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Press ReleaseAnti-Semitism: International
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As Israel Defends Itself, Jews Come Under Attack

 

New York, NY, January 12, 2009 As Israel acts to defend its citizens against Hamas rocket attacks and terrorism from Gaza, Jews around the world have come under attack, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

 

Assaults against Jews in communities around the world are on the rise.  In Europe, Jews have been threatened and beaten on the street and synagogues firebombed.  "Jews to the gas chambers" has been chanted at anti-Israel demonstrations in Europe and similar calls for death to Jews have been heard across the Arab and Muslim world.  Newspapers in the Arab world and in Latin America have published pieces making blatant comparisons between Israel and the Nazis' perpetration of the Holocaust.  One newspaper in Qatar ran an article noting that all Jews bear responsibility for what is happening in Gaza.  Caricatures that depict Israelis as Nazis are appearing daily in the Arab press, in Latin American and even in some mainstream European newspapers.

 

"The manifestations of anti-Semitism are growing, fueled by the intense anti-Israel rallies where Nazi comparisons and anti-Semitic beliefs combine in an explosive mix," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.  "We have not seen an outburst of this kind of imagery since the outbreak of the second Palestinian Intifada, and this time, it could become worse.  With only a few notable exceptions, this latest outpouring of anti-Jewish hate has met with little or no public condemnation."

 

ADL is tracking international anti-Semitism in the forms of violence against Jews and Jewish institutions and hate speech at demonstrations and in the media in the wake of Israel's operation against Hamas. 

 

Some recent manifestations include:

 

  • January 11, 2009 France Molotov cocktails were thrown at a synagogue in Saint Denis, a northern suburb of Paris.  The fire-bombs bounced off the reinforced window and caused damage to an adjacent Jewish restaurant.
  • January 9 Norway About 1,000 pro-Palestinian protestors attacked a pro-Israel rally of about 500 people in Oslo, resulting in six injuries and 31 arrests.
  • January 7 France In Paris, a 15-year-old Jewish teenager was beaten by a gang of youths, including three schoolmates, who said they were avenging the Palestinians.
  • January 6 Belgium Four Molotov cocktails were thrown at a synagogue in Schaerbeek.
  • January 6 Turkey An Israeli basketball team fled from the court into the dressing room after the crowd became threatening, calling them "killers" and shouting "death to Jews."
  • January 5 France A burning car with a Molotov cocktail was rammed into the door of a synagogue in Toulouse while the rabbi was giving a class inside.  Another car was prepared for a second attack, but was abandoned after an alarm scared off the attackers.
  • January 5 Sweden A Molotov cocktail was thrown at a synagogue in Helsingborg.
  • January 3 United Kingdom Assailants tried to burn a synagogue in the Brondesbury section of London.
  • December 31 United Kingdom A Jewish man was pulled from a car in London and beaten by three men, reportedly of Arab descent.  That same day, Jewish shops were attacked by Arab youths who shouted anti-Israel slogans.
  • December 31 Denmark A Dane of Palestinian descent shot two Israelis in a shopping mall in Odense where they worked. 

According to ADL, violence against Jews and Jewish institutions has occurred mostly in Western Europe.  The violence often is incited by hate speech at demonstrations after which individuals have sought out Jewish targets.

 

"The unsophisticated methods and materials used in the attacks to date, particularly in Europe, indicate that the assailants are largely individuals who are acting alone or in small groups, often at the spur of the moment," said Glen S. Lewy, ADL National Chair.  "As Israel continues its operation in Gaza, we are greatly concerned about the safety and security of Jewish communities around the world.  Governments must take action to ensure that Jewish communities are protected and that the perpetrators of anti-Semitic acts are brought to justice."

 

Among the most prevalent expressions of anti-Semitic hate speech is equating Israel with the Nazi regime.  The widespread Holocaust and Nazi analogies employed at global demonstrations go well beyond legitimate criticism of Israel into outright anti-Semitism.

 

"Particularly dangerous and disturbing is the use of Nazi imagery to depict Israelis and comparisons of Israel's actions to the absolute evil perpetrated by the Nazis," Mr. Foxman said.  "Ironically, these comparisons and the imagery are reminiscent of the Nazis' use of Der Sturmer to feed the age-old myths of Jews as a satanic and conniving force that is endeavoring to take over the world."


The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.



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