Antisemitism: (Almost) everyone has their favorite reason

“Oh, the Protestants hate the Catholics,

And the Catholics hate the Protestants,

And the Hindus hate the Moslems,

And everybody hates the Jews.”

(Tom Lehrer, National Brotherhood Week)

Today, something a little different and not entirely related to health: Antisemitism. It’s not entirely divorced from health either, as the bones of my forefathers, scattered from Spain to Poland will testify, but thankfully these days the physical aspects of antisemitism are on a somewhat less grandiose scale than in previous generations. I used Google Trends to see which Jewish conspiracies were searched in different countries. Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to capture an entire topic with a single query, so I couldn’t encompass all the hate around this issue, but here is the volume of queries since 2004 for several antisemitic tropes:

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
Zionist Occupation Government
Holocaust denial
Jewish lobby
Jewish bankers
Jewish Bolshevism
Prevalence of queries for common Jewish conspiracy theories

It’s interesting to see that each conspiracy has its own fan base, though some countries (perhaps owing to Internet penetration and population size) are represented in the maps of more than one conspiracy. It’s also notable that there is little correlation between the size of the Jewish population in a country and the volume of antisemitic searches therein: Pakistan, Norway, etc., have tiny Jewish populations (if any) and are not neighbors of Israel, and yet too many people in those countries have a favorite Jewish conspiracy theory.

How prevalent are those “theories”? It’s difficult to say with confidence. Querying for something doesn’t mean that a person believes in it, only that they are interested in the topic. Google Trends data has a few other drawbacks. Nevertheless, anecdotally, Jewish conspiracy theories seem to have volume (worldwide) of the same order of magnitude as common anti-Muslim theories. However, there are around 100 times as many Muslims as there are Jews.

Is there a lesson here? I don’t know. Perhaps it’s just that antisemitism is too common and that it manifests itself in a variety of ways. Perhaps it’s another demonstration that online activity into all aspects of human behavior, even the less savory ones.