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Author: Alex

One Does Not “Simply Read Mein Kampf & Become a Nazi”: A Case Study of GhostEzra & QAnon Pathways to Anti-Semitism

Introduction  Anti-Semitic tropes were always present within what Travis View calls QAnon’s “big tent” conspiracy theory. Accusations of financial manipulation are frequently placed on prominent Jewish figures like George Soros and the Rothschild family. The adrenochrome theory –which supposes that the so-called “deep state” harvests the blood of trafficked children to obtain adrenochrome in order to sustain a youthful appearance—is highly reflective of the age-old medieval blood libel conspiracy theory accusing secretive Jewish groups of harvesting blood from Christian children (Lavin, 2020). Despite these examples, popular QAnon influencers and the conspiracy theories they peddled largely avoided overt anti-Semitism. Following the events of January 6th, 2021, in which a mob of violent protesters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to stop the certification of the 2020 presidential election, QAnon influencers were largely de-platformed from popular social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Attempting to salvage their following, these figures migrated to more obscure, less-regulated platforms like Gab, Parler, and especially Telegram (Argentino et al, 2021). One such influencer –GhostEzra– sustained only a modest following on Twitter, but quickly grew his Telegram following to the largest among his fellow influencers; currently boasting over 330,000 subscribers. In mid-May of 2021,…

QAnon: Alternative (Fakten) für Deutschland

Q’s Early Attempts to Cross Borders QAnon has claimed fame as a primarily American-based movement; this makes sense given that its most widely accepted myth posits (former) President Trump as a hero selected by the U.S. military to vanquish an evil, Satan-worshipping, child-trafficking cabal of Democratic politicians and liberal Hollywood figures. However, QAnon eventually developed a formidable international presence due in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic, and its conspiracy narratives adapted to local contexts in over 70 countries (Rauhala & Morris, 2020). For example, QAnon gained significant footholds in Germany, as German-language Telegram channels boast hundreds of thousands of followers, Q flags appear at covid-19 measure protests, and a youth chapter of the far-right political party “Alternative für Deutschland” (Alternative for Germany) sported Q’s most common catchphrase: WWG1WGA (Where We Go One, We Go All) on their Facebook page (Bennhold, 2020). But what if Q had directly approached foreign political contexts at the onset of the movement? What if Q drops referenced and remarked on events in other countries, as opposed to remaining a U.S.-centric conspiracy theory? To adherents of QAnon, an international dimension is not only celebrated but likely expected. After all, Joe M’s video “Q: The Plan…