coronavirus-doctor-hasidic-hydroxychloroquine by the Forward

Hasidic doctor spouts conspiracy theories, anti-vaccine sentiment in video

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The Hasidic doctor behind an unsubstantiated treatment for coronavirus espoused anti-vaccine and conspiracist views in a video circulating on WhatsApp among Haredi, or Ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, the man behind a treatment regimen involving the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine adopted by President Donald Trump, said in an undated interview with an Israeli rabbinical leader that people like George Soros and Bill Gates are involved in a “war against God” designed to “maintain global fear” as a part of an effort to “reorganize the social structure and fabric of the world.”

“There are properties in this vaccine which may inhibit fertility for young girls,” Zelenko said, without evidence, to Rabbi Amnon Yitzhak. “Also, there’s small particles called nanoparticles in this vaccine that may have the ability to track someone. In other words, with the increasing satellite networks, it may be very possible to have a GPS inside of every person.”

There is no evidence to suggest that vaccine manufacturers will attempt to track patients’ locations, and the coronavirus vaccine does not cause infertility.

Zelenko has indicated he has personal conversations with Trump, and attended the rally in Washington, D.C. last week that turned into an insurrection at the Capitol.

Zelenko said during the interview that the conspiracy “may go back to even Carnegie; it may go back to Vanderbilt.”

Yitzhak, the rabbi who interviewed Zelenko, has made a number of unsubstantiated claims and predictions over the course of his career, including one about an impending global conflict in 2014 that was supposed to wipe out non-Jews.

Zelenko’s conspiracy theory about vaccines is just one spreading among a population especially prone to disinformation after last week’s Capitol siege. In a Haredi WhatsApp channel on Monday, users traded tips about switching messaging applications and wrapping phones in aluminum foil to avoid shutdowns and surveillance, and selling stocks in preparation for civil unrest.

Author

Molly Boigon

Molly Boigon

Molly Boigon is an investigative reporter at the Forward. Contact her at boigon@forward.com or follow her on Twitter @MollyBoigon.

Dr. Zelenko spouts anti-vaccine conspiracy theories

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