Kantor Center Reports on Surging Global Anti-Semitism

kantor-center-logoThe 2014 Kantor Center annual report highlights a 38% worldwide increase in violent anti-Semitic incidents compared to 2013. The Kantor Center, based at Tel Aviv University, specializes in contemporary European Jewry and publishes an annual detailed report on anti-Semitism worldwide.

According to this data, 2014 is the second worst year for anti-Semitism in the last decade, with an increase of 554 reported violent anti-Semitic acts in 2013, to 766 in 2014.

Contrary to many anti-Semitism reports taking into account all forms of anti-Semitism, this report focuses solely on the violent acts, making the numbers even more frightening. Violent anti-Semitic incidents are characterized as, “with or without weapons and by arson, vandalism or direct threats against Jewish persons or institutions such as synagogues, community centers, schools, cemeteries and monuments as well as private property.” 

The below graph shows the worldwide evolution of violent anti-Semitic incidents since 1989. It shows a clear continuous upsurge of violence against Jews throughout the years, an increase of 882% in 25 years.

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Between 2013 and 2014 alone, there was an increase of 38%. Arson against Jews tripled, there was a 66% increase in Jews targeted in attacks (306 people in 2014), a 70% increase in synagogue attacks (114 attacks); and a 100% increase against Jewish property and institutions with weapons.

Worldwide, France has the highest number of violent anti-Semitic attacks for the third consecutive year, with 164 violent anti-Semitic attacks in 2014 as compared to 141 in 2013. The United Kingdom comes in second, with 141 violent anti-Semitic attacks in 2014 as compared to 95 in 2013, and the United States in third, with 80 violent anti-Semitics attacks in 2014 as compared to 55 in 2013.

Violent anti-Semitic attacks increased, and often more than doubled, in many countries throughout the world: Australia (30 vs. 11), Germany (76 vs. 36), Austria (9 vs. 4), Italy (23 vs. 12), Sweden (17 vs. 3), Belgium (30 vs. 11) and South Africa (14 vs. 1).

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UK Report on Anti-Semitism Highlights Rising Tide and Government’s Strides

By Dilia Zwart and Kenny Liebowitz

The UK Home Secretary Theresa May recently proclaimed, “We must all redouble our efforts to wipe out anti-Semitism.” Her call to action came during a memorial service in London to remember those killed in the terror attacks in France this month, including four people in a kosher supermarket.

May urged the UK to increase efforts to combat anti-Semitism so that Jewish citizens would feel safe in the country. Her call to action reaffirms the UK’s commitment to combat anti-Semitism – seen also in a report on anti-Semitism the UK government issued last month.

UKPostPictureThe report detailed the government’s strategy for and progress in stemming the rising tide of anti-Semitism within Britain’s borders. Yet while the report and May’s affirmation are important steps forward in the fight against anti-Semitism, thegovernment should be criticized for not going far enough in defining the contours of anti-Semitism.

The report summarizes the UK government’s past and ongoing efforts to address five aspects of anti-Semitic activity: anti-Semitic incidents, anti-Semitic discourse, sources of contemporary anti-Semitism, anti-Semitism on campus, and addressing anti-Semitism. Furthermore, it details the UK government’s efforts to improve the quality and efficiency of hate crime prosecution, combat the use of the Internet to spread hate messages, and address anti-Semitism on school campuses.

But to assess and effectively fight anti-Semitism, it is important to define what constitutes actionable offenses; yet the report asserts the government has no intention to formally adopt the working definition it encourages other government and law enforcement agencies to adopt from the European Union Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC).

The EUMC, now named Fundamental Rights Agency, is an organization that provides data on racism, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism in Europe, developed and disseminated a working definition of anti-Semitism in 2005. The definition included several examples of anti-Semitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere, as well as examples of ways in which anti-Semitism manifests itself with regard to the State of Israel. Although EUMC’s successor agency no longer includes the definition on its website, the definition and its examples remain influential throughout the world.

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