New Year, Same Old Rhetoric
The Telegram channels of well-known Qanon personalities who are vehemently anti-vaccination started 2022 in much of the same way they have operated since the emergence of the movement: By Hating the Jews.
Barely an hour had gone by in the new year before a photograph of an anti-vaccine poster was posted on Telegram with no explanation. This allowed the channel followers to begin “filling in the blanks” on their own. This is a popular technique among certain figures – post something without background information or explanation, and then let the mass of followers apply their own philosophies to the post. This is, in its simplest form, exactly what the Q figure did over the course of their “Q drops” on 4chan and then on 8chan/8kun.
By not explaining the post (which was also pinned within the chat to ensure it remained available) followers were allowed to believe that the organization mentioned in the post was a real thing and were allowed to believe that they, as anti-vaccination activists, were being targeted by nefarious actors. Although several channel members asked if this “is real” and some wanted more information, the channel administrator offered no further information, intentionally letting the disinformation chain operate as planned.
Since virtually everyone involved in these Qanon and Qanon-adjacent groups are utterly incapable of performing any type of reliable research, regardless of their constant admonitions to “do your own research,” I took it upon myself to explain it for them.
A phone number, redacted in the screenshots, was included on the poster. This phone number belongs to a local bar/restaurant in West Hollywood, CA. Not just any bar/restaurant, however. This particular bar, which I will not name in this article, lists itself on its own website as a “Gay Bar.”
I didn’t reach out to this establishment while writing this article. I assume they have received enough harassment thanks to these posters and I didn’t want to further frustrate them by inquiring about the inconvenience they’ve experienced because of them.
Google Lens did not come up with results that included this exact image so finding the origins of this story required some good old-fashioned Google-Fu. An article was found on ClevelandJewishNews.com which then led to the same article originally posted on JNS.org. Through searching for textual matches, I found the original story, which was posted on NBCLosAngeles.com on December 21,2021. The poster can be seen in the video report that accompanies the brief article.
At least two posters, both including the AV letters fashioned into a Star of David, were produced and distributed in the Jewish neighborhood, one being posted just outside of Cedars-Sinai Hospital.
Also in the video report, we find a flyer that was distributed in a neighborhood in Beverly Hills, CA, including being thrown into the yards of homes.
Although the flyer image doesn’t appear in this particular Telegram channel, a simple search for “Blackrock” in the chat produced 359 posts or comments. Searching for “Vanguard” returned 203 results. There is obviously a connection here between the antisemitic conspiracy theory and the followers of the Telegram channel. This is not to say these followers were responsible for the posters and flyers, but that they certainly support the sentiments expressed in them.
The Anti-Vaxxer posters found in West Hollywood have several implications, none of them good. Here are a few in no particular order.
- Attempting to equate vaccine mandates with the horrors of the holocaust.
- Attempting to tie the Jewish people to the oppression of others.
- Intentional harassment of the LBGTQ community.
- Create distrust between communities.
- And a general, “Let’s blame the Jews” philosophy.
The flyers distributed throughout the community are much more open about their intent and there should be no need to dissect that particular aspect of this issue any further. The premise is the same as it has been for centuries – Blame the Jews.
In fact, antisemitism related to communicable diseases and pandemics is nothing new either. Historical examples can easily be found in literature into the 13th century. Pogroms against the Jews during epidemics, pandemics, and the plague are well documented. I’m sure scholars will have varying opinions on the severity and scope of these incidents but there is no doubt they occurred. Any student of history knows that the Jews have been blamed for just about everything at one time or another. Today will be no different.
The posters are of a high quality. I will not endeavor to unmask their creator simply because of time. Perhaps other researchers who are more familiar with artistic activism and antisemitism can take up that cause. For now, it is sufficient that they be known and that their purpose is exposed. The NBC Los Angeles story claims they attempted to reach out to the artist, which means they are known to journalists in the area, but they do not name them in the report.
I suspected the artist known as Sabo was behind the posters. It appears he outed himself as the creator and placed an explanation on his Facebook page. Although I do not agree with his description of his intent, and his lack of awareness his work would be shared throughout an antisemitic community shows either a lack of insight or is simply an attempt to divert away from a label. I’m including his explanation below. It is all caps because that’s how he writes on Facebook.
IT SEEMS NOT EVERYONE GETS A PIECE I PUT UP LAST WEEK IN LOS ANGELES. PLEASE ALLOW ME TO EXPLAIN MY INTENTIONS IN REGARDS TO THE ART AND IT’S PLACEMENT.
THE THOUGHT THAT UPON VISITING LOS ANGELES I’D BE GETTING ASKED TO SHOW PROOF OF VACCINATION KINDA WEIRDED ME OUT. … SO WHAT YOU’RE TELLING ME IS I CAN’T EAT INSIDE OF A RESTAURANT UNLESS I TAKE AN EXPERIMENTAL VACCINE? I HAVE TO EAT OUTSIDE IN THE COLD, WITH THE DOGS? I HAVE TO ‘SHOW MY PAPERS’ TO THE AUTHORITIES IN ORDER TO BE A WHOLE CITIZEN? SO NOW I’M A SECOND CLASS CITIZEN? SO WHEN EXACTLY WILL I BE FORCED TO WEAR A BADGE TO SHOW THE WORLD “MY STATUS” AS AN UNDESIRABLE? … AND IF THIS IS TO BE THE CASE, I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE FITTING TO FASHION A BADGE THAT ECHOS ONE FROM THE PAST.
NOW I’M NOT AN “ANTI-VAXXER” IF YOU WANT THE JAB, TAKE THE JAB! BUT IT SEEMS THAT’S WHAT I’M BEING CALLED AND IF THAT’S WHAT I’M BEING CALLED THEN I CAN ONLY IMAGINE WHAT THE BADGE I’D BE FORCED TO WEAR WOULD LOOK LIKE, “ANTI-VAXXER.” AS FAR AS THE COVID NAZIS ARE CONCERNED THAT’S WHAT I AM? SO I TOOK THE FIRST LETTER OF EACH WORD, A AND V AND INTERLOCKED THEM. AND YES IT WAS A CONSCIOUS DECISION TO FASHION THE BADGE INTO THE STAR OF DAVID. NOT BECAUSE MY AIM HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH ATTACKING THE JEWISH FAITH, RATHER BECAUSE … AGAIN … IT ECHOED A TIME IN OUR NOT SO DISTANT PAST WHERE SUCH A STAIN (THE BADGE) WAS FORCED UPON THOSE WHO HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO WEAR IT. THIS TO DISTINGUISH US, THE UNCLEAN – FROM THEM, THE MORALLY ELEVATED, SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS. I FELT IT WAS IMPORTANT TO DO THIS BECAUSE IT’S NOT ENOUGH TO SAY, “WE MUST NEVER FORGET.” IT SEEMS OUR MEMORIES ARE STARTING TO SLIP AND HISTORY IS BEGINNING TO RHYME.
IN REGARDS TO THE PLACEMENT,
THE POSTER PLACED JUST OUTSIDE OF THE BABE SALE SYNAGOGUE WAS PLACED THERE MORE BECAUSE IT WAS NEAR CANTERS DELI, NOT THE SYNAGOGUE. HOWEVER HAVING THAT PARTICULAR BUILDING, A SYNAGOGUE, IN THE BACKGROUND DID ADDED TO THE PHOTO. NOTHING NEFARIOUS OR SINISTER WAS INTENDED. CONSIDERING THE POSTER DESIGN, IT MADE MORE SENSE PLACING IT THERE THAN IN FRONT OF A CHUCKY CHEESE. THE POSTER PLACED NEAR CEDAR-SINAI JUST HAPPENED TO BE A COINCIDENCE. I JUST LIKE THAT BOX. I’VE HIT IT NUMEROUS TIMES IN THE PAST AND IT LITERALLY WAS THE LAST POSTER I PUT UP THAT NIGHT. IT’S A “GO TO” BOX FOR ME.TO ME, IF ART IS NOT POLITICAL IT’S WALLPAPER. ART IS MEANT TO SPARK CONVERSATION, TO QUESTION, TO CHALLENGE. I’M SICK AND DAMN TIRED OF WALKING INTO GALLERIES AND SEEING THE SAME OLD SHIT GUTLESS “ARTISTS” PUMP OUT. I CAN WALK INTO TEN GALLERIES AND NOT HAVE ONE MEMORY OR THOUGHT ABOUT ANYTHING I’D SEEN. THAT IS THE STATE OF ART TODAY … NOT IN MY GALLERY.
As for the Telegram channel and the tactic of providing an image without explanation, this is also a common tactic among some. They can display their antisemitism openly while also giving themselves and “out” if they are ever called out for their behavior. They can argue they don’t view it as antisemitic or they can explain that they shared it to bring awareness to the antisemitism itself. Neither of these positions will be valid, however, and their conduct is utterly blatant. They are attempting to fan the flames of antisemitism while pushing their anti-vaccination stance to their followers. They know what they’re doing.