The Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism

CFCA – 2012 Antisemitism report – Present situation and tendencies

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2012 was marked by the continuing rise in the level of physical danger to the Jewish communities, mainly in Europe, from radical Muslim groups, but also from extreme right activists. 2012 has, in fact, been one of the deadliest years, in the course of which six Jews were killed (In France, in Iran and in Yemen) and more than 170 violent incidents occurred.

At the center of the violent activity are the Jewish communities in France, who have witnessed this year an increase of more than 20% in the number of incidents, including an increase of 51% in the number of violent incidents. As part of it France experienced also two terrorist attacks: the attack in Toulouse (March 19) in which 4 Jews were killed and another youngster was seriously wounded; and the attack of hand-grenade throwing in Sarcelles, in which there were no injuries, and following which an Islamic terrorist organization was exposed in five French cities.

The escalation in France has clearly demonstrated that the Muslim antisemitism does not depend anymore on an outside trigger like the escalation of the Arab-Israel conflict in the Middle East in order to erupt, but has become a self-feeding phenomenon. Thus, the terrorist attack in Toulouse occurred in a period when there were no particular events in the Middle East, and moreover, not only did the horrors of the attack fail to bring about some soul searching, but they were also a source of inspiration and generated a sense of identification that was translated into a wave of violence, especially against Jewish youths in the school or synagogue areas. In the month and a half following the attack 148 incidents were recorded, 90 of which were carried out in the ten days following it.

Parallel to the incidents in France, we witnessed Muslim violence in several other cities in Europe. The number of incidents in the other countries is significantly smaller; however these could possibly be signs of an expanding trend. In this context one could mention Malmö, Sweden, plans to carry out an attack in Milan as well as violent incidents in Denmark, Milan and Germany. This is in contrast to the past in which the two latter ones were marked by right-wing antisemitism only.

Following the economic crisis the extreme right continues to gather political gains.  A case in point is the entrance this year into the Greek Parliament of the neo-Nazi party “The Golden Dawn”, with 6.7% of the electorate vote. The party does not hesitate to use provocative antisemitic rhetoric that included the reading of a chapter from “the Protocols of the Elders of Zion” in the Parliament and Holocaust denial. At the same time, in the Ukraine, the antisemitic party “Svoboda” has succeeded in entering the Parliament with approximately 10% of the vote.

In Hungary, there was a conspicuous rise in the blatancy of the antisemitic statements by the Jobbik party, whose members stressed the importance of “racial purity” and demanded to count the Jews in the country, who pose “a Security risk”.

The political strengthening of the extreme right had also a direct impact on events in the field. This year there was a significant rise in the number of incidents and their severity in Hungary and the Ukraine (including violent incidents) as well as in Austria, Italy and other countries.

In the Middle East the antisemitic discourse has taken hold even further. We should remark in this context, that two Jews were murdered for being Jewish, one in Yemen and the other one in Iran.

The de-legitimation activity against Israel did not register success regarding boycotts or provocative activity near the Israeli borders; therefore it has not had a substantial impact on the Jewish communities. However, we must remember that the mere activity creates, to a large extent, a sense of “free rein” to antisemitic activity.