• An anonymous poster on the dark web suggested the coronavirus should be referred to as the "Jew flu"
  • Ultra-Orthodox communities have been disproportionately hit, leading to accusations Jews are spreading the virus deliberately
  • The theories accuse Jews of developing the virus to "knock down" China, collect the world's wealth and cement their dominance

President Trump’s embrace of a conspiracy theory blaming a Chinese lab for creating the coronavirus that has killed more than 258,000 people worldwide so far has triggered a wave of anti-Semitic rhetoric accusing Jews of involvement in the development of the virus.

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities have been hit disproportionately by the virus in Israel and elsewhere, largely because they have ignored many of the guidelines issued by public health and other government officials regarding social distancing and other mitigation efforts, leading to assertions Jews were spreading the virus deliberately.

Trump and other administration officials have been promoting the Chinese lab theory despite a statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that there is no evidence that is the case.

That makes little difference to the far right. One anonymous poster on the dark web said he knew the real origins of the virus: “The k---- get the credit for that one. It was the kikes. It's always the k----.” Another posted: “It's not Chinese. It's the Jew flu!” – an apparent reference to the administration effort to have the virus referred to as the “China flu” or the “Wuhan flu.”

Other posters posit the virus was created to “knock down” China itself, collect the world’s wealth and cement Jewish dominance once the crisis subsides.

It goes further than the dark web, though. During a recent protest in Ohio against the state’s stay-at-home restrictions, a demonstrator sported a sign featuring the colors of the Israeli flag, a caricature of a rat and the caption, “the real plague.”

Yemeni scholar Ibrahim al-Ubeidi said in a sermon in March Jews had developed the coronavirus to shut down the Islamic holy sites in Mecca and Medina.

Julie Nathan, research director for the Executive Council of Australian Jewry and co-convenor of the Australian Hate Crime Network, said it’s not surprising anti-Semites are using the pandemic to attack Jews and spread conspiracy theories.

“We must be very concerned at the many malicious conspiracy theories which are flourishing online. Some of them are antisemitic and all of them mislead and misdirect those who would not be aware of the dishonesty and disingenuity contained within them,” Jeremy Jones of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council told Australian Jewish News.

A recent study by the European Jewish Association indicated 20% of Europeans say they believe the world is run by a Jewish cabal while the charitable organization Oxfam tried to raise funds by selling copies of the more than century-old anti-Semitic text, “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a fradulent account of a secret meeting of Jewish elders embraced by the Nazis.

A review of Twitter posts by AJC Global Jewish Advocacy found the Jewish conspiracy posts not only originating on the far right and in Muslim communities, but on the far left and other extremist religious communities, as well.