The centuries-old stereotype that Jews spread diseases was reactivated during the coronavirus pandemic.
Dr. Predrag Kon is head of the Health-crisis Team of the Republic of Serbia in charge of efforts to curb the COVID-19 pandemics. Dr. Predrag Kon is Jewish. In November 2020, a graffiti “Dr. Kon on a stake!” with the crossed-out Star of David appeared in Novi Sad. The abbreviation “Dr” was in quotation marks to indicate sarcasm, alluding that Dr. Kon is not a “real doctor.”
In a separate incident, antisemitic posters appeared on the streets of Belgrade, claiming that the pandemic was just a cover for establishing a “global Jewish government.”
“Jews are members of a secret global elite that aims at achieving world domination”
Two common contemporary conspiracy theories serve this stereotype: 1) ZOG/ Zionist Occupied Government is an antisemitic political catchphrase of the extreme right that denotes a government that is supposedly ruled by Jews. The term takes up the old conspiracy ideology of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” that wealthy Jews would conspire to establish a world government.
A flyer that was distributed in a tram in Cologne asked the rhetorical questions “Do we really only have a Corona problem? Or don’t we actually have predominantly a Jew-problem?” while listing Angela Merkel as a Jewess of Polish origin connected to B’nai B’rith, Jens Spahn as “gay Jew” connected to the Bilderberg conference, Heiko Maas as a Jew and leading censor and Christian Drosten as pro-government virologist and Jew “according to his phenotype”. It closes with the words that “the more Jews in politics and media, the worse the conditions”.
The infamous antisemitic fabrication The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a text claiming to have exposed a Jewish plan for global domination, first appeared in print in Russia in 1903. It was translated into Greek in 1920, but it remained “unexploited” in the archive of the Greek Foreign Ministry. The Protocols started gaining publicity in 1925, thanks to the work of Dr. Andronikos, an Athenian pseudointellectual, whose medical authority and adherence to nationalism, fascism and anticommunism made him an ideal propagandist of the Protocols through the press. In early 1928 the dailies To Fos and Makedonia in Thessaloniki − the city where more than 50,000 out of 70,000 Greek Jews dwelled − published a Greek translation of the Protocols. Thereafter, the antisemitic focus of Makedonia intensified. In June 1931, members of the fascist organization “Ethniki Enosis Ellas” (“EEE”, National Union Hellas), acting upon allegations of anti-national behavior of local Jews published in Makedonia, launched a pogrom against the poor Jewish neighborhood of Campbell.