A new report adds to already-existing evidence indicating that Europe and North America are becoming increasingly hostile to Jews and anti-Semitism is on the rise.
The year 2014 was one of the worst years in the last decade with regards to Anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish activity, second only to 2009, the Antisemitism Worldwide 2014 Annual Report, published by Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry and the European Jewish Congress (EJC), shows.
The report, released on Wednesday on the occasion of Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, recorded 766 anti-Semitic incidents perpetrated with or without weapons, including arson, vandalism and direct threats against Jewish persons or institutions, mostly in Western Europe. Compared with the 554 recorded anti-Semitic incidents in 2013, this consists of a sharp 38-percent increase.
The report ties the increase in Jew hatred to the IDF’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza last summer to uproot Hamas terror and to the “general climate of hatred and violence” offset by the advent of the Islamic State (ISIS) terror organization.
“Troubling and even alarming reports kept coming in from many countries, especially from Western Europe and North America, monitoring hundreds and sometimes over a thousand anti-Semitic manifestations and incidents of various types per country,” the report states.
Jewish Future in Europe?
As a result of this increasing menace, many Jewish communities feel they have no future in Europe.
“The overall feeling among many Jewish people is one of living in an intensifying anti-Jewish environment that has become not only insulting and threatening, but outright dangerous, and that they are facing an explosion of hatred towards them as individuals, their communities and Israel as a Jewish state,” the report continues.
Comparisons to the pre-Holocaust 1930s are rampant. “Many streets in our European cities have become hunting grounds for Jews, and some Jews are now forced to avoid community institutions and synagogues as a result,” says EJC President Dr. Moshe Kantor. “Some are choosing to leave the continent, many are afraid to walk the streets, and even more are retreating behind high walls and barbed wire. This has become the new reality of Jewish life in Europe.”
There was a sharp rise in violent incidents in the UK (141 compared to 95), in Australia ( 30 compared to 11), Germany (76 compared to 36, more than double), Austria (9 compared to 4), Italy (23 compared to 12, again more than double), Sweden (17 compared to 3), Belgium (30 compared to 11) and South Africa (14 compared to 1).
The increase in eastern Europe was smaller: In the Ukraine (28 compared to 23), Hungary (15 compared to 14), and a slight decrease in Russia and Romania.
The number of manifestations of anti-Semitism in their various forms, including verbal and visual, has risen significantly. Overall cases in France rose from 423 to 851. Threats, for instance, were doubled, with 610 compared to 31. In Australia, the results were 312 as opposed to 231, and in Germany, 1076 compared to 788. In Belgium, there was a rise of 60%; in Austria, the numbers doubled, from 137 to 255. In the UK, 1168 incidents – the highest annual total ever – were registered across the country, more than twice the 535 incidents in 2013.
The categorization of violent activities reflects a serious situation: The number of attacks on Jews and on their property and institutions with weapons, which amounted to 68 cases, more than doubled in comparison to 2013, in addition to 101 cases of weaponless violence.
The number of arson cases more than tripled in comparison to the previous year, and there were 412 incidents of vandalism.
More than 306 Jews were targets of attacks, an increase of no less than 66% in comparison to 2013; the 114 attacks of synagogues marked an increase of 70%; and as many as 57 community centers and schools, 118 cemeteries and memorial sites as well as 171 private properties were targeted.
The report emphasizes that the list is incomplete, as many incidents go unreported and undocumented.
‘Manifestations of anti-Semitism are no longer random experiences, but seem to have become almost daily phenomena, seen and felt on every sphere of life, from politics and economy to popular culture and education,” the report says.