Friday, December 3

Far-Right Covid Conspiracy Theories Fueling Anti-Semitism, UK Experts Warn | The far right


A surge in Covid-19 conspiracy theories risks fueling anti-Semitism, hate crime activists warned after the opening of an exhibition shedding light on interwar British fascism and its parallels today.

The Wiener Holocaust Library in London is organizing the exhibition, focusing on the motivations and propaganda of British fascists and their European peers in the 1920s and 1930s, concerned about the recent growth of far-right ideas and populism. in the UK and abroad.

Rare photographs are displayed in the exhibition, including one of a woman on the streets of London with a union flag with a swastika at the heart.

“We want, we want quite consciously, that people think about the parallels between the past and the present, as well as the differences,” said Dr. Barbara Warnock, co-curator of the exhibition.

He said a copy of Action, Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists (BUF) newspaper, which carried the headline The Return of Manhood, bore similarities to the misogyny increasingly wielded by the far-right today. The front page of the newspaper also bears the slogan Great Britain First, a fascist slogan that is also the name of a far-right group that last month had its application to register as a political party approved by the Election Commission.

Poster for 'Mosley Speaks' announcing a rally by the British Union of Fascists in 1934.
Poster for ‘Mosley Speaks’ announcing a rally by the British Union of Fascists in 1934. Photograph: Collections of the Wiener Holocaust Library.

Parallels can also be drawn between anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about Covid-19 and vaccine development, and brochures blaming “Jewish financiers” for WWI or suggesting that they would benefit from WWII.

David Rich, policy director for the Community Security Trust (CST), a charity that provides security to the Jewish community, said the pandemic had caused people with anti-Semitic views to take a central role in the campaign against Covid vaccines and vaccines. public health measures.

“We see more and more people who are not really attached to a particular ideology, but who are part of this amorphous mass fueled by conspiracy theories. An entry point to that has come with the pandemic and the anti-vaccination movement where the language is not explicitly anti-Jewish. It means that a lot of people are at risk of being sucked in, “said Rich, who will be among the speakers at events that will be held as part of the exhibition.

Thousands of people attend a black shirt rally to hear Oswald Mosley speak at London's Olympia Stadium in June 1934.
Thousands of people attend a black shirt rally to hear Oswald Mosley speak at London’s Olympia Stadium in June 1934. Photography: Mary Evans

Others will include Joe Mulhall, the head of research for Hope not Hate, who said the anti-racist group was concerned that people had become radicalized within organizations that were now getting smaller but more extreme as the pandemic subsided and spread. they would focus more on anti-Semites. beliefs.

“There is an unbroken lineage within the British far right dating back to the 1920s and 1930s, which is explored in this exhibition. Somehow those prejudices and hatreds have remained unchanged, but what has evolved is the way they are distributed, and that is the Internet, “he said.

“Electorally, the far right has collapsed since 2010 and now there is a very divided scene across the country, but much of their politics has normalized and is part of the mainstream.”

The exhibition, This Fascist Life: Radical Right-wing Movements in Interwar Europe, is based on elements of the library’s own files and Searchlight files at the University of Northampton.


www.theguardian.com

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