By virtually every yardstick, antisemitism in the US and Europe is rising and worsening in ways not seen since the 1930s. It comes in the forms of vandalism, social media abuse, assault and murder. Like a virus, it mutates and evolves across cultures, borders and ideologies, making it all but impossible to stop. Filmmaker Andrew Goldberg explores its infectious behavior in his film “Viral: Antisemitism in Four Mutations” as he travels through four countries to speak firsthand with victims, witnesses, anti-Semites and interviewees including Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Fareed Zakaria, George Will and Deborah Lipstadt.
The film examines how some on the American far right have incited such acts as the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA. In Hungary, we see the Prime Minister has launched a massive campaign against Jewish Holocaust survivor and billionaire George Soros that’s reminiscent of Nazi propaganda. Moving to the far left in England, we see members of the traditionally anti-racist Labor party conflating Israel and Jews with anti-Semitic vitriol, causing tremendous pain for the Jewish community. And in France, the film illuminates the seemingly endless wave of violence against Jews by Islamists and radicals.
The increasing bigotry, and at times violence, within each of these four countries paints a terrifying portrait of how global hatred disseminates and harms. As activist Maajid Nawaz says in the film, “if we don’t draw a red line in the sand when it comes to antisemitism, Muslims will be next and everyone else who is deemed a minority will be next.”