People pay tribute to the victims of a hostage taking outside the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket near Porte de Vincennes in eastern Paris.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The number of violent attacks against Jews abroad dropped significantly in 2015 despite an increase in institutionalized anti-Semitism, an annual report released Wednesday found.
According to the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University, recorded cases of anti-Semitic violence decreased substantially throughout the world, by 46 percent. During 2015, 410 violent cases were recorded, compared to 766 in 2014.
“The year began and ended in a sea of blood and terror, with the massacres at the Charlie Hebdo offices and the Hyper Cacher in Paris during January and the slaughter of 130 people in Paris during November,” Dr. Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress and the report’s sponsor, said during a press conference at Tel Aviv University.
“However, the number of violent anti-Semitic incidents worldwide decreased quite dramatically during 2015, especially after the first months of the year, in comparison to 2014,” he said.
The report attributed the drop to a “massive amount of security around Jewish institutions” in the wake of the January attacks in Paris.
It noted, however, that in “countries in Central Europe and Scandinavia where there was little increase in security, the number of incidents did not markedly decrease.”
Kantor continued that “institutional anti-Semitism” and “slander against the Jewish People as a whole” remained at the same level and perhaps higher. He highlighted the ongoing controversy seizing the British Labor party as the latest example of anti-Semitism rearing its ugly head.
“The recent events in the British Labor Party and the UK National Union of Students demonstrates that the Jews are once again targeted, this time by so-called progressive forces, when actually they uphold the most ancient and regressive of views and policies,” he said.
“I have long argued that the political spectrum is far more cyclical than we think and more and more elements of the far Left have a lot in common with the far Right, fascism and intolerance, especially regarding the Jews,” said Kantor.
Earlier this week, former mayor of London Ken Livingstone was suspended from the Labor Party for claiming that Adolf Hitler was a Zionist.
He made the remarks in defense of Labor MP Naz Shah, who was suspended from the party last Monday over a Facebook post in 2014 suggesting Israelis should be transferred en masse to the United States.
One way of combating the phenomenon of anti-Semitism, Kantor suggested, was to first define the term’s parameters so law enforcement could fight identity and sanction the phenomenon.
“Today we have an absurd situation where what constitutes anti-Semitism is defined by the anti-Semites,” Kantor said. “Before combating anything, the challenge first has to be defined. We will never be able to truly fight back against anti-Semites and significantly lower the levels of this newer, insidious, form of anti-Semitism until we define it.”
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