said, among other things, “Never again: Dr. Mengele ”demanded, another demonstrator wore underpants on her head that said“ Bill Gates = Dr. Mengele ”was described. On May 9th in Regensburg, a sign asked what came after the alleged “obligation”: “Euthanasia? Forced sterilization? ". In Munich, the tradition of the White Rose's resistance to National Socialism was frequently adopted, which equates the Nazi regime with the current situation and downplayed it. Another statement in harmony with the Schoah was on 25April in Munich, when a participant on a cardboard sign stated: "Blocking contacts is a social Holocaust !!!"

It was precisely these schoahrelativative forms of antisemitic statements that were very common in the protests. This indicates a refusal to actually deal with the history of National Socialism and the Shoah. Instead, many statements refer to the need to want to take the place of the persecuted or victim in post-National Socialist society - but not that of the offspring of offenders. The Federal Association RIAS eV has reported extensively on the history of meetings against corona measures in Germany.

The more closed antisemitism functions as a worldview, the more it aims at the murder of actual or supposed Jews. Because conspiracy stories always have a penchant for antisemitism, these events should be observed with the greatest attention. At the rallies, there was sometimes an aggressive mood against the police and press, which many of the demonstrators perceived as hostile. This is already an expression of the potentially violent defense of one's 'truth' that many of the participants want to have recognized. Representatives of RIAS Bayern were also attacked, physically attacked in one case. Last but not least, the right-wing terrorist attackers who perpetrated the attacks in Hanau and on the synagogue in Halle were convinced of myths thatwhich are currently being propagated en masse on German roads, in some cases very similar. 

[1] Antisemitism breaks even more vigorously in the online channels in which the demonstrations are organized and corresponding ideologies are spread. Antisemitic messages are sometimes distributed there by people who are involved in the organization of street meetings. 

[2] The Bilderberg conference is an annual meeting of political decision-makers, scientists, trade unionists, aristocrats as well as business and media representatives for the exchange of ideas. 

For example, the frequent reference to the Swedish model of the relatively weak measures against the pandemic, where people are more exposed to the virus than elsewhere. 

Source: RIAS