The past year has seen a marked rise of anti-Semitism, increasing over 100 percent throughout the world, the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism of Tel-Aviv University outlined on Sunday, on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day.
According to the institute, violent anti-Semitic attacks, ranging from vandalism and arson against Jewish targets to beatings of Jews, increased in 2009 by a startling percentage. The report underlined the severe increase in anti-Semitic attacks, specifying that 2009 displayed the highest amount of attacks recorded in over 20 years.
The document gathered that in 2009 alone 1,129 anti-Semitic attacks were reported, compared to the 559 that were documented in 2008. Institute head Prof. Dina Porat said in a briefing before the data was publicized that the study tracked only instances of physical violence against Jewish targets. “Verbal violence is violence, of course, but we don’t count it. Violence we regard as physical, and here we have clear indications.”
The report illustrated that that this year was particularly charged due to international reactions to Operation Cast Lead, which resulted in anti-Jewish demonstrations around the world.
Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress – which sponsored the report – said that the rise of anti-Semitic sentiment in Western Europe can be blamed on forces outside the region.
“This new phenomenon is financed and organized by pro-Islamic, pro-terrorist organizations and states,” Kantor said.
According to the document, the highest increase in anti-Semitic activity in 2009 occurred in Britain, where 374 attacks were reported compared to 2008’s 112 incidents. In France 195 violent attacks were reported in 2009, while only 50 were documented in 2008. In Canada 138 anti-Semitic assaults were reported in 2009 compared to the 13 that were cited in 2008, and the US documented 116 this year in contrast to 2008’s 98.
In comparison to the majority of the countries in the report, Germany displayed only a moderate increase in anti-Semitic activities, and a decrease in actual violent attacks against the Jews. Despite the seeming decrease in hate crimes, the German Jewish community expressed feelings of danger and threat.