A report published by Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry has noted a 30 percent increase in anti-semitic violence and vandalism in 2012. According to the report, this past year has witnessed “an alarming rise in the number of terrorist attacks and attempted attacks against Jewish targets, and an escalation in violent incidents against Jews worldwide.” Evidently, 686 anti-semitic incidents took place in 2012, while only 526 such events occurred in 2011. 273 cases involved physical violence against Jews, while 190 referred to vandalism targeting Jewish synagogues, monuments and tombstones. 200 Jewish communal buildings were also attacked in 2012.
France had the most attacks. While 315 were recorded in 2012, only 177 anti-semitic incidents occurred in France in 2011. Next was the United States with 99 cases, the United Kingdom with 84, Canada with 74 and Australia with 53. The report blames the huge upsurge in anti-semitic incidents within France on the terror attack that occurred at the Otzar Hatorah School in Toulouse, which led to the murder of a rabbi and three children just because they were Jewish. “The overall total was influenced by a substantial growth in violence in France, particularly following the terror attack on the Ozar Hatorah School in Toulouse, as well as in Hungary, the U.K., Germany and Australia,” Moshe Kantor, President of the European Jewish Congress.
Other notable anti-semitic incidents in France that occurred in 2012 included a Jewish high school teacher being targeted with an acid bomb by anti-semitic students in Istres; a Jewish family celebrating Sukkot being attacked by stone-throwers reciting the chant “Dirty Jews, we’ll get you – Jews we’ll have your skin – Get out of here – Go back home” in Seine St. Dennis; a firebomb being thrown at a kosher supermarket in Sarcelles; a 17-year-old Jewish girl getting beaten up while her attacker yelled “Dirty Jew, I’m going to put you in the ground.”
The report noted that also a “correlation was observed between the political strengthening of extreme right parties and the high level of anti-Semitic manifestations including incidents of violence and vandalism.” Hungary was mentioned as the most troubling example, although Greece and Ukraine were also referred to as problematic. According to Kantor, last year “will be remembered as the year where political Nazism returned to European parliaments in force.” He continued, “The Jobbik party in Hungary, the Golden Dawn in Greece and Svoboda in Ukraine are not mere far-right-wing parties. … These neo-Nazi parties have crossed all red lines on a continent where we would hope never to see again an openhanded salute, swastika-like symbols and the demand for Jews to be listed.”
In both the Hungarian and Greek Parliaments, Neo-Nazis parliamentarians have read from anti-semitic texts during debates, such as the Protocals of the Learned Elders of Zion. According to the Anti-Defemation League, these Neo-Nazis political parties “political platforms are anti-democratic manifestos of racial purity, their anti-Semitism is blatant, and” the Neo-Nazis parties in Hungary and Greece “have uniformed militias that assault minorities. Unlike other xenophobic parties, they don’t want to join the mainstream, but to upend it.” As Cantor proclaimed, “The increase is clear. As a Jewish leader, I feel the danger to the communities, to people who walk the streets, to synagogues and to Jewish schools. This is a completely new phenomenon, and we see many incidents which didn’t happen before. The fact that neo-Nazis are now legal in Europe is a phenomenon which should be noted.”
The Anti-Defemation League has claimed that the percentage of Hungarians holding anti-semitic views have risen from 47 percent in 2009 to 63 percent in 2012. In the EU in general, 30 percent of the population possesses anti-semitic beliefs. Anti-semitic incidents that occurred in Hungary in 2012 include but are not limited to members of the Jobbik Party discussing during a parliamentary session registering Hungarian Parliament members who are Jewish or of Jewish origin; the main Holocaust memorial in Budapest being vandalized with the words “This is not your country, dirty Jews. You are going to be shot there;” the desecration of a Jewish Menorah in Nagykanizsa commemorating the Holocaust; and the chanting of “dirty Jews” at a soccer match broadcast on Hungarian television.
Similarly, in Greece, a 2000 Eurobarometer survey found that Greeks had the highest level of xenophobia within the European Union at that particular time. Evidently, 38 percent of the Greek population back then was troubled by the presence of people of other nationalities within their country. This survey was taken before the rise of the Neo-Nazis Golden Dawn Party, which presently is the fourth largest political party in Greece and enjoys the popular support of 14 percent of the Greek population. If elections were held today, it would be the third largest party within Greece. This means that for every Jew who presently lives in Greece, there are 100 Greeks who voted for the Neo-Nazis Golden Dawn Party. Golden Dawn’s leader, Nikolaos Michaloliakos, is a Holocaust denier and frequently gives the Nazi salute. Furthermore, a Holocaust Memorial in Rhodes has been vandalized with swastikas in 2012.
To learn more about how horrible the Neo-Nazis Golden Dawn Party is, please watch this video!
By Rachel Avraham