The Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism - Yearly Evaluation: 2012 (Part 2)
06.02.2012, Xenophobia and anti-Semitism
An increase in the level of Antisemitism and in the number of Antisemitic incidents was recorded during the year throughout the USA. For example, in November, a number of violent Antisemitic incidents were recorded against members of the Jewish Community in Brooklyn, which peaked with the setting fire to automobiles belonging to Jews. In addition, the socio-economic crisis in the USA has recently given rise to the strengthening of the Antisemitic atmosphere among those "disappointed with the system" (young persons, the unemployed, extreme left-wing groups) expressing their rage in the streets of New York. During the social protest organized in the USA in recent months, Antisemitic claims have been heard about the control exercised by the Jews over the economic and governmental institutions, as well as Anti-Israeli statements including those against the existence of the State of Israel. Additionally, this year (on May 12) two Muslims who had links with world Jihad were apprehended in New York, on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack against a synagogue.
In 2011, the Jewish community continued with its day-to-day life, while having been affected by two main phenomena: violent crime and the Antisemitic incitement by supporters of the regime of President Chavez.
At the present time, the level of crime in Venezuela in general and in Caracas in particular, is extremely high. The Venezuelan capital is considered to be one of the most dangerous in the world in terms of the number of cases of murder and other violent events with a social/economic background. In the context of this Venezuelan reality, a number of events with a criminal background have also been recorded by the Jewish Community institutions (the infiltration of needy persons into a community facility, cases of robbery against Jews near to synagogues, and so forth). Nonetheless, it should be mentioned that no significant Antisemitic events have occurred.
The second feature was the Antisemitic incitement against the existence of the State of Israel, and its consequent effect on the Jews. As in previous years, and contrary to sentiments expressed in the past by President Chavez himself, both officials of the regime and elements in the local media (supporters of Chavez) are continuing with strongly expressed statements against Israel and its existence, as well as against its supporters - the local Jews by implication.
No significant Antisemitic events were recorded in 2011 (in terms of extent and gravity) in the country. At the same time - a number of incidents against minorities in Brazil on a racial basis (attacks on Blacks and Indians by skinheads) is evidence of a certain awakening in the level of activity of the extreme right, which could have implications in the future on the Jewish Community in the country.
The current year has been characterized by relative quiet in terms of Antisemitic activity (the Right, Shiites) as compared with 2010. At the same time, increasing activity has been identified of the Palestinian lobby in Santiago, promoting moves with a view to the cancellation of the economic agreements signed between the Chilean government and Israel in recent years. This is part of the de-legitimization campaign against Israel.
The features of the current year in Argentina are similar to those of the previous year (a small number of articles and expressions of Antisemitic sentiments). Against this background, there are two incidents that stand out of violent assault against Jews in the streets of Buenos Aires (May and September).
As distinct from the previous year, this year was characterized by relatively minimal activity of the left-wing elements with links to Iran, against the Jewish communities. It is possible that the reason for this is the strong statements both within the Jewish Community and outside the Jewish community, against this phenomena. In this context and in an exceptional step, an Argentine non-Jewish judge expressed himself in the strongest terms (March) about the collaboration between these elements whose objective is the promotion of Antisemitic activity in Argentina.
In Mexico, a similar amount of Antisemitic incidents was recorded to that of the previous year (isolated incidents). The incident that stands out in terms of its gravity and exceptional nature in the reality that is Mexico over the last few years - concerns a Jewish journalist who conducted a review on the subject of government corruption and who was brutally attacked, accompanied by clearly Antisemitic shouts.
In the first months following the "Jasmine Revolution" in view of the governmental instability experienced in Tunisia, the Jewish community which had until December 2010 enjoyed the benefit of governmental patronage, was exposed to a number of incidents which included setting fire to synagogues, calls of "Death to the Jews" and breaking of tombstones (January-February). Nevertheless, it is important to note that other elements in Tunisia demonstrated against this phenomenon, and that following the stabilization of the system, these activities have ceased and the regime has expressed its commitment to the security of the Jewish community.
During the year, clear and diverse Antisemitic manifestations and messages on the part of Iran were reported, with the emphasis on the President, Ahmedinajad. The President continued inter alia with his line of Holocaust denial and referring to the terrorist outrages of September 11 as a Zionist conspiracy (in his U.N. speech - according to him the purpose of the attacks was to resuscitate the Zionist regime, strengthen instability in the region and to deflect public opinion in America from the bad economic situation). In addition, a Jewish cemetery was desecrated in Damavand, Antisemitic literature was published, a series and a film with Antisemitic contents were screened with the encouragement of the regime, Antisemitic cartoons were published, and additionally, the Chairman of the Combined Staffs of the armed forces accused the Zionists of a massacre (77 killed) in Norway, carried out by Anders Behring Breivik, an extreme right-winger (July 22, 2011).
This year, the de-legitimization events had no bearing on the level of Antisemitism. The planned flotilla and "flightilla" did not get off the ground, and the mass Anti-Israeli events that had been published through Facebook inviting participation all over the world (Nakhba Day, Land Day, Day of Solidarity with the Palestinians, Jerusalem Day) did not succeed in attracting mass and widely supported demonstrations, and sometimes failed to proceed at all. Accordingly, neither was there any catalyst for Antisemitic incidents. This was a contrast with the previous year, in particular after the Gaza flotilla which had given rise to the mass demonstrations and significant increase in the level of Antisemitism worldwide.
At the same time, the activity of the BDS was a prominent and increasing feature worldwide, which took the form of calls and demonstrations for an economic-trade and academic boycott of Israeli companies and institutions. Events organized by the movement throughout the world attracted a high degree of acceptance and support among various trade unions.
The BDS policy was characterized by a strategy of the promotion of events and demonstrations on dates that it had prescribed and the highlighting of all the delegitimization activity which until this year had been characterized by reacting to specific events in the Middle East (such as the Gaza flotilla).
This year was noteworthy for the prominent featuring of the activity of extreme left-wing movements with a socio-economic agenda, fighting the capitalists and demonstrating together with the BDS movement against Israeli-owned shops, such as "Max Brenner" or "Ahava", both of whom are viewed as "part of the apartheid regime". Antisemitism was also expressed in terms of the "OCCUPY WALL STREET" movement, in the course of whose demonstrations in New York the Jews were blamed for the economic crisis in the USA, and also against the Israeli occupation in Gaza.
PUBLIC OPINION POLLS ON THE SUBJECT OF ANTISEMITISM
Public opinion surveys (among adults and youth) on the subject of Antisemitism and the attitude to Jews, conducted in various countries from towards the end of 2010 until December 2011, only enable a presentation to be made of generalized statements, the main points of which are:
- The level of Antisemitism (both of an overt and latent nature) in most of the countries is high, and is expressed on various levels (hate, negative views, loathing and so forth).
- The public at large (tens of percentage points, varying from country to country) hold traditional Antisemitic views as to the identification between the Jews and money, control, power and influence (the expression of these sentiments intensifies during periods of economic instability and high rates of unemployment), as well as the belief that the Jews have a dual loyalty, to Israel and to the countries of their birth.
- It appears that among the youth/school students, a higher percentage than those of other population groups, hold negative opinions about Jews.
- The main means employed in the dissemination of the Antisemitic ideology, propaganda and messages, are the internet and the social networks, with the material that is distributed through them being unprecedented in volumes/amounts with easy access to them, and thus they have a wide range of exposure to and influence on public opinion.
- Spain - was found to be the worst place in terms of Antisemitism, despite the fact that only 0.2 percent of the population are Jews.
- Germany - a report for the Bundestag: one-fifth of the Germans are Antisemites.
- USA - a survey of the Anti-Defamation League reveals that Antisemitic views are onthe increase.
- Italy - Antisemitism is on the increase among young people in Italy.