WASHINGTON, DC – Elan Carr, President Donald J. Trump’s special envoy to monitor anti-Semitism in America visited Ocean County in September of 2019 vowed to fight a then growing wave of anti-Semitism, but this week, made his position quite clear, that the U.S. federal government will not tolerate the growing trend of blaming Jews for the spread of COVID-19.
“What we’ve seen in the past two months is really a wave – a tsunami, I might say – of anti-Semitism on the internet focused on the coronavirus. And this is really nothing more than the recycled blood libel of the Middle Ages. Jews were blamed for spreading the Bubonic Plague and the Black Plague in the Middle Ages. And so this is really a hallmark of anti-Semitism that it morphs to adopt whatever current events has and focuses its venom using the vehicle of the day,” Carr said. “We see this also with Israel hatred. Before there was a state of Israel there was hatred of other aspects of Jewish life, then after the founding of the state of Israel then the Jewish state becomes the target. So here, too, now we have a global pandemic, and so there’s a wave of anti-Semitism that bears that flavor and uses that vehicle.”
Carr’s job is to monitor and combat anti-Semitism and he’s spent a lot of time lately watching what is unfolding in New York and New Jersey.
“And so yes, it’s concerning. And we’ve got to fight it. We’ve got to combat it. I’m proud to say that for the first time a special envoy on anti-Semitism has a staff member, a member of my team, an assistant special envoy, is specifically dedicated to combatting internet hate. It’s the first time ever that there has been a member of the special envoy’s team dedicated to it. So we’re taking this very, very seriously and we’re determined to fight it,” Carr continued. “I want to also say, though, that the virus eventually – God willing soon – will be over and done with, but what might be longer lived is the economic dislocation that results from this pandemic. And when one looks at world history, whenever there have been periods of deep economic downturn and economic suffering, Jews have been targeted.”
He said he is especially troubled by groups that operate online and are pushing what he called Jewish coronavirus conspiracies and recognizes the fine line between free speech and hate speech created to rally others in a call to arms against Jewish communities.
“We’ve got to focus on this coronavirus-type conspiracy anti-Semitism, but we also have to be very mindful – and my team is strategically focused on this – that over the long haul, even when the pandemic is over and the restrictions are lifted, that we really have to be very aware and very sensitive to this focus on the Jewish community as the source of blame for economic woes. That really is something very serious,” he said. “And so we are really sort of approaching this with a full-court press and using all the tools at our disposal to confine, contain, and pressure anti-Semitic hate groups, all the while, by the way, while maintaining the First Amendment. We’re not – certainly we would not trespass on the First Amendment. It’s sacrosanct. But when it comes to incitement to violence or harassment or discrimination, that’s not protected speech, and this administration has shown that we will – we’re very serious about taking action against these forms of hatred.”