Belgium reports 30 percent rise in anti-Semitism complaints

(JTA) — Belgium saw a 30-percent increase in the number of anti-Semitic complaints filed in 2012, according to a government agency.

Edouard Delruelle, president of the Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism, a Belgian government agency, said his organization documented 88 complaints of anti-Semitism in 2012, compared to 62 the previous year and 57 in 2010.

“The Jewish community is right to be concerned,” Delruelle told the Belgian daily  La Derniere Heure in a Feb. 21 article. “The figures show that anti-Semitism persists in Belgium."

He said that while 88 incidents may seem negligible, "These figures are merely indicative, the tip of the iceberg, because many victims do not complain.”

The figures for 2012 include 11 cases of vandalism, 15 verbal assaults on the street, 13 Holocaust denials and 28 insults made online. Other attacks included intimidation and harassment.

Delruelle said that the figures correspond to the 58 percent rise in anti-Semitic incidents in France documented in a report by the SPCJ, the French-Jewish security unit, that was released this week.

The French report said 614 anti-Semitic attacks were documented in France in 2012 compared to 389 in 2011.

France has a Jewish population of approximately half a million compared to Belgium’s estimated 40,000 Jews.

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