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Monitoring antisemitism – main findings for 2017-2019

Prof. Dina Porat
Having spoken about antisemitism in the year 2016, let us continue by saying that the year 2017 had some characteristics regarding antisemitism worldwide that were similar to 2016. But still antisemitism not on the violent level but on the level of the verbal, the visual, the insults, harassment, threat etc. 2017 was worse than 2016. And if we go on and try to present 2018, even the beginning of 2019, we do see a continuation of this rise and increase in a negative atmosphere from which Jews suffer the most and they suffer from these threats, harassment, insults and especially especially on the social nets more than they do from actual violence.
Still violent antisemitic cases in 2018 rose by at least 10 per cent to a number of 387 as far as we could monitor - the major ones, the severe ones - in the Kantor center in Tel Aviv. The matter is that the feeling of Jews that they are insecure, that they are physically insecure because of the increasing violence, that they don’t belong anymore as they did before to the society around them, even not to the political parties that they were part of, that were their political homes such as the Labour, the Democratic party in the US., a feeling that taboos were broken, and anyone can say anything including “Jews to the gas” and “Death to the Zionists” freely and openly and that antisemitism has infiltrated to the center of society.
It’s no more a matter of the triangle of the fringes - Extreme Right, Radical Left, fanatic Islamists. It’s in the center of society. A report of the French Ministry of the Interior that was published together with the Jewish Community says - antisemitism has become “quotidien” - it is an every day matter. There is not a day without an antisemitic act of all kinds of course. Also antisemitism has infiltrated not only to the center but from the public space into the private space. The ADL has mentioned a 16% increase in 2018 in cases perpetrated in the private space.
The countries, the communities and the countries have also their own monitoring and their monitoring shows that cases of antisemitism of all types, not just violence, of all types have risen for instance in Australia by 60%, in Italy by 60 %, in France by 54 %. So we see a rise in the overall phenomenon. We also see a rise, according to what we saw, in the number of attacks against people. You cannot go around protecting persons and private property. So there are more attacks against persons and private property - less protected. There are a bit less towards Jewish community centers- synagogues etc. which are places that are more protected. But still there are.
And the monuments and cemeteries are a traditional target. One has to say that this feeling of Jews, as we described (it), and the numbers are fully corroborated by a number of large-scope of surveys that have taken place towards the end of the year 2018 with tens of thousands of interviewees - the FRA, the CNN. FRA is Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Union, the CNN and the Euro Barometer also of the European Union complementing the former one. I would say that at least about 45,000 people, both Jews and non-Jews, have been asked and the findings corroborate the feeling of Jews that it (antisemitism) is on the rise, that it is a major problem.
And here is a number that is a bit alarming and this is that all the surveys found that Jews do not report to any authority, whether it is a state authority or community - their community officials - about some 75-80% of the cases, which means that what we monitor is about 20% of reality, which means that reality is far worse than we can see according to numbers. Let us add two more points. One is that despite the gloomy picture there are achievements.
One should say fairly that administrations, and governments, and leaders know and acknowledge that antisemitism is on their table as a problem, especially Western and Central Europe and it is there to be dealt with by the surveys that were generously financed, by adopting the working definition of antisemitism, by giving more budgets, allocating more budgets to the security of Jews and the EU has even come out on December 2018 with a commitment to struggle against antisemitism, to find new ways to do that and to secure the Jewish communities. A last question is why? Why is it on the rise?
And why do we see a worsening of the situation in 2019 - the first half, almost the first half even, more than 2018? And we see cases in the United States such as eleven people killed, Jews killed in Pittsburgh, and the killing in San Diego and others. What is the complex of reasons? And I would say that one should put all the reasons together in order to understand and not differentiate between them. There is, to put it concisely, rampant ignorance among youngsters, much much less interest in history. They know nothing, almost close to nothing. 2% according to these surveys, 2% of the youngsters are interested in history or know something about WWII etc, certainly not about the Middle East.
They don’t know where exactly Israel is on the map; who exactly were the Nazis etc. etc. Rampant ignorance and less commitment of the third generation - we are now 75-80 years after the Holocaust - much less commitment to right the wrongs of the past. There is also a very changing political scene, the extreme Right and Right in general are gaining power especially due to the crisis around the immigrants who came, and they get more votes because of telling society that these immigrants are taking their place and they are a danger to society. You have the Left and the extreme Left that blames Israel and the Jews who support Israel, for the plight of the Palestinians.
You have a crisis of democracy. You have an image of the Jew that is again a negative one, a conspiring and greedy one that wishes to dominate the world because of the strengthening of classic antisemitism. And why is that? Because more political conflicts are imbued with a religious factor. So all in all, the situation right now is not a promising one.
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Antisemitism: From Its Origins to the Present

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