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Number of antisemitic incidents levels out, for first time in decade

The Jerusalem Post 24/1/2023 By ZVIKA KLEIN

 A demonstrator holds a sign that reads © (photo credit: REUTERS/BENOIT TESSIER) A demonstrator holds a sign that reads

For the first time in a decade, the number of antisemitic incidents in the world has leveled out and not increased, yet there are still ten incidents reported a day - according to the annual report on antisemitism by the World Zionist Organization (WZO).

The report, which is given to the Israeli government annually before the commemoration events of International Holocaust Day, was developed by WZO’s Department for Combating Antisemitism, led by Raheli Baratz-Rix. It is based on local and international reports, research institutes, local police agencies and Jewish communities, making it possible to present the current state of antisemitism compared to previous years.

The WZO report shows that the slowdown comes after a constant increase in reporting in the last decade. In addition, although ten antisemitic incidents are reported daily worldwide, many incidents are still not officially reported. It also said that there has been a constant increase in the intensity of antisemitism in the international media, as opposed to previous years.

The report also claims that Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement organizations are a significant factor in spreading antisemitism around the world.

During 2022, antisemitic incidents originating from Europe and North America occupied a significant amount of approximately 46% and 39% respectively, compared to 48% and 33% last year.

Antisemitism in the US

The report mentioned different countries and the levels of antisemitism they have reported. “The US has seen an alarming increase in the phenomenon of antisemitism,” the report said. According to the report, antisemitism in the US “manifests itself in disturbing trends in light of the strengthening of white supremacist organizations, alongside an increase in antisemitic expressions from the American progressive left - alongside the midterm elections for the American Congress, which were a fertile ground for the spread of antisemitism.”

In addition, there has been a significant rise of 61% in the number of cases and violence against Jewish institutions. In addition, a report on the subject shows a 125% increase in the number of hate crimes against Jews in the state of New York. In central cities such as Chicago, New York and Los Angeles there was an increase of about 20% in the first half of 2022.

 antisemitic graffiti on a wall (credit: WIKIMEDIA) © Provided by The Jerusalem Post antisemitic graffiti on a wall (credit: WIKIMEDIA) antisemitic graffiti on a wall (credit: WIKIMEDIA)

Antisemitism in the UK and Europe

THE WZO explained that the election of new UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is “affecting the Jewish communities in Great Britain,” since he is recognized as a supporter of Israel. According to official data, 786 cases of antisemitism were recorded in the first half of the year, which is a 43% decrease compared to the previous year. In the first half of 2021, some 1,371 cases of antisemitism were reported – an all-time record number.

From January through September, 1,555 antisemitic incidents were reported to the German police, which is an average of almost six every day. However, it seems that compared to previous years, there is a significant decrease in the trend of antisemitism, which worsened due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and Operation Guardian of the Walls in Israel during which, in 2021, the number of cases was 2,738.

According to a sample conducted on the subject of antisemitism in Rome high schools, it was found that almost two-thirds (64%) of the students believe that antisemitism exists in Italy, with a quarter saying that their antisemitic values originate from antisemitism, 5% from anti-Zionism and 30% from both factors.

France is known for its high levels of antisemitism: “74% of French Jews were victims of antisemitic acts during their lifetime, which included derogatory comments (68%), threats on social media (28%), verbal threats (20%) and physical violence (20%),” the report said.

“In addition, 37% of the Jews indicated that they felt threatened because of religious affiliation, with 41% of the Jewish respondents admitting that they avoided displaying mezuzot and religious symbols, and about 35% claimed that they avoided wearing any type of clothing identified as Jewish.”

During the last decade, a constant decrease in the number of antisemitic incidents in Russia has been detected – although a study carried out at the beginning of the year makes it seem that antisemitism is still rooted in the country, finding that 13% of respondents do not want to see Jews at all.

“Antisemitism on social media is increasing at an alarming rate and, unfortunately, as history has taught us, it will also lead to physical acts,” said WZO chairman Yaakov Hagoel. “We have raised a clear black flag in view of the increase in incitement on social media and call on the heads of state to raise awareness against antisemitism.”

Baratz-Rix said that “the constant increase in antisemitism trends in the last decade is a matter of concern, while even the mentioned reduction in the number of incidents this year is not a sigh of relief.” Hagoel has asked for a “joint integration of the bodies that have been dealing with consciousness and advocacy, in order to provide a broad response to this disturbing trend.” 

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