Last weekend I read a rather extraordinary article in the Weekend Australian. It was an edited version of another article from the Jewish Quarterly, called Viral Prejudice and the Jews and written by one Simon Schama. A taste of its dubious pleasures:
Likewise, vaccines could be seen as an instrument of alien invasiveness, a mass poisoning purporting to be a salutary prophylactic. It is predictable, then, to find those arch-cosmopolitan people, the Jews, featuring in the suspicions and conspiracy theories that hold the virus itself and vaccination programs as insidious.
Not all anti-vaxxers are anti-Semites, but the latest wave of fanatical populism engendered by a reaction against lockdowns and curfews includes anti-Semitic illiberalism in its repertoire. The demonisation of Jews as, simultaneously, adepts of esoteric medical knowledge and vectors of disease goes back to the earliest expressions of Judeophobia.
But suspicion of Jewish doctors and the clinical science of their vocation, coupled with a conviction that there are times when scientific knowledge should submit to some larger imperative — political or religious — is not a monopoly of non-Jews.
The article rebounds with sneering contempt for any objections to the prevailing orthodoxy surrounding the Covid virus. Such objections are labeled under crazy people who believe in conspiracy theories, anti-Semitism, or simply both.