Anti-Semitic attacks increase sharply around the world
TEL AVIV, Israel
Israeli researchers warned Sunday of a sudden upsurge in anti-Semitic attacks, topped by a deadly school shooting in France, noting a link to the rise of extremist parties in Europe.
The warnings emerge from an annual report on anti-Semitism in the world, released on the eve of Israel’s memorial day for the 6 million Jews killed by German Nazis and their collaborators in World War II.
The report noted a 30 percent jump in anti-Semitic violence and vandalism last year, after a two-year decline. It was issued at Tel Aviv University, in cooperation with the European Jewish Congress, an umbrella group representing Jewish communities across Europe.
The report recorded 686 attacks in 34 countries, ranging from physical violence to vandalism of synagogues and cemeteries, compared to 526 in 2011. It said 273 of the attacks last year, or 40 percent, involved violence against people.
The report linked the March, 2012 shooting at a Jewish school in Toulouse, where an extremist Muslim gunman killed four people, to a series of attacks that followed — particularly in France, where physical assaults on Jews almost doubled.
The report by the university’s Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry found little correlation between the increase of anti-Semitic attacks and Israel’s military operation in Gaza in November. While there was a spike in incidents at the time, it was much smaller in number and intensity than the one that followed the Toulouse school attack, said Roni Stauber, the chief researcher on the project.
“This shows that the desire to harm Jews is deeply rooted among extremist Muslims and right-wingers, regardless of events in the Middle East,” he said. An Israeli offensive in Gaza four years earlier led to a significant spike in attacks against Jews in Europe.