‘A tsunami of hate’: Antisemitism surged globally in past year, study finds

The ADL documented a total of 7,523 incidents in 2023.

By Pesach Benson, TPS

A report on international antisemitism released ahead of Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day found a staggering surge of hatred and violence targeting Jewish communities around the world, with a sizable spike following Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israeli communities near Gaza.

The annual report — jointly released by Tel Aviv University and the US-based Anti-Defamation League — noted a troubling rise of antisemitic incidents in countries with significant Jewish populations, including the US, France, Britain, Australia, Italy, Brazil and Mexico.

“The year is not 1938, not even 1933. Yet if current trends continue, the curtain will descend on the ability to lead Jewish lives in the West – to wear a Star of David, attend synagogues and community centers, send kids to Jewish schools, frequent a Jewish club on campus, or speak Hebrew,” said Prof. Uriya Shavit, of TAU’s Irwin Cotler Institute for Democracy, Human Rights and Justice.

“With bomb threats against synagogues becoming a daily occurrence, Jewish existence in the West is forced to fortify itself, and the more it does so, the more the sense of security and normalcy is undermined. What the fight against antisemitism needs now is efforts focused on the hubs of poison, and the presentation of measurable and attainable goals. Foremost, the reality in which big companies make big money by spreading big hate has to end,” Shavit said.

The report was based on data compiled from law enforcement authorities, government agencies, Jewish agencies, media reports and fieldwork.

Incidents ranged from physical assaults to acts of vandalism and verbal abuse.

In New York City, home to the largest Jewish population worldwide, law enforcement agencies reported a significant uptick in anti-Jewish hate crimes.

The New York Police Department (NYPD) recorded 325 anti-Jewish hate crimes in 2023, compared to 261 in 2022.

Similarly, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) and Chicago Police Department (CPD) reported increases in antisemitic incidents.

The ADL documented a total of 7,523 incidents in 2023, a sharp rise from 3,697 in 2022, with assaults and vandalism also witnessing alarming increases.

The report highlighted that the increase in antisemitic incidents was not solely attributed to the events of October 7 but was also evident in the first nine months of 2023.

In the United States, for instance, the ADL recorded a rise in incidents from 1,000 in October-December 2022 to 3,976 in the same period in 2023.

France, the UK, and Australia similarly saw upticks in antisemitic incidents prior to October 7.

In France, the number of incidents increased from 436 in 2022 to 1,676 in 2023 (the number of physical assaults increased from 43 to 85); in the UK from 1,662 to 4,103 (physical assaults from 136 to 266); in Argentina from 427 to 598; in Germany from 2,639 to 3,614; in Brazil from 432 to 1,774; in South Africa from 68 to 207; in Mexico from 21 to 78; in the Netherlands from 69 to 154; in Italy from 241 to 454; and in Austria from 719 to 1,147. Australia recorded 622 antisemitic incidents in October and November 2023, in comparison to 79 during the same period in 2022.

The report also traces the proliferation of antisemitic discourses in the Arab world, Turkey, and Iran following October 7, arguing that “any future diplomatic negotiations must prioritize the uprooting of antisemitism from Arab societies.”

“The aftermath of Hamas’s horrific attack on Israel on October 7th was followed by a tsunami of hate against Jewish communities worldwide. Unprecedented levels of antisemitism have surged globally in the streets of London, New York, Paris, Santiago, Johannesburg and beyond,” said ADL CEO and national director Jonathan Greenblatt. “This year’s report is incredibly alarming, with documented unprecedented levels of antisemitism, including in the US, where 2023 saw the highest number of antisemitic incidents in the US ever recorded by ADL.”

At least 1,200 people were killed and 240 Israelis and foreigners were taken hostage in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on October 7. Around 30 of the remaining 133 hostages are believed dead.

Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah) begins Sunday night at sundown.

The date marks the anniversary on the Hebrew calendar of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Ceremonies will commemorate the six million Jews killed in Europe and the nation will observe a minute of silence on Monday morning.

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