Haredim (ultra-Orthodox) are the main victims of antisemitic attacks that take place in the Western world, according to the 22nd annual Antisemitism Worldwide Report.
The study, which was published on Monday, was conducted by the Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University in collaboration with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Visibly identifiable Jews, particularly haredim, are the main victims of antisemitic assaults in the West, including beatings, being spat on and having objects thrown at them, the report said. They are targeted not only because they are easily identifiable, but also because they are perceived as vulnerable and unlikely to fight back, it said.
The attacks examined in the report are legally defined as antisemitic hate crimes, but the motivations of the perpetrators are difficult to discern and could stem from various motives.
Report examined dozens of reported assaults in New York
The report examined dozens of reported assaults in New York, which had the most attacks in the US; London, which had the most attacks in Europe; and other cities. The comparative study suggests that physical attacks on Jews tend to occur in a concentrated number of areas in major urban centers, usually on the street or on public transportation, rather than near or in synagogues or other Jewish establishments. Most attacks surveyed in the study did not appear to be premeditated.
“Our research indicates that effective policing, indictments and educational campaigns in a small number of urban areas in various Western countries can lead to a significant reduction in the number of violent antisemitic attacks,” said Prof. Uriya Shavit, head of the Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University.
“The fight against antisemitism must include more practical, measurable and transparent objectives and fewer declarations and cries of Gevald [Yiddish for help or an exclamation of alarm],” he added.
“Soul-searching is required in Israel as well,” Shavit said. “In recent months, several Jewish MKs made chilling racist remarks that would have immediately terminated their careers in any other Western democracy. It is sad that this needs to be said on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, but Jewish racism is no better than any other kind of racism. It must be condemned, banned and eradicated.”
Dr. Carl Yonker, a senior researcher at the center who led the research on the nature of the antisemitic attacks, said: “It was very disturbing to discover during fieldwork in London that some haredim regard antisemitism as the inescapable fate of Jews in the Diaspora, sometimes even blaming members of their own communities for the situation.”
According to ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, “It is alarming to see the significant increase in antisemitic incidents and trends across the US and in several other countries. Equally concerning is that, unlike in 2021, there were no specific events which can be linked to a rise in antisemitism, which speaks to the deeply seated nature of Jew-hatred around the world.”
The ADL recorded a sharp rise in the number of antisemitic incidents in the US and other countries in 2022, alongside a decline. The ADL recorded 3,697 antisemitic incidents in the US, compared with 2,717 in 2021 – a record year in its own right.
The New York Police Department registered 261 hate crimes against Jews, compared with 214 in 2021. The Los Angeles Police Department recorded 86 in 2022, compared with 79 in 2021. The Chicago Police Department recorded 38 in 2022, compared with eight in 2021.
The authors of the report cited a disturbing trend of the “normalization of crazy conspirations” in public discourse in America. The spreading of antisemitic propaganda by white supremacists in the United States almost tripled compared to 2021, reaching a total of 852 incidents.
A rise in recorded antisemitic incidents, compared with 2021, was also found in other countries, including Belgium, Hungary, Italy and Australia. In Belgium, 17 antisemitic attacks were recorded in 2022, compared with three in 2021 – the highest number since seven attacks were recorded in 2016.
On the other hand, other countries, including Germany, Austria, France, the UK, Canada and Argentina, had a decline in the number of antisemitic incidents, compared with 2021.
In Germany, 2,649 “political crimes with an antisemitic background” were documented, less than the record of 3,028 reached in 2021 but still significantly higher than the figures for 2020 and 2019. In France, 436 incidents were documented, compared with 589 in 2021, 339 in 2020 and 687 in 2019.
A few antisemitic remarks have been made “by officials and intellectuals close to the Putin administration [in Russia],” as well as “the cynical distortion of the memory of the Holocaust by the regime,” the report said.
The situation in Russia “raises concerns that Russian Jews might become scapegoats for the regime’s military failures in Ukraine,” the report said.