A report on anti-Semitic trends in 2012 that was prepared by the Ministry of Information and Diaspora indicates that in the past year there has been “an alarming rise in the number of terrorist attacks and attempted attacks against Jewish targets and an escalation in violent incidents against Jews throughout the world.”
The report will be presented by Information and Diaspora Minister Yuli Edelstein during Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting.
The report finds that in the past year there has been a rise in the number of terrorist acts and attempted attacks against Jewish targets, primarily by groups which identify with radical Islam and the extreme right. At the same time, the report found, there has also been an increase in the number of street attacks and incidents of verbal and physical violence against Jews, in Europe as well as in the U.S., Canada and Australia.
The report includes an extensive review of the different anti-Semitic incidents that have taken place around the world, as well as of expressions of hatred and racism on the internet and the trends in anti-Semitic discourse in the public and political spheres. The report, which is being presented for the fourth year in a row, is based on data from the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at the Tel Aviv University, headed by Prof. Dina Porat.
This year’s report opens with a discussion of the terror attack at the Otzar HaTorah Jewish school in Toulouse, France, where four Jews were murdered last March.
“The attack on the school in Toulouse was a painful reminder of the danger of terrorism that is hovering over Jewish communities, both on the part of radical Islam and the extreme right,” states the report, which indicates that the attack in Toulouse provoked Islamic elements to increase their activities against Jewish targets. Data published in late October found that the number of anti-Semitic incidents that occurred in France since the beginning of 2012 was higher by 45% compared to the same period last year.
The report states that a number of serious incidents, such as desecrations of memorials, cemeteries and property associated with Jewish communities in Russia, Venezuela, Belgium, Austria and many other countries were recorded in 2012. In fact, states the report, “In Germany a Jewish cemetery is vandalized almost every week.”
In eastern Europe, according to the report, an increase was recorded in violent activities of groups identified with the extreme right. A specific mention is made of Hungary where, the report says, the recent anti-Semitic statements made by members of the far right Jobbik party are causing concern that these statements will be translated into violence against Jews.
The report also warns against the rise to power of extremists in Greece and the Ukraine, and states that “the year 2012 was marked by the strengthening of political parties with anti-Semitic attitudes, which among other things combined anti-Semitic propaganda and incitement against Jews as part of internal politics.”
Regarding anti-Semitism in the Arab and Muslim world, the report states that no significant change was recorded last year and that, contrary to all expectations, there were fewer reactions to Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense than there were during operation Cast Lead in December of 2008. This, according to the report, is “probably due to the fact that the operation lasted only a few days, the number of victims on the Palestinian side was relatively low, and public opinion in the Arab world was directed to problems in Syria and Egypt.”
According to Minister Edelstein, the data in the report show that there is no connection between the policy of the Israeli government and anti-Semitism in the world.
“An analysis of the report clearly shows that the thesis that one policy or another of the State Israel is an incentive to an increase or decrease in the number of anti-Semitic incidents is fundamentally unrealistic,” he said. “One can see that during Operation Pillar of Defense, and immediately afterwards, there was no sharp rise in anti-Semitic incidents. There is no doubt that behind the phenomena of anti-Semitism are also policies of anti-Zionism and de-legitimization of the State of Israel, but no policy of the State of Israel will affect or reduce these effects of racial hatred toward Jews.”
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