Anti-Semitism Sweeps Europe in Wake of Gaza Operation
A second front to the conflict in the Gaza Strip has opened up in Europe, where a wave of reprisal attacks against Jewish targets is stoking fears of a wider resurgence of anti-Semitism on the continent. Far from simply being a spate of isolated incidents, as many Europeans claim, anti-Semitic violence is becoming more commonplace in every country in Europe. At the same time, anti-Israel demonstrations, which have strong anti-Semitic overtones, are being held with alarming frequency in cities across Europe.
In France, the National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism says it has received more than 100 reports of anti-Semitic violence since the start of Israel's military operation in Gaza on December 27. Recent incidents include arson attacks against synagogues and Jewish community centers in several French cities, as well as physical assaults of Jews in Paris and elsewhere.
In Britain, the Community Security Trust has reported a sharp increase in anti-Semitic attacks in recent weeks. Incidents include arson attacks on synagogues, physical assaults of Jews in London, and anti-Semitic graffiti scrawled in towns and cities across the country. British police have also advised prominent British Jews to redouble their security arrangements after some of their names appeared on a "Jewish hit list."
In Denmark, two Israelis were shot and wounded in a shopping mall in Odense. In nearby Vollsmose, a public school principal declared that Jewish students are not welcome at his school and advised Jewish parents to send their children elsewhere. The principal is an active supporter of the Danish Boycott Israel campaign, which specializes in organizing anti-Israel protest marches in Copenhagen and elsewhere.
In Italy, the leader of a far-left trade union has called for a boycott of all Jewish shops in Rome. According to union leader Giancarlo Desiderati, the organization has already urged its members to blacklist Israeli products, and boycotting Jewish-owned or Jewish-run stores is a logical next step.
In Belgium, where the number of anti-Semitic incidents has surged in recent weeks, synagogues and Jewish schools have been attacked in Brussels and in Charleroi, Jewish community leaders have received death threats, and the home of a Jewish family was the target of an arson attempt.