Israel worried about upswing in international anti-Semitism

Livni expresses concern over "wave of anti-Semitic attacks" faced by Jewish communities worldwide.

anti israel in spain 248.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
anti israel in spain 248.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has expressed concern over "a wave of anti-Semitic attacks" faced by Jewish communities worldwide. "We have received with great concern and revulsion many reports of physical, moral, verbal and other manifestations of anti-Semitic attacks towards Jews and Israeli citizens in many parts of the world," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued this week. "Examples of these include physical assault, violence and abuse towards Jews, the desecration of cemeteries and synagogues, the use of anti-Semitic incitement in pro-Palestinian demonstrations, the writing of anti-Semitic graffiti on Jewish property, as well as cartoons, editorials and other press stories reminiscent of the kind that appeared in the media of certain countries during the darkest days of the early 20th century," the statement read. "Israel and the Jewish people are appalled at these expressions of incitement, hatred and blatant extremism," it said. Attacks on Jews in recent days range from a burning car driven into a gate outside a synagogue in Toulouse, France two weeks ago to Chicago synagogues vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti last weekend. In Antwerp, Muslim demonstrators were arrested on their way to the town's Jewish quarter, while Italy's Flaica-Uniti-Cub trade union recently recommended boycotting of Jewish - not just Israeli - businesses and products. Last week, Danish school headmasters asked not to enroll Jewish schoolchildren in their schools because they could not guarantee their safety from Muslim pupils and protesters. The Caroline Skole, a Jewish school in Copenhagen, is surrounded by a barbed-wire fence watched by video cameras. The government called on "the leaders of the world to condemn, suppress and curb any and all forms of such incitement and hate, and to further hold accountable those responsible for their actions." The attacks "have crystallized following our defensive operations against the Hamas terror organization," said Aviva Raz-Shechter, director of the ministry's Department for Combating Anti-Semitism, who added that the ministry has been closely tracking the wave of attacks. Such attacks are intolerable, Raz-Shechter added, "as criticism of Israel should never be used as an excuse to perpetrate acts of violence, hate and blatant extremism against the Jewish people." The beatings, shootings and Holocaust language brought to bear against Jews in Europe and elsewhere, mostly by Muslim immigrants, have sparked real fears in those communities, the government believes. According to the Anti-Defamation League, these sentiments have been found in the media as well. The ADL reported this week on a Qatar newspaper that published an article placing responsibility for the events in Gaza on all Jews. Similarly, "caricatures that depict Israelis as Nazis are appearing daily in the Arab press, in Latin American and even in some mainstream European newspapers," the organization said in a statement. "The dangers that lie within the Pandora's box that appears to have been opened with this current wave of anti-Semitism are known too well to humanity," the government said. Nevertheless, the ministry insisted that "Israel will continue to defend the operation it has undertaken to defend the lives of its citizens from systematic and continuous terrorist attacks…. Whatever one's opinion may be of this operation, it should never be used to legitimize hate and anti-Semitic incitement."