A new subculture prone to conspiracy theories is generating an increasing number of antisemitic incidents
The number of registered antisemitic incidents rose again in 2022, both online and in the real world. Reasons behind the online increase are to be found mainly in a new subculture that is hostile to society and state institutions. A subculture with an affinity to conspiracy theories has formed in Switzerland since the beginning of the corona pandemic three years ago, and is responsible for a majority of the online antisemitic incidents. Surveys conducted for the Report on Antisemitism by the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities SIG and the GRA Foundation against Racism and Antisemitism show that this subculture, with its Telegram groups, is currently the source of around 75 percent of all online incidents. It is therefore the main factor behind the increase in antisemitic incidents registered in 2022 in the German, Italian and Romansh language areas of Switzerland.
Numbers and categories for 2022
The number of registered antisemitic incidents in the real world, excluding the online sphere, rose again in comparison to the year before, from 53 to 57. For the first time since 2018, a physical assault (+1) was reported to the SIG. Incidents of verbal abuse (16) remained at the same level as 2021. Public antisemitic comments (6, -1), offensive graffiti (9, +2) and sent items (26, +3) recorded only slight changes. There was one public antisemitic act (-2) and one antisemitic poster (+1). No damage to property was registered in 2022. Online, the number of antisemitic incidents continued to rise, with 853 registered incidents (2021: 806) representing a roughly 6 percent increase. The increase was, however, less steep than in 2021 (+66 percent). Overall, taking the real-world and online categories together, there were 910 reported incidents (2021: 859). A partly new development can be seen in the triggers that, directly or indirectly, led to antisemitic incidents in the year under review, with the main ones identified as “Corona” and “War in Ukraine”. As a rule, the incidents resulting from these triggers can be categorised under “General antisemitism” and “Antisemitic conspiracy theories”. The share of contemporary antisemitic conspiracy theories among the online incidents of 2022 rose from 51 to 57 percent. This fact can be clearly attribuited to the above mentioned subculture, with Telegram as its preferred channel of communication.