Jewish life around the world is under attack once again by “classic traditional anti-Semitism,” according to a report by an Israeli university released Wednesday.
While acts of violent anti-Semitism dropped by 9 percent between 2016 and 2017, other incidents such as abuse and harassment are on the rise and have led to a “certain corrosion of Jewish life.” The study blames the surge on “the constant rise of the extreme right, a heated anti-Zionist discourse in the left, accompanied by harsh anti-Semitic expressions, and radical Islamism.”
In its latest annual, global assessment of anti-Semitic incidents, the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University concludes that “Europe’s largest Jewish communities are experiencing a normalization and mainstreaming of anti-Semitism not seen since the Second World War.”
“There has been an increase in open, unashamed and explicit hatred directed against Jews. The Jew as exploiter, the Jew as killer, the Jew as banker. It is like we have regressed 100 years,” European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor was quoted as saying in a statement.
While improved security measures may explain the drop in anti-Semitic violence, the report argues that Jewish communities are in fact experiencing an unprecedented “feeling of distress.” Stepped-up security may have stopped attacks, they write, but it has also highlighted the threats that have made those efforts necessary in the first place.
The report connects separate incidents, arguing that they are part of a broader trend that will likely continue in 2018. “The same pattern has continued this year,” the authors write in their assessment.
In recent weeks, thousands marched in London against what they perceive to be blatant anti-Semitism in Britain’s mainstream Labour Party. In France, the Paris prosecutor’s office is investigating whether anti-Semitism was a motivation for the killing of an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor last week. There has also been a string of anti-Semitic incidents in German schools in recent weeks.