In time for International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Simon Wiesenthal Center revisited 2018’s most disturbing antisemitic actions and threats.
Leading the list was the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre on Saturday, October 27, when Robert Bowers, an avowed neo-Nazi, opened fire on worshipers at the Tree of Life Congregation, murdering 11 people and wounding six others before being arrested by police.
Following the attack, Bowers said, “Hitler was right,” and that ISIS executions were a form “of Jewish ritual murder.”
Louis Farrakhan came in No. 2 on the center's list for his slanderous attacks against Jews.
During an October speech in Detroit, Farrakhan told Jews, “I’m not mad at you because you’re stupid… So, when they talk about Farrakhan and call me a hater, you do what you do: call me an antisemite… Stop it, I’m an anti-termite.”
The Wiesenthal Center placed the growing level of antisemitic incidents on college campuses at No. 3.
According to the center, while there has been an overall 57% rise in antisemitic incidents in the US in 2017 over the previous year, the Anti-Defamation League documented 204 reports of antisemitism on campuses in 2017, an 89% increase from 2016.
The ADL defined antisemitic incidents as "harassment, vandalism or assault against Jewish students."
From September 2017 to May 2018, the ADL's Center on Extremism also documented 292 general cases of white supremacist propaganda on college campuses – including fliers, stickers, banners and posters.
The Wiesenthal Center noted multiple incidents, including at least two in New York. One involved antisemitic graffiti that was spray painted on a clinical psychologist’s office at Columbia University’s Teachers College. In another, three swastikas were painted at different sites at Cornell University. Outside of New York, a Jewish fraternity at Penn State had its menorah vandalized and stolen.
At No. 4 is UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. The Jewish community of the United Kingdom has labeled a Corbyn-led government as “an existential threat” to Jews. A poll conducted at the end of the summer concluded that 40% of the Jewish community would consider leaving the UK if Labour won an election.
No. 5 on the list is the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which the Wiesenthal Center said enables Hamas to carry out “massive child abuse with a 'peace' curriculum that erases Israel and venerates mass murderer of Jews.”
According to the Wiesenthal Center release, curriculum in UNRWA schools promotes antisemitism. School books do not include the word "Israel," and UNRWA students never learn about the Holocaust.
No. 6 is Airbnb, which in October announced it would de-list 200 rentals located in Israeli communities over the Green Line.
Though Airbnb issued a statement explaining it opposes the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, it likewise contends that Israeli settlements “are at the core of the dispute between the Israelis and Palestinians.”
At No. 7 is Germany’s Bank of Social Economy, which insists on doing business with “Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East,” an organization that strongly endorses BDS.
The Jerusalem Post first exposed the account of the pro-BDS group Jewish Voice held by the Bank for Social Economy in 2016. As recently as this month, the president of Germany’s nearly 100,000-member Jewish community, in an unusual direct and angry statement, called on the bank to pull the plug on its account with Jewish Voice.
The bank told the Post it had hired an academic to issue a report on whether Jewish Voice is antisemitic.
The Wiesenthal Center named as No. 8 Massachusetts Bishop Gayle Harris’s fabricated report that she had witnessed an IDF soldier arrest a three-year-old Arab child on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and gun down a 15-year-old Palestinian in the back.
Harris is the number-two Episcopal clergy member in Israel. After the Wiesenthal Center exposed her claims, she admitted she had only heard the stories from a Palestinian and never bothered to verify them.
According to the Wiesenthal Center, numerous American church leaders have embraced the Palestinian narrative in the Holy Land. This is despite the Jewish state protecting the rights and holy sites of the Christian minority and its being the only Middle East country whose Christian population is increasing.
In spot No. 9 is Sweden’s Karolinska Institute and its Karolinska University Hospital, for failing to deal quickly and forthrightly with discrimination against three Jewish doctors who were blocked from helping their patients, and hindered from continuing research at the institute.
According to the Wiesenthal Center, the neurosurgery department head posted blatantly antisemitic comments on its Facebook page. After 11 months, the issue remains unresolved.
And in the final No. 10 position is Roger Waters, co-founder of the iconic band Pink Floyd.
Waters, a vociferous BDS advocate, pressured the Pink Floyd tribute band, UK Pink Floyd Experience, to cancel its concert in Israel earlier this year. While the band ultimately reversed its decision and performed here anyway, it didn’t play any songs that Roger Waters had written. Instead, those songs were performed by the local Pink Floyd tribute band Echoes.