On the eve of Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, experts in the field of antisemitism presented data demonstrating an increase of over 100% in antisemitic attacks and events, with a special emphasis on the orchestrated and concerted attempt to delegitimize the Jewish People and Jewish State in Europe.
The European Jewish Congress and The Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism at Tel Aviv University jointly released new survey findings regarding the state of antisemitism worldwide.
According to the survey, 2009 was the worst since monitoring of antisemitic manifestations began two decades ago, in terms of both major antisemitic violence and the hostile atmosphere. These were generated worldwide by the mass demonstrations and verbal and visual expressions against Israel and the Jews. The worst offenders appeared in Western Europe, particularly in the UK and France, followed by Canada.
The survey also found a disproportionate and pre-planned onslaught of radical activists from the left, the right and from among Muslim immigrant communities against Jews and against Israel as a Jewish state, using antisemitism and the Holocaust as political tools.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress, the umbrella organization for Jewish communities in Europe noted that “When it comes to the Jews or the Jewish State both extremes are almost mirror images in their expressions of hate and their goals to eliminate the Jewish presence and influence,” Kantor said. “Even more astonishingly, some of these organizations, who oppose each other on all other issues, are actually coordinating on the one issue that they can unite on – hatred of Jews and Israel.”
Although the extreme-right remains a significant force in perpetrating antisemitic attacks, during 2009 most violent cases, especially in Western Europe, where identification was compiled, were determined to have been carried out by individuals of Arab or Muslim background.
Kantor also enunciated ways to combat the attacks by groups or organizations that are succeeding in politically mainstreaming their message. This is leading to Jews feeling increasingly unsure of their place in certain cities in Europe, like Malmo, Sweden, where Jews are increasingly leaving in large numbers.
“European leaders need to show greater leadership, education needs to be a priority and law enforcement agencies need to protect the subjects of aggression rather than defending the rights of the aggressors”, Kantor suggested as a means of combating the problems. “One thing should be clear, and the EJC is constantly fighting for it, there is a legitimate right to express dissenting views, but this is not absolute and should not be extended when it tramples the basic freedom of self security and the right to life.”