Antisemitism is in Itself a Conspiracy Theory

Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism was held on Thursday in Sweden, focusing on how to battle the increase of online hate, conspiracy theories and antisemitism due to the Covid lockdown.

The Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism – Remember ReAct event was held on Thursday, October 14, in Sweden, hosted by Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. The conference was centred around the radical increase in online hate, conspiracy theories, antisemitism and Holocaust denial due to the coronavirus pandemic and worldwide lockdowns. Representatives from more than 50 countries, NGOs, social-media organisations, Holocaust survivors and others attended the event.

Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, stressed that in the past year-and-a-half, due to the Covid pandemic and the worldwide lockdowns, people were exposed to online disinformation, extremism and antisemitism 24/7. The level of the young generation’s misinformation and unfamiliarity with the Holocaust is unparalleled, posing a significant challenge: to prevent young people from falling into extremism, for we cannot fight antisemitism without winning the fight against extremism in general.

Kathrin Meyer, Secretary-General of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, stressed the importance of combating online hate, also noting that the spreading of Holocaust distortion via social media is a serious challenge, as it leads to the increase of antisemitism, Holocaust denial and extreme nationalism.

“Antisemitism differs from other forms of racism; [it]is in itself a conspiracy theory based on notions of Jewish powers, Jewish interest, and the secret desire to rule the world. It is a specific toxic form that drives conspiracy theories that … in its most extreme form resulted in the Holocaust,” Löfven said.

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder pointed out the United Nation’s hypocrisy on Israel, declaring that “antisemites have found a new way of attacking Jews by attacking Israel and saying it should not exist. It is on social media, on college campuses, at the United Nations, all over. We are going to fight back hard and go into social media. We have to fight this not only for Jewish people but for all people. There should be no hate.” He also noted that last year, the United Nations instituted “23 resolutions against countries – 17 against Israel and six against the rest of the world – that says a lot about what’s happening.”

Holocaust survivor Dina Rajs, who was present at the conference, approves of the forum’s focus on action: “We all need to react and act against antisemitism and other forms of racism, against those who say what happened to me and my husband, to our families and friends didn’t happen. … We need to react and act every day, and stand up for equal rights and the rights of all, and stand up for democracy.”