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Tel Aviv University study finds worldwide drop in anti-Semitism

JERUSALEM, May 4 (JTA) — Violent anti-Semitic incidents dropped around the world last year, but anti-Semitic propaganda continues to proliferate, especially on the Internet, a report released this week concluded. Major anti-Semitic attacks — including shootings, firebombs and arson — declined from 41 in 1995 to 32 last year, according to the annual “Anti-Semitism Worldwide” report, prepared by Dina Porat of Tel Aviv University. In 1994, the study found 72 such incidents. The report, published Sunday on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel, was co-sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League and the World Jewish Congress. Along with the drop in major attacks, the report found a drop last year in anti-Semitic vandalism. The only country where the report found an increase in anti-Semitic incidents in 1996 was Australia, which posted a 12 percent increase over the previous year. But the report noted a growth in the dissemination of anti-Semitic propaganda over the Internet, saying there were 39 World Wide Web sites that were overtly anti-Semitic. The authors of the report said the drop in violent incidents could be attributed to better worldwide enforcement of anti-terror laws. In the United States, the report said, there was a 17 percent decline in anti-Semitic incidents since 1994. The report also found a decline in Europe, but warned of the rising popularity of extreme right-wing parties there, including the National Front in France and Jorg Haider’s Freedom Party in Austria. In Switzerland, which has come under international pressure to determine the whereabouts of assets deposited by Holocaust victims in Swiss banks during the war, the report found an increase last year in anti-Semitic propaganda.