An Israeli report conducted by the Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry has found an alarming 30% rise in anti-Semitic incidents worldwide in 2012 compared to 2011.
These acts include vandalism and direct threats on Jewish lives. Numbering 686 in 2012, they followed two years of general decline in such incidents.
Among the countries listed, France has the dubious honor of first place with 200 anti-Semitic acts registered. The United States saw 99 acts, Britain 84, Canada 74 and Australia three.
The report, published by Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry, in cooperation with the European Jewish Congress, cited three factors to explain the rise: First, the general increase in violent activity in France following the Toulouse terror attack, which made 2012 the most violent year since 2004.
The rise of the radical Right in many European countries, most apparent in Greece, Hungary and Ukraine, where parties with a distinct anti-Semitic line have started vying for power, has also been listed as a boosting factor.
In Hungary, parallel to more outspoken remarks against Jews and Israel, violence and vandalism against Jewish targets have seen a rapid increase.
Poland, as well, registered a rise in vandalism incidents, mostly aimed against Jewish cemeteries and Holocaust memorials.
The report listed Operation Pillar of Defense as a contributing factor, claiming a correlation between the operation’s end in November and an increase in anti-Semitic activities worldwide.
Though responses to the operation were more moderate than to Operation Cast Lead, conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic rhetoric spread through the Arab media, albeit only for a short while.
The incidents registered in 2012 include 273 attacks against Jews, some of them student and teens, which make 40% of all incidents. Some 50 violent incidents involved weapons of some sort.
In addition, more than 100 synagogues were attacked, 59 community structures, including schools, were defaced, 89 cemeteries and monuments desecrated and 163 private properties vandalized.
Moshe Kantor, the president of the European Jewish Congress, called for strong action by the European Union, charging that governments — particularly Hungary —were not doing enough to curb these parties’ activities and protect minorities.
“Neo-Nazis have been once again legalized in Europe, they are openly sitting in parliaments,” said Moshe Kantor, the president of the European Jewish Congress.
Golden Dawn swept into Greece’s parliament for the first time in June on an anti-immigrant platform. The party rejects the neo-Nazi label but is fond of Nazi literature and references. In Hungary, a Jobbik lawmaker has called for Jews to be screened as potential security risks. The leader of Ukraine’s Svoboda denies his party is anti-Semitic but has repeatedly used derogatory terms to refer to Jews.
Scapegoating the Jews in Europe predates the Crusades so it is not surprising that extremist parties would revive the tradition. And it should come as no surprise that France — liberal, tolerant, diversity-conscious France — should lead the world in violence against Jews. Not only has Muslim immigration made speaking out against anti-Semitism politically risky, violence against Jews perpetrated by Muslims is rarely identified. The ethnic backgrounds of the victim and the attacker are usually left out of press reports on incidents.
The rise in anti-Semitic violence follows 2 years of decline. You can be sure that if Israel and Iran comes to blows, attacks on Jews will increase again as Israel will probably be blamed for any bad effects that results from an Iran-Israel war.