Even As We Commemorate the Holocaust, Anti-Semitism Spikes Worldwide

PM Netanyahu (2R) during the weekly cabinet meeting. (Photo: Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)

PM Netanyahu (2R) during the weekly cabinet meeting. (Photo: Marc Israel Sellem/POOL)

As the world marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day, anti-Semitism remains an existing – and growing – phenomenon.  

Israel’s cabinet marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day and Struggle Against Anti-Semitism Day during its weekly meeting on Sunday.

Speakers discussed the current state of affairs with regard to international anti-Semitism, including the upsurge of Islamic anti-Semitism, the rising number of violent incidents against Jews and the increase in perceived threats among world Jewish communities.

Emphasis was put on Holocaust education and actions taken by the various represented institutions to instill Holocaust awareness in Israel and around the world, and especially among government officials in countries marked by anti-Semitism.

Speakers also stressed the need to strengthen links with the Jewish Diaspora and to boost their personal security. They discussed preparations to accommodate increased aliyah (immigration to Israel), especially in the wake of the recent wave of anti-Semitic terror in France

Prime Minister Netanyahu summarized the meeting by stating that “in light of the waves of anti-Semitism flooding the countries in which Jews live around the world, we must prepare to absorb large-scale immigration to Israel.”

The government is working to remove restrictions and to ease the absorption process, he said.

‘Alarming’ Rise in Anti-Semitic Attacks

The Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism (CFCA), an Israeli-based forum that monitors anti-Semitic activity around the world and coordinates the struggle against this phenomenon with various government bodies and Jewish organizations, published a report on trends in global anti-Semitism during 2014.

The report shows that 2014 was marked by an alarming rise in anti-Semitic incidents, acts of terrorism and attempted attacks against Jewish targets, perpetrated primarily by Islamic terrorists or the radical right.

Anti-Semitic riot in Paris in July 2014. (Photo: http://nocompulsion.com)

Anti-Semitic riot in Paris in July 2014. (Photo: http://nocompulsion.com)

In the previous year, there was a rise in street harassment and verbal and physical violence against Jews – a phenomenon which increased mainly in Western Europe, in proximity to synagogues and Jewish schools.

The report cited a 400-percent increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents recorded in July-August 2014. The report attributes some of the increase to Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.

The campaign for delegitimization and demonization of Israel is a major threat against Jewish communities and the State of Israel, the report warns. In this context, the increasing anti-Israel activity on campuses across the US is notable.

The report records a record-high number of demonstrations with anti-Semitic components on an international scale.

Online Hate and Conspiracy Theories Abound

The extreme right continues to be a major factor in anti-Semitic activity, but in most violent cases in which the perpetrators were identified, they were of Arab and/or Muslim origin, the report says.

The trend of online hate speech and classic anti-Semitism on websites, social media and smartphone applications continues. Meanwhile, conspiracy theories, the most popular of which is The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, remain popular on social networks and websites.

Since the available data are largely dependent on both the willingness and the ability of victims to describe their experiences, the number of incidents is likely larger than that presented in the report. “Data presented in this report represent the tip of the iceberg and constitute an indicator. We consistently work to improve the quality of the image that can be presented about this topic,” the report states.

New Wave of Muslim Anti-Semitism

The new wave of anti-Semitism in Europe is fundamentally different from previous trends, the report shows. “The source of the new anti-Semitism is not only the characteristic neo-Nazi manifestations; the truth is that much of the anti-Jewish spirit in Europe originates from Europeans of Muslim origin…. the rise of Muslim anti-Semitism is the one responsible for the fresh change in tone of hatred over the world.”

“Until recently, anti-Semitism was largely half-hidden and anonymous. Today, anti-Semitism is neither hidden nor anonymous. Today, anti-Semites can lift their heads openly and sell their wares in the streets.”