(Wednesday, May 4, 2016) – Today, the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University, in cooperation with the European Jewish Congress, released its Annual Report on Anti-Semitism for 2015 during a press conference held at the university.
Dr. Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress, commented on the findings saying that while there had been a substantial decrease in violent attacks against Jews, there had been a significant rise in “Institutional anti-Semitism.”
“2015 was a difficult year for Europe in general and for the Jewish community in particular,” Dr. Kantor said. “The year began and ended in a sea of blood and terror, with the massacres at the Charlie Hebdo offices and the Hyper Cacher in Paris during January and the slaughter of 130 people in Paris during November.”
“However, the number of violent anti-Semitic incidents worldwide decreased quite dramatically during 2015, especially after the first months of the year, in comparison to 2014.”
During 2015, 410 violent cases were recorded, compared to 766 in 2014, a decrease of approximately 46%.
Dr. Kantor said that among the reasons for the decrease was he massive amount of security around Jewish institutions after the January attacks in Paris. This was proven by the fact that around Jewish sites like cemeteries and memorials which are less well-guarded there was no reduction in anti-Semitic incidents, and in countries in Central Europe and Scandinavia where there was little increase in security the number of incidents did not markedly decrease.
“Yet while violent anti-Semitic incidents have gone down, the anti-Semitic attacks and slander against the Jewish People as a whole remains at the same level and perhaps higher,” Dr. Kantor said reflecting on recent events, especially surrounding the British Labour Party and the National Union of Students. “These are very worrying developments in major institutions like mainstream political parties, student unions and university campuses, creating an environment of institutional anti-Semitism.”
“The recent events in the British Labour Party and the UK National Union of Students demonstrates that the Jews are once again targeted, this time by so-called progressive forces, when it actually they uphold the most ancient and regressive of views and policies. I have long argued that the political spectrum is far more cyclical than we think and more and more elements of the far-Left have a lot in common with the far-Right, fascism and intolerance, especially regarding the Jews.”
As a way to combat these forms of “Institutional anti-Semitism”, Dr. Kantor suggested the need to create a definition of anti-Semitism that will be known to all and used by the legal and law enforcement agencies.
“Today we have an absurd situation where what constitutes anti-Semitism is defined by the anti-Semites,” Dr. Kantor said. “Before combating anything the challenge first has to be defined. We will never be able to truly fight back against anti-Semites and significantly lower the levels of this newer insidious form of anti-Semitism until we define it.”