In Andrew Goldberg’s newest documentary, Viral: Antisemitism In Four Mutations, antisemitism is treated as a lurking virus that affects the world. Taking a world view and split into three parts — The Far Right in the USA, Hungary’s perception of the Jews, and The Far Left in the UK — Goldberg’s timely documentary has enough material to fill the runtime of a mini-series. That being said, Goldberg capably explores the pernicious and infectious antisemitic thinking that has plagued the world in a 90-minute lifespan.
A sanctuary, a church, or a synagogue is associated with love, unity, or religion. No hate should ever enter these hallowed grounds, yet, on October 27, 2018, a hate-fueled gunman infiltrated a synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing eleven Jews and leaving six others wounded. That was one of many instances where others anathematized Jews for everything wrong with the world. Viral: Antisemitism In Four Mutations opens with police response audio from the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting. The documentary goes on to interview people who may have survived that devastating day, but the fear they feel and the abiding memories they still relive are unimaginable. In short, antisemitism is a virus, spreading and evolving with the utmost perseverance, and never really receding without putting up a fight.
“…travels around the world, highlighting examples of how antisemitism corrupts everyday people and authority figures…”
The interviewees know that these abhor-driven massacres are not uncommon. To think that there are people who see themselves as superior, and who view themselves as more worthy of living on this planet than others, is gut-wrenching. Goldberg’s effort to shine a light on modern antisemitism is devastatingly necessary and consequential. In his travels around the world, highlighting examples of how antisemitism corrupts everyday people and authority figures (such as politicians and social groups).
Starting in the USA, the film finds that most of the antisemitic undercurrents are flowing in the far-right crowd. Here, Goldberg mentions the instances when Donald Trump made antisemitic slurs. American journalist, political scientist, and CNN host Fareed Zakaria perceives Trump’s MAGA slogan as problematic, predominantly because America was never unabashedly great. There’s gun violence, gender inequality, and outspoken or subtle racism (either way, it’s concerning) blemishing society. America is far from being perfect, as is the entirety of the world. For Jews, they are living in a constant state of fear because the world seems to be adopting dangerous teachings by looking back on spurious stories and conspiracies about Jews that were passed down and then treated as facts.
The variations of antisemitism usually come from the apprehension of a specific group. When a vulnerable soul becomes a product of a hate group, they are taught devilishly vile ideals and beliefs, further perpetuating the lies about Jewish people, to the point of violence. The second act of Viral: Antisemitism In Four Mutations takes viewers to Hungary. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán utilizes antisemitic propaganda to convince the citizens that billionaire and Holocaust survivor, George Soros, plans on populating the country with more than 1 million Muslim refugees every year.
"…taught devilishly vile ideals and beliefs, further perpetuating the lies about Jewish people, to the point of violence."