update deskReligion

‘Explosion’ of conspiracy theories on social media about ‘tunnels’ at Chabad

“The bad behavior of some extremists at the Chabad in Crown Heights should have been a local news issue at most,” wrote the journalist Yashar Ali.

Chabad-Lubavitch headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y. Photo by Nati Shohat/Flash90.
Chabad-Lubavitch headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y. Photo by Nati Shohat/Flash90.

The account Frum TikTok was one of many to post footage of a riot at a synagogue that is part of the world headquarters of Chabad-Lubavitch. Police were called after “young agitators,” as Chabad put it, damaged the building, to which they had illegally sought access through a wall.

“Update: I’ve decided to delete the entire thread about the Chabad tunnel. I will not allow my account to be used by antisemitic Jew haters to promote their pathetic hatred of religious Jews,” Frum TikTok wrote to some 16,800 followers. “I will continue to inspire and entertain and spread love in the world.”

Antisemitic conspiracy theories “exploded” on social media, as Rolling Stone put it,

 following the news of the violence at 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, N.Y. That included “some well-known far-right personalities suggesting the tunnels were being used for nefarious trafficking purposes, playing into notorious anti-Jewish tropes, or drawing comparisons to tunnels made by the terrorist group Hamas, referring to them as ‘Jewish tunnels’ or ‘Zionist tunnels,’” the magazine reported.

The conspiracy theories circulated widely, including one that invoked medieval blood libels and received 1.2 million views alone on X, per Rolling Stone.

“I’m going to remember who I speak to on here regularly that messaged me to check how I was doing when my office was potentially destabilized and conspiracy theorists made scary threats, and who just laughed about weird Chassidim,” Rabbi Mordechai Lightstone, who directs social media for Chabad.org and is the founder of Tech Tribe, posted on X.

“The bad behavior of some extremists at the Chabad in Crown Heights should have been a local news issue at most,” wrote the journalist Yashar Ali. “Instead, it’s turned into a global antisemitic flood of some of the most dangerous conspiracy theories about Jews dating back to the Middle Ages.”

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war. JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you. The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support? Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Topics
Comments
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates