Far-right antisemitism biggest threat to Jews worldwide: report

Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett presents report at weekly cabinet meeting to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

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January 27, 2019 11:40
4 minute read.
White Nationalists

White nationalists carry torches on the grounds of the University of Virginia, on the eve of a planned Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S. August 11, 2017. Picture taken August 11, 2017.. (photo credit: ALEJANDRO ALVAREZ/NEWS2SHARE VIA REUTERS)

Far-right antisemitic incidents are now the most serious threat to Jewish communities around the world, particularly in Europe and the United States, according to a report by the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs presented on Sunday by Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett at the weekly Cabinet meeting to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The report revealed record high levels of antisemitism on the streets and online, and noted 70% of the attacks were related to anti-Israel attitudes.

In addition, 2018 saw the highest number of Jews murdered in antisemitic attacks since the 1992 and 1995 attacks on the Argentinian Jewish community. Thirteen Jews were killed last year in three separate incidents worldwide.

Among them were the murder by a neo-Nazi of US college student Blaze Bernstein in California last January; the murder of Holocaust survivor 85-year-old Mirielle Knoll in Paris by Muslim extremists in March; and the Pittsburgh massacre in October where 11 Sabbath worshipers were shot by a gunman who held antisemitic and far-right beliefs.

Bennett told the cabinet that Israel has a “responsibility to help the millions of our brothers and sisters in
the Diaspora,” in the face of the heightened wave of antisemitic attacks.

“The Ministry of Diaspora Affairs will continue to work to build bridges with Jews around the world, and to eradicate antisemitism through legal, diplomatic and public diplomacy channels,” he said.

“Especially this week, when the world marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day, I call on governments around the world to act: rid your societies of antisemitism, and take a harsh stance against the hatred of Jews.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decried the nexus of antisemitism between the far Left and radical Islam, but noted that Israel has restored the Jewish people’s ability to resist hatred and violence.

According to the ministry’s report, in the US, even though Jews represent only 2% of the population, they are subject to 58% of all hate crimes perpetrated on the basis of religion in 2017. In total, there were 938 antisemitic incidents that year, a massive jump of 37% from the previous year’s figures.

The report also noted that the most violent antisemitic incidents in the US came from far Right elements such as Neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

The report noted that in France, even after a noticeable reduction in antisemitic attacks in the previous year – due to a change in government policies and security deployment – there was a rise of 69% in antisemitic incidents in the year 2018.

And in the United Kingdom, antisemitic incidents reached an all-time high, with antisemitic attitudes and incidents in the Labour Party leading significant numbers of Jews there to express deep concern for the future of their country.

In terms of far Left antisemitism, the ministry’s report noted that such elements tie Jews in with “cosmopolitan elites” and global capitalism which such groups say they are trying to fight.

The report also highlighted the pact between the far Left and Islamic extremism “whose interests are seemingly incompatible, but who cooperate against Israel and Jews.”

The two groups are united by the intersectionality theory, which seeks to tie all “oppressed” groups together regardless of their different circumstances.

The report says that Islamic extremists have “succeeded in tying their hatred for Israel, presented as genuine concern for the Palestinians, to the notion of intersectionality.”

It also highlighted Students for Justice in Palestine, Muslim Student Associations, Jewish Voice for Peace, and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement as central players in the narrative of Israel as a colonialist, nationalist anti-liberal international outlaw.

In Germany, the first half of 2018 saw a significant rise in antisemitic incidents over the first six months of 2017, with 893 incidents recorded in that period, comprising 61.5% of antisemitic incidents for the year of 2017.

A report compiled by the German government found that 87.5% of antisemitic incidents were perpetrated by those with far Right ideologies.

Netanyahu said in response to the report that “antisemitism from the far Right is not a new phenomenon,” in Europe, but that the connection between “far Left antisemites disguised as anti-Zionists and Islamic extremists, as has happened recently in Britain and Ireland, is a disgrace.”

Netanyahu was likely referring to legislation being advanced in Ireland, which would criminalize commercial activity by Irish citizens beyond Israel’s pre-1967 borders. It was unclear what the prime minister was referring to with regards to Britain, but is likely that he was meant the numerous incidents of antisemitism stemming from the Labour Party, and worrying actions and statements by its leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

Speaking of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Netanyahu said that during the Holocaust Jews had no one to save them, but that today “the state of the Jews is one of the most advanced and strongest in the world.”

He noted that the Jewish people were “awfully helpless” during the Holocaust but that today “we strike those who seek to kill us, and harm anyone seeking to harm us.”

“First and foremost, we have restored to our people the power to resist, which we have lost in exile,” he said.


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