Anti-semitism in Europe is Countered by Widely Varying Means

To combat anti-Semitism in Europe, authorities have employed a broad variety of techniques ranging from deleting the telephone listings of an anti-Jewish organization in a local directory in Sweden, to mass police raids on the homes of suspected neo-Nazis in Germany, a World Jewish Congress study finds.

In a report released here by the WJC research arm, the Institute of Jewish Affairs, a survey of the results of 18 months of monitoring legal trends in the fight against anti-Semitism is detailed. The survey reveals measures to combat anti-Semitism of a wide scope and some which are “startlingly inventive.”

The study cites the example of the state telephone company of Sweden which removed the registration in the local directory of the publication “Jewish Information,” an anti-Jewish propaganda bulletin. Using a similar administrative measure, Spanish authorities suspended the driving licenses of some 1,500 rightwing extremists who drove around Madrid with banners during a demonstration.

In The Netherlands, the newspaper “Trouw” (Loyalty) published an offensive article about the Israeli basketball team, Maccabi, which contained 25 references to Jewish and Zionist “money”, “power”, and “conspiracy”. A complaint to the Dutch Council of Journalists resulted in the stigma of censure against the article which the Council noted was “ill-considered and could be interpreted as tending toward anti-Semitism”.

Germany and Britain have banned marches of racist and anti-Semitic groups and have also denied them assembly facilities. In addition, the German government has staged police raids on the homes of suspected neo-Nazis in which large stocks of weapons, Nazi uniforms and insignia were impounded.

Belgium and France have banned organizations of a neo-Nazi character and which were engaged in para-military activities. Publications inciting hatred against Jews were also banned and seized in a number of European countries.

LEGISLATION AGAINST RACIAL BIAS AND HATRED

Several countries have introduced legislation strengthening laws against discrimination or racial hatred and court proceedings against individuals accused of such crimes have taken place in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Of particular significance were trials and the convictions in several countries of individuals who had sought to deny the occurrence of the Holocaust. The report, however, warns of a disturbingly increasing number of such trials that resulted in acquittals.

It cited a case before the Higher District Court in Celle, West Germany, which ruled: “Those who deny that there were mass gassings are not guilty of incitement of racial hatred. They are only insulting Jewish honor.”

The WJC study, “Anti-Semitism and the Law,” was prepared by Michael May, director of the Institute’s research and documentation unit on international anti-Semitism.

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