Gov't report: Anti-Semitism down

Findings show decline in worldwide incidents but a rise in hate crimes in US, Germany, Russia.

By HAVIV RETTIG GUR
January 26, 2008 23:10
2 minute read.
anti semitism swastika europe 298

anti semitism 224.88. (photo credit: AP [file])

The number of anti-Semitic incidents worldwide is shrinking following a spike in the wake of the Second Lebanon War, according to a government-Jewish Agency report that will be presented at Sunday's cabinet meeting. Meanwhile, the report singled out as "worrying" several countries, including Britain, France and Ukraine, and specific platforms for anti-Semitism, including Internet forums. It also noted that anti-Semitic incidents actually increased in Germany, Australia, the US and Ukraine. The report is not a rigorous study, but rather a compilation made by the Jewish Agency of findings gathered from the Jewish Agency situation room, the Prime Minister's Office and Jewish communities worldwide. "It's a study of trends more than anything else," said Amos Hermon, co-chairman of the Jewish Agency's Education Department, who is responsible for agency activities in combating anti-Semitism. The publication of the findings are meant to call attention to worrying trends in anti-Semitism ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Sunday, the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Though Western Europe has generally seen a decline in anti-Semitic incidents in 2007, Britain still sees the most anti-Semitic incidents of any country in Europe, according to the report, followed in second place by France. Latin America, which saw an increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the wake of the summer 2006 war with Hizbullah, saw a "noticeable" return to the number of incidents seen before the war, according to the report. The number of incidents has also risen in Germany, which the report's authors blame on the growth of far-right groups and the power of the Muslim community. Even so, the number of incidents is still much lower than in France and Britain. Similarly, Russia has seen a rise in incidents alongside an increase in xenophobia and nationalist sentiments. Australia, too, has seen a rise in incidents, driven by an increase in violence and a rise in the influence of the Shi'ite Lebanese community and the pro-Palestinian far-left. In the US, there were reports of a dramatic increase in anti-Semitic incidents since August 2007, including cemetery desecration and hate graffiti, which follow methods used by far-right hate groups. The report includes a picture of a synagogue in Victoria, Texas, which had swastikas painted on its walls. Among the most worrying trends is the presence of anti-Semitic discourse in Ukraine, the report noted. This includes "massive dissemination" of anti-Semitic propaganda by the notorious MAUP University, which has held several openly anti-Zionist and often anti-Semitic conferences. On the up side, the report noted the increased enforcement of anti-racism laws in many European countries, particularly Russia and Germany.


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