Survey: Sharp rise in anti-Semitism in 2009

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A new survey shows that anti-Semitism rose sharply in early 2009 after a decrease in 2008.

The survey, conducted by the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism at Tel Aviv University in cooperation with the European Jewish Congress, was released Monday on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day and at the start of the Durban II anti-racism conference.

The start of Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip on Dec. 27, 2008, brought into 2009 a wave of anti-Semitic manifestations throughout the world, the report said.

The anti-Semitic incidents included both violent incidents such as arson attacks on synagogues, assaults on Jewish individuals, desecration of cemeteries, and vandalizing of Jewish property and Holocaust monuments, as well as verbal and visual expressions such as insults, threats, caricatures and violent demonstrations. Although most of these activities featured traditional anti-Semitic motifs, their use was more extreme, intensive and vociferous than in the past, the report said.

The survey’s authors estimate that there were close to 1,000 manifestations of all types of anti-Semitism throughout the world in January. Many of the anti-Semitic incidents used Holocaust motifs instead of classic Jewish stereotyping.

Anti-Semitic incidents in 2008 decreased by 11 percent compared to 2007, according to the study. A decline was recorded in Britain, Canada and Australia, but Belgium, the United States, Hungary, Italy and Lithuania reported increases. Violent incidents, including attacks on individuals, decreased, while threats, insults, graffiti and slogans rose.

The economic crisis that began in the summer also triggered anti-Jewish reactions, most notably in Eastern Europe and the Arab world.

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