The annual report of the "Center for the Study of European Jewry Today" on the state of anti-Semitism in the world reveals: 2021 was a record year for anti-Semitism
Towards Holocaust Day, "The Center for the Study of European Jewry Today" at the Lester and Sally Antin Faculty of Humanities, publishes for the 28th year the annual report on the state of anti-Semitism. The editors of the report: "Despite the many resources devoted in recent years to combating the phenomenon, anti-Semitism is increasing. The solution is not necessarily more budgets, more conferences and more legislation. A brave and comprehensive examination of the efficiency and usefulness of the existing action strategies is required." The report, which refers to the year 2021, is based on an analysis of dozens of studies conducted around the world, alongside information provided by law enforcement authorities, media organizations and Jewish organizations in various countries.
"One must say with courage: the struggle has failed"
The alarming findings indicate a sharp increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in many countries around the world, even compared to 2019, before the Corona epidemic. The editors of the report report a dramatic increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Germany and Australia. According to the report, the increase is related to the strengthening of extreme right and extreme left movements and the generous platform that social networks provide for spreading lies and incitement. Conspiracy theories that are flourishing following the Corona crisis, and the "Guardian of the Walls" operation in Gaza, have particularly provoked anti-Semitic waves.
"Something is not working. In recent years, enormous resources have been invested around the world in the fight against anti-Semitism, which included important and welcome programs, but the number of anti-Semitic incidents, including serious ones, is on the rise," said Prof. Uriah Shavit, head of the "Center for the Study of European Jewry Today", upon the publication of the report.
Prof. Dina Porat, the founder of the center, emphasized in the review she wrote about the reasons for the increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents, the negative effect of social networks on the strengthening of the phenomenon. According to Prof. Porat, during the time of the Corona virus and the lockdowns, when people were sitting at home in front of their computers, the exposure to conspiracy theories that flourished on the Internet increased, including the accusation that the virus was created and spread by Jews and the State of Israel when the lockdowns were lifted. Some of those who have been poisoned for a long time by these theories have come out more aggressive and bitter, as they continue to be affected by the lies they internalized. Prof. Porat emphasized that Iran's efforts to spread anti-Semitic propaganda on the networks should be viewed with severity.
An alarming increase in anti-Semitism incidents in all continents of the world
The in-depth reviews published in the report indicate alarming phenomena in various countries. Dr. Ina Shtekser points to the strengthening of institutionalized anti-Semitism in the dictatorship of Belarus; Dr. Carl Junker and Dr. Lev Tofur point to the penetration of anti-Semitic right-wing movements into the mainstream of American conservatism; Dr. Ofir Winter points to voices in the Arab world that paint the "Abraham Agreements" in distinctly anti-Semitic colors; And attorney Talia Naamat points out the difficulty of the legal system in France to call Islamist anti-Semitism by its name.
The main part of the report:
- USA: The New York City Police Department reported 2021 incidents of hate crimes against Jews in 214, compared to 126 incidents in 2020. The Los Angeles Police Department reported 2021 hate crimes against Jews in 79, compared to only 40 in 2020. During the events of May 2021 and Operation 'Guardian of the Walls', 251 anti-Semitic incidents were reported across the US in just three weeks.
- According to the annual survey of the American Jewish Committee (AJC), 2.6% of American Jews have experienced physical anti-Semitic attacks in the last five years.
- According to the Anti-Defamation League data, there was a 27% increase compared to 2020 and a 113% increase compared to 2019 in the number of incidents of spreading anti-Semitic propaganda by white supremacist organizations. These figures are particularly worrying, since the number of incidents of spreading white supremacy propaganda in general actually decreased.
- France: The Service for the Protection of Jewish Communities, in collaboration with the Ministry of the Interior, reported in 2021 on 589 anti-Semitic incidents, an increase of 74% compared to 2020, but a decrease of 15% compared to 2019.
- Canada: In May 2021, the Bnei Brit organization recorded a 40-year record (since records began in 1982) in physical violence on an anti-Semitic basis in one month - 61 attacks. A total of 266 incidents were recorded that month, an increase of 54% compared to the corresponding period in 2020.
- United Kingdom: In 2021, the Community Service Organization (CST) reported 2,255 anti-Semitic incidents, an increase of 34% compared to 2020 and 24% compared to 2019. A sharp increase of 78% compared to 2020 was recorded in the number of physical attacks against Jews.
- Germany: According to data from the German police, 2021 anti-Semitic incidents were recorded throughout the country in 3,028, an increase of 28.8% compared to 2020 and 49% compared to 2019.
- The report points to a disturbing phenomenon that intensified in 2021: German vaccine opponents who compare their situation to that of the Jews in the Holocaust. According to the authors of the report, the result is a trivialization of the Holocaust.
- Australia: In 2021, 447 anti-Semitic incidents were recorded across the country - an increase of 35% compared to 2020 and 21.5% compared to 2019. In May, the largest number of incidents occurred in one month ever - 88 anti-Semitic incidents.
When Israel defends itself, manifestations of anti-Semitism rise
According to the report, the "Guardian of the Walls" operation in Gaza in May 2021 and the Corona epidemic had a direct negative effect on the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the world. "This is an intolerable reality: when Israel defends itself - Jews are attacked," say the report's editors. Social media banter played a major role in this wave. The phenomenon raises doubts about the effectiveness of the legislation and the agreements signed with operators of social networks, who pledged to prevent the posting of anti-Semitic statements on the various platforms. The most serious problem in the online arena is the dark web, which is a platform for extremists of all kinds and enables the distribution of anti-Semitic content without restriction and without supervision. The report indicates that Iran invests a lot of effort and money in spreading anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli messages on the Internet, mainly in Latin America and the USA.
Already with the outbreak of the Corona epidemic in 2020, conspiracy theories were spread around the world accusing the Jews and Israel of spreading the virus. These accusations were based on centuries-old anti-Semitic blood plots. In 2021, with the easing of lockdowns, anti-Semitism returned to the streets and physical violence against Jews increased. At the same time, the increased activity on social networks continued, and even became an essential element in shaping the identity of some of the participants. Among the opponents of vaccines are those who accuse the Jews of developing them in order to get rich. The success of vaccinations in general, and Israel's effective vaccination campaign in particular, only strengthened these claims. Opponents of vaccinations even created false comparisons between the requirement to be vaccinated and the situation of the Jews in the Holocaust, which led to the trivialization of the Holocaust. For example, the Jewish CEO of Pfizer, Albert Burla, the son of an Auschwitz survivor, was compared to Josef Mangala, claiming that both conducted 'experiments on humans'.
"The easy thing is to say that more laws and more budgets are needed. But what is really required is a bold and comprehensive examination of the effectiveness of existing action strategies. The Russian war crimes, which are committed while cynically desecrating the memory of the Holocaust, teach us that some of those who declared their commitment to the struggle did not mean it seriously and did not internalize the lessons of the Second World War. The Jewish world must come to its senses and understand that the fight against anti-Semitism and the fight for the democratic-liberal order are the same fight," Prof. Shavit concluded.
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