The number of anti-Semitic attacks against Jews has dropped from 686 to 554 last year, according to a survey by Tel Aviv University and the European Jewish Congress.
The highest number of attacks (116) took place in France. Britian saw a rise in attacks with 95 incidents reported, compared with 84 the previous year. The number of attacks also rose in Canada (83), in Germany (36), in Ukraine (23), in Russia (15) and in Hungary (14).
Speaking at a press conference where the annual findings for 2013 were released, President of the European Jewish Congress Dr. Moshe Kantor pointed to the fact that the number and type of violent attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions has worsened in 2013.
“As we see in these findings in addition to results from the EU Fundamental Rights Agency survey released in November, Jews do not feel safe or secure in certain communities in Europe,” Kantor said. “According to that survey, almost half of the Jewish population is afraid of being verbally or physically attacked in a public place because they are Jewish and 25% of Jews will not wear anything that identifies them as Jewish or go near a Jewish institution for fear of an attack.”
“Normative Jewish life in Europe is unsustainable if such huge numbers of European Jews are forced to live in fear and insecurity,” Kantor continued. “European governments must be pressed to address this issue with utmost urgency.”
Dr. Kantor also spoke about how hate and incitement can easily translate into violence.
“It is often easy to ignore such types of anti-Semitism – because there are usually no direct victims, no physical harm, but the influence of such simple acts of hate on masses of young people is a dangerous source of anti-Semitism for the future,” Kantor said. “However, we received a stark lesson two weeks ago in Kansas City that there are many dangerous anti-Semites out there who just need the trigger and the opportunity to transfer their hate speech into violent action.”
“This is why we must always continue to monitor the sources of hate in order that our communities can live in security,” he continued. “We often face the dilemma of whether to ignore such so-called ‘harmless’ acts of hate, usually spread verbally, through hate-speech or through literature. But by truly understanding the dangerous potential of this behavior we dare not ignore it.”