Report on the Corona year: anti-Semites migrate to Telegram groups



Anti-Semitic statements on social media remain a problem. What was new in 2020 was that many anti-Jewish statements were made in Telegram chats of the “Corona rebels”.

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According to SIG 2020, “Jewish stars” with inscriptions such as “unvaccinated” or “mask certificate” were seen both in Telegram chats and at demos.

Boris Roessler / dpa

Anti-Semitic statements at demos were also a problem in Germany.

Anti-Semitic statements at demos were also a problem in Germany.

Boris Roessler / dpa

A sign from a counter-demonstrator.

A sign from a counter-demonstrator.

Christian Charisins / dpa

  • According to the latest anti-Semitic report, there were 485 anti-Semitic incidents on the Internet in German-speaking Switzerland in 2020.

  • © The  number of reported cases from Facebook, Twitter and from the newspaper comment columns decreased.

  • But a new phenomenon has spread: anti-Semitic statements in Telegram chats of the “Corona rebels”.

© The  Swiss Association of Israelite Communities (SIG) registered 485 incidents of anti-Semitic statements in 2020 in the social media and comment columns of newspapers. In addition, there are 47 incidents in real life, including 11 abuse, 15 graffiti and damage to property. This is shown by the latest anti-Semitism report for German-speaking Switzerland.

Triggers play a central role in the distribution of anti-Semitic statements online. © The  biggest trigger in 2020 was certainly the corona pandemic. 45 percent of all anti-Semitic conspiracy theories were due to this crisis.

Fewer incidents on Facebook and Twitter

A shift can be seen on social media: While 90 percent of all reported incidents in 2019 came from Facebook and Twitter, last year it was only 65 percent. According to the report, there are two reasons for this: on the one hand, fewer newspaper articles were written and posted on social media that were triggers for anti-Semitic comments – for example on the Middle East conflict or Jewish life.

On the other hand, the report notes a shift: “New group chats were added on the Telegram messenger service, which are responsible for almost a third of online cases,” the report said. Conspiracy theories as well as statements and images with anti-Semitic content would be disseminated in the vicinity of the so-called “Corona rebels”.

143 incidents in Telegram groups

According to the report, 143 anti-Semitic incidents from seven different chats of the “Corona rebels” were registered between May and December 2020. A big problem in this scene is inappropriate comparisons with the National Socialist regime and the persecution and murder of Jews during the Holocaust. So the comparison would be drawn that you feel “like the Jews in World War II”. Such comparisons lack any reality and are inappropriate, if not to be viewed as anti-Semitic per se.

“Jewish stars” with the inscription “unvaccinated” or “mask certificate” can be seen, according to the report, both on Telegram and at the demonstrations. In contrast to many other European countries and the USA, anti-Semitism in Switzerland seems to be widespread among opponents of the corona measures, but it does not have a majority.

© The  SIG receives reports on anti-Semitic incidents in three ways. Incidents that have been experienced or observed can be reported via the reporting office. It is then verified whether the incident actually took place and whether it was actually anti-Semitic. © The  SIG also monitors the media and records anti-Semitic incidents that are reported in the media. © The  SIG’s own research on the Internet, in social media and in the comments serves as a third source and records anti-Semitic incidents.

Are you or is someone you know affected by anti-Semitism?

GRA, Stiftun against racism and anti-Semitism

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Report Corona year antiSemites migrate Telegram groups


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