A new report released by the Israeli Ministry for Information and the Diaspora has uncovered that there has been “an alarming rise in the number of terrorist attacks and attempted attacks against Jewish targets and an escalation in violent incidents against Jews throughout the world” in 2012. This is especially the case regarding groups that identify themselves as Islamists or part of the far right. However, there has also been an increase in the number of street attacks and cases of verbal and physical assaults against Jews in Europe, as well as the United States, Canada, and Australia.
This year’s report opens up with a discussion of the terror attack that targeted the Otzar Ha-Torah Jewish School in Toulouse, France in March 2012. According to the report, “The attack on the school in Toulouse was a painful reminder of the danger of terrorism that is hovering over Jewish communities, both on the part of radical Islam and the extreme right.” During this particular violent incident, Rabbi Yonatan Sandler and his sons Aryeh, 6, and Gavriel, 3.5, were murdered alongside four other people. Five more were injured, four of them seriously. The perpetrator, Mohammed Merah, was a 23-year-old Islamist of Algerian origin who had familial connections to Al Qaeda. Merah himself admitted that anti-semitism was his reason for attacking the French Jewish Otzar Ha-Torah School. Unfortunately, following the Toulouse terror attack, the report claims that anti-semitism in France rose by 45 percent.
The report also notes the dangers posed to the Greek Jewish community by the rise of the Greek Neo-Nazis Golden Dawn Party. Evidently, for every member of the Greek Jewish community, there are 100 Greek citizens who support the ideology of the Golden Dawn Party. The Golden Dawn Party presently controls 18 out of 300 seats in the Greek Parliament and presently enjoys the support of 22 percent of the Greek population. The Golden Dawn Party denies the Holocaust, frequently gives out Nazi salutes, refers to Israel as a “Zionist terror state,” and has members who publicly read out passages from the anti-semitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Since their rise, there has been a reported increase in violent incidents directed against foreigners and minority groups in Greece.
In addition, the report mentions how the anti-semitic Jobbik Party threatens the Jewish community in Hungary. The Jobbik Party has called for a list to be compiled of Hungarian Jewish citizens whom the Jobbik Party views to be a “security risk.” This list specifically targeted Hungarian Jews who possessed duel citizenship, as well as Hungarian Jewish law-makers and government members. The Jobbik Party has openly questioned the existence of the Holocaust, accused Jews of colonizing Hungary, and has worked to build up ties with Iran.
On top of that, the report cited the desecration of Jewish memorials, cemeteries, synagogues, and other properties associated with the Jewish community in countries ranging from Venezuela to Russia. According to the report, “In Germany, a Jewish cemetery is vandalized every week.”
As for the Muslim world, the report claims that the situation has not worsened since the last year, despite Operation Pillar of Defense. According to the report, “This is most likely because the operation lasted only a few days, the number of victims on the Palestinian side was relatively low, and public opinion in the Arab world was focused on problems in Syria and Egypt.” Nevertheless, the report does mention how the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood to power in Egypt does pose a threat for the Jewish world and noted that as sanctions against Iran grow more intense, so does the level of anti-semitism coming out of the Iranian religious leadership.
By Rachel Avraham