Anti-Semitism figures down from 2009 high

Ministry of Absorption, Jewish Agency present report on global anti-Semitism in 2010; Edelstein says anti-Jewish sentiment still high.

Yuli Edelstein 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)
Yuli Edelstein 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem / The Jerusalem Post)
According to preliminary data, the number of anti-Semitic attacks around the world decreased considerably in 2010, Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein and Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky announced in a Jerusalem press conference on Sunday.
However, Edelstein noted, although “the report represents a decrease in has to keep in mind that 2009 was a record year because of Operation Cast Lead [in Gaza]. In fact, nothing has changed, and there’s still an increase in anti- Semitism.”
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Amos Hermon, the chairman of the Jewish Agency’s Task Force on Anti-Semitism, who presented the numbers, told The Jerusalem Post that the number of attacks on Jews in the UK and France had been halved over the past year.
“Anti-Semitic attacks in France and the UK each dropped by 50 percent in comparison with 2009,” he said. “In Australia they fell by 60%. We still haven’t finalized the data, which doesn’t include the last quarter of 2010. For an incident to be confirmed as anti-Semitic, it needs to be confirmed by many sources.”
He added that “2009 was a record year in anti-Semitic attacks since World War II, and we must not forget that not a day goes by without an anti- Semitic attack.”
Hermon said anti-Semitic attacks included a wide range of incidents, from shouting slurs at visibly Jewish individuals on the street, to throwing firebombs and desecrating synagogues and cemeteries.
In Latin America – and in Chile, especially – the number of anti-Semitic attacks over the past year increased, Hermon said. Earlier this year, vandals in the South American country defiled a Jewish cemetery in Santiago. In addition, several high-profile members of the country’s 25,000-strong Jewish community have received death threats.
At the press conference in Jerusalem, Sharansky touched on the ongoing wars over public opinion raging on campuses around the world between pro- Israel and pro-Palestinian supporters.
“In light of the delegitimization wars carried out against Israel around the world, the Jewish Agency has doubled the number of its emissaries at campuses in North America,” he said. “There are currently 500,000 Jewish students in North America. The delegitimization campaign is directed against those Jewish students and affects their ties to Israel.”
Hermon added that the number of attacks on Jews and Jewish institutions was still much higher than in the previous decade.
“We’re back to numbers we’ve previously seen during the start of the second intifada,” he said. “The test will be when there’s an eruption of violence in the Middle East. Then we’ll see if the numbers mean anything.”