by Dan Lavie and Israel Hayom Staff
Several tens of thousands of Jews have relocated in recent years, in what authors call "internal exodus."
A Jewish cemetery in Brumath, France, vandalized with Nazi symbolsIllustration: RTXN0PC
Anti-Semitic expressions in the public sphere saw a rise in 2017 even as acts of physical violence toward Jews continued to drop, the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University said in a report published Wednesday.
The report noted a particularly dramatic spike in anti-Semitic comments and abuse in schools and across social media. This anti-Semitism is attributed in the report to three primary factors: the rise of the extreme Right; the heightened anti-Zionist discourse among the Left, which is often accompanied by expressions of anti-Semitism; and radical Islam.
"Jews were especially exposed on social media, to direct threats, pestering, harassment, derision and calls to harm Jews in the workplace. In schools, universities, soccer stadiums, at street rallies, near Jewish institutions," the Kantor Center report said.
The Center, meanwhile, documented 327 cases of anti-Semitic acts across the globe in 2017, compared to 361 in 2016.
The excuse: Trump's declaration
The authors of the report stressed that the source of anti-Semitic incidents was not relegated to Muslim and Arab circles or organizations. Other groups with no such affiliations from across the political spectrum have held protest rallies expressing anger over a wide range of political developments completely unrelated to the issue of Jerusalem or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – which has fostered a sense of insecurity among Jews and concerns pertaining to the erosion of Jewish communal life. These feelings were reinforced by the murders of Sarah Halimi and Mireille Knoll in their homes in Paris.
The final weeks of 2017 (and initial months of 2018) were characterized by a large number of anti-Semitic incidents across the globe. U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital in December of 2017 either motivated or was used as an excuse for these incidents. Angry protests featuring anti-Semitic slogans and even calls for killing Jews and burning the Israeli flag were not carried out solely by Muslim or Arab groups.
In 2017, 65% of violent anti-Semitic incidents involved damaging property (214 cases); threats comprised 24% of the incidents (64 cases); followed by cases involving blunt weapons or arson.
France marked a 7.2% overall decrease in the number of incidents but saw a rise in violent anti-Semitic acts, which jumped from 77 in 2016 to 97 in 2017. Several tens of thousands of Jews in recent years have relocated homes in their respective countries, in what the authors of the report called an "internal exodus."
Another disconcerting trend the authors of the report point to is the growing strength of the far Right in several European countries and in the United States. The success of the far Right, meanwhile, can serve as a distraction from the rise in anti-Semitism among leftist groups – such as the BDS movement and ANTIFA and within the British Labour Party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbin – which support radical Muslim and anti-Zionist viewpoints.
Leaders and governments declare their support for Israel and the Jewish community, but "as time passes and the Second World War and Holocaust increasingly belong to the distant past, so wanes the commitment to the safety of Jews and Israel among the younger generations," the report said.
Dan Lavie and Israel Hayom Staff
Follow Middle East and Terrorism on Twitter
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.