EU Counter-terrorism Coordinator warns over “new” terrorism rooted in conspiracy theories

The European Union’s Counter-terrorism Coordinator has expressed concern about the potential rise of “new forms of terrorism, rooted in conspiracy theories and technophobia”.

Gilles de Kerchove also warned of the rise of hate speech and violence towards Jews during the coronavirus pandemic, and claimed that a “strong strain” of antisemitism on the far left was linked to “anti-Zionism and an anti-Netanyahu” sentiment.

Speaking to the Combatting Terrorism Centre, Mr de Kerchove pointed to the burning of 5G masts as an example of “small-scale acts of violence caused by a belief in conspiracy theories”.

“Disinformation is not necessarily rooted in political ideologies, although it is often amplified by right-wing and left-wing extremists,” the EU counter-terror chief commented.

Violent right-wing extremists had been “particularly shrewd” at exploiting the pandemic according to Mr de Kerchove, who reported that “extremist hate speech and incitement to violence on the internet has increased dramatically since the start of the coronavirus crisis.

“Violence against minorities—particularly Jews—has increased during the pandemic,” he said. “We need to tackle these problems and counter antisemitic hate speech and violence.”

He warned of a risk of increased terrorist attacks in the future, motivated by coronavirus-related hate speech: “We must prevent the current health and economic crisis from becoming a security crisis as well.”

Mr de Kerchove, who has held his position since 2007, also pointed to a “strong strain of antisemitism on the far left” fuelled by a dislike for Israel and the Israeli government.

related

Subscribe to EJC newsletter

Get EJC's bi-weekly newsletter, including the latest statements and news from the European Jewish communities, direct to your inbox.

European Jewish Congress will use the information you provide on this form to contact you. We will treat your information with respect and will not share it with others. By clicking Subscribe, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

Statements

EJC President Kantor applauds overdue decision by Facebook to ban Holocaust denial

EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor has welcomed the decision by Facebook to ban Holocaust denial or distortion, and to better inform the public about the Holocaust.

EJC President Kantor welcomes the branding of Golden Dawn as a criminal organization

EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor has welcomed the landmark decision by a Greek court to brand the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn a criminal organization and declared that senior members of the party were guilty of running a criminal organization.

EJC condemns attack on Hamburg synagogue

The European Jewish Congress strongly condemns an antisemitic attack that wounded one outside a synagogue in Hamburg.

EJC calls on Scandinavian countries to follow Finland’s example and ban the antisemitic Nordic Resistance Movement

The EJC calls on the governments of Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden to follow the recent example of Finland and ban the Neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement.