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Antisemitic Narratives on YouTube and Telegram as Part of Conspiracy Beliefs about COVID-19


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In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, a vocal protest scene emerged in Germany. Comparisons to Nazi-Germany, conspiracy topoi, and antisemitic narratives were its prominent companions – on the streets as well as on social media. One former vegan chef and b-lister became a well-known agitator, culminating in multiple threats to people in public life and blatant, Holocaust-denying antisemitism. This chapter analyzes the development of Attila Hildmann’s conspiracist and antisemitic escalation toward a “superconspiracy” (Barkun) using a mixed-methods approach. This antisemitic escalation begins with conspiracist narratives and a personalized concept of enemy (predominantly Bill Gates) and moves through prevalent conspiracist themes with antisemitic implications to outright promotion of violence. In the process, implicitly antisemitic references are replaced with open antisemitism. The results confirm that video hosting services and the messenger Telegram are not only important for mobilizing protests, but are also an important resource for analyzing antisemitism in its various forms. This work also proves that a combination of a hermeneutical approach and frequency analysis on multiple platforms is useful for analyzing enormous amounts of diverse data, and for contextualizing the characteristics of narrative structures of conspiracy beliefs.




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Link to book (paywalled), Antisemitism on Social Media

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Gunz, Hendrik, Schaller, Isa Antisemitic Narratives on YouTube and Telegram as Part of Conspiracy Beliefs about COVID-19. Antisemitism on Social Media. 2022:  https://archive.jpr.org.uk/object-4036