Media Highlights 46% Anti-Semitism Drop, Forgets 2009 Doubling

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Many media reports highlight the 46% drop in Anti-Semitic incidents around the world last year – downplaying the tremendous rise the year before.

A headline in Globes, for instance, states, “Violent anti-Semitic incidents down 46% in 2010” – and in smaller print notes that 2010 saw the 3rd-highest amount of anti-Semitic incidents in at least 21 years.

A study presented at Tel Aviv University in honor of today’s Holocaust Remembrance Day shows that there were 614 violent anti-Semitic incidents worldwide in 2010, 46% fewer than in 2009, which saw 1,129 – a world record. Therefore, the large drop of 2010 means merely that the frequency of anti-Semitic attacks around the world is still more than in 2008, when there were “only” 558.

The university’s Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism, together with Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry, publishes the annual report.

The United Kingdom, France, and Canada together accounted for 60% of all anti-Semitic incidents worldwide this past year. The attacks in these countries were also notably violent, including many street assaults on people perceived to be Jewish. Attacks on Jewish institutions increased in Latin America, especially in Chile, which has the world’s fourth largest Palestinian Arab community.

The report notes that radical Muslims and leftists are behind unrestrained anti-Israel propaganda, and that street violence against Jews, especially in Western Europe, is generally perpetrated by young Muslims and members of neo-Nazi and other extremist groups.

EJC: Don’t Be Fooled

Reacting to the report, European Jewish Congress (EJC) President Dr. Moshe Kantor said that it essentially showed “many similarities in terms of numbers and types of anti-Semitic attacks as previous years – thus, sadly demonstrating that anti-Semitism has not decreased in a noticeable fashion across the European continent. On the contrary, the reduction is minimal compared to the massive rise that has taken place over the previous two decades.”

Kantor said that one of the worrying trends over the last year was increasing anti-Semitic comments by prominent European officials. “This form of anti-Semitism is made by prominent and respectable officials,” he said, “whose words are heard by millions on TV screens and the radio, in newspapers and books and on the Internet.”

Kantor provided a chronology of examples of “respectable anti-Semitism” from 2010, including German Bundesbank board member Thilo Sarrazin in his book on immigration issues; Karel De Gucht, European Commissioner for Trade, in an interview to a local radio station; Monsignor Cyril Salim Bustros, Greek Melkite Archbishop at a Vatican press conference; and Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus, a Greek Orthodox Church leader, on Greek television.