Posted: November 18, 2003
The horrific bombing attacks against two synagogues in Istanbul are the latest manifestation of a dramatic worldwide increase in global anti-Semitism. The brazen attacks, intentionally carried out during Sabbath services on November 15, 2003 by terrorists with likely links to the global Al Qaeda network, are just one of many attacks against Jews around the world in recent weeks.
In just the last few weeks, synagogues have been bombed, Jewish schools burned, more than half of Europeans polled declared Israel to be the biggest threat to world peace, cultural and intellectual leaders spewed hate-filled canards and 57 Muslim leaders stood and applauded while the outgoing Malaysian Prime Minister declared, "Jews rule this world by proxy." In totality, the anti-Jewish attacks - whether issued rhetorically or with bombs - suggest a disturbing pattern of widening, dangerous, more virulent anti-Semitism on a global scale.
The Anti-Defamation League remains in constant communication with Jewish communities in affected areas around the world and has reacted with outrage and horror at the recent attacks. After swiftly condemning the Turkish bombings, ADL leaders have been in daily contact with Jewish community leaders, with legislators and government leaders in Europe and the United States in an effort to begin a process to counter this alarming trend through exposure and advocacy.
ADL has taken out advertisements in The New York Times, The New York Sun and has plans to publish additional ads in international publications to draw attention to this troubling phenomenon.
Updates on some of the anti-Semitic events ADL is currently monitoring:
The investigation into the bombings in Istanbul continues. Turkish officials have firmly denounced the attacks at the Neve Shalom and Beth Israel synagogues, which killed 25 people and wounded more than 300 others. ADL Reaction to the Bombing
The Interior Minister confirmed reports that the bombings were carried out by suicide bombers in pickup trucks, each carrying about 500 pounds of explosives. The authorities suspect the attacks may be the work of global terrorists with links to Al Qaeda.
- In France, which has experienced a disturbing series of anti-Semitic attacks over the past several years, police are investigating the arson of a Jewish school in the northern Paris suburbs as an anti-Semitic crime. The fire at the Mercaz Hatorah school in Gagny, as well as the thwarted firebombing of a synagogue in Ivry, south of the capital, has prompted the government of President Jacques Chirac to mobilize a new cabinet-level initiative to combat anti-Semitism.
Chirac convened a meeting with Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin to approve a sweeping package that included stronger efforts aimed at policing Jewish institutions and prosecuting those who commit anti-Semitic crimes. "Anti-Semitism is contrary to all the values of France," President Chirac said. "Our Jewish compatriots are at home in France, as is each and every one of our compatriots."
- The virulently anti-Semitic speech by former Malaysian Prime Minister Mohamad Mahathir to the Organization of the Islamic Conference continues to reverberate around the world. ADL is tracking the responses and repercussions and has created a comprehensive online resource on the speech and Mahathir's history. More about Mahathir
- Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis called the Jewish nation "the root of evil" in anti-Semitic remarks made in the presence of the Greek Ministers of Education and Culture. The composer's remarks were denounced by a government spokesman. ADL has been in contact with the Greek Ambassador to the United States, George V. Savvaides, to express concern about this and other recent anti-Semitic statements in Greece in recent years. ADL Letter to Greek Ambassador
- ADL met with the President of the European Commission and reached out to other European leaders in the wake of a Eurobarometer poll suggesting that Europeans believe that Israel is the "greatest threat to world peace." More
- The onslaught of anti-Semitism in the Muslim and Arab press and in statements from Arab leaders continues unabated. ADL's most recent report documented dozens of cartoons and articles from the Arab world where Jews were stereotyped and vilified. Most recently, the Syrian Defense Minister, Mustapha Tlass, an avowed anti-Semite lashed out in response to the U.S. decision to impose sanctions against Syria, blaming world Jewry and Israel for plotting to undermine the entire Arab world. More
- For the second consecutive year, a major Arab television network is featuring a vicious anti-Semitic series that depicts stereotypical Jews hatching a plot for Jewish world control and domination. The program, Ash-Shatat ("The Diaspora") is a Syrian production being aired by the Lebanon-based satellite television network Al-Manar, which is owned by the terrorist organization Hezbollah. Al-Manar is widely available across to viewers across the Muslim and Arab world. More
- Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, lashed out with a vicious attack on Jews in his November 23, 2003 sermon to followers at Mosque Maryam, the NOI headquarters in Chicago. In his two-hour speech, Minister Farrakhan depicted Jews as "masters of Hollywood" who are poisoning American society with "filth and indecency." More