Covid pandemic fans flames of antisemitism in Switzerland

Dina Wyler
When people are insecure, even ancient conspiracy theories return to the surface, Dina Wyler, the Zurich-based foundation’s managing director, said in an interview with the Neue Z├╝rcher Zeitung on Monday.

A scapegoat helps people deal with a feeling of powerlessness, she said. “Unfortunately, this scapegoat is often Jewish.”

This goes back to old, deeply rooted ideas that come to the fore in a crisis, Wyler said. “Antisemitism never went away. But it became less socially acceptable.” Now the boundaries of what one can say have shifted, she said.

Jewish people in Switzerland perceive antisemitism as a major problem, with most reports to the foundation involving damage to property and insulting statements, she said. “Physical violence such as that in Germany is very rare in Switzerland.”

Wyler is calling for dialogue, education and clear responses to antisemitism.

“When people with yellow Jewish badges appeared at anti-coronavirus rallies in Zurich, Basel and Lachen in recent weeks, the other demonstrators should have reacted. They should have made it clear that comparing state-orchestrated genocide to restaurant closures and people wearing masks is going too far,” she said.

Politicians, too, must do their part and set a good example, she said.

Source: swissinfo
Photo: Karin Hofer / NZZ