JERUSALEM (JTA) — Global anti-Semitism increased by 30 percent in 2012 over the previous year, an annual report found.
Following two years of decline, there was a "considerable escalation" in the level of violent acts and vandalism against Jews in 2012, according to the global anti-Semitism report for 2012 presented Sunday by the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University.
The report, which was presented on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, showed there were 686 violent acts and vandalism, up from 526 in 2011. They include 273 attacks on people, including 50 with a weapon, 166 direct threats on lives, and the desecration of 190 synagogues, cemeteries and monuments.
France had the most attacks with 200, up from the 114 in 2011. Next was the United States with 99; the United Kingdom, 84; Canada, 74; and Australia, 53.
The report said the increase was due in part to the terror attack on the Otzar Hatorah school in Toulouse in March, which killed a rabbi and three children and led to a series of copycat incidents against the Jewish community in France. Also, Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza, which led to a short-lived increase in anti-Semitic acts; and an escalation in the activities of the extreme right wing and the strengthening of parties with a clear anti-Semitic agenda, notably in Hungary and Greece, as well as in Ukraine.
During a news conference Sunday to release the report’s results, Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, identified Hungary as experiencing the most worrying racist and anti-Semitic trends in Europe.
“There are extremely worrying signs emanating from Hungary at the moment where barely a week passes without an attack on minorities or outrageous comments from far-right politicians,” Kantor said. “Unfortunately, red lines keep being crossed and there needs to be an extremely strong reaction, both from the Hungarian government and the European Union to push back against these phenomena.
Kantor called for "a policy of ‘zero tolerance’ for racism.”
“We are reaching out to the leaders in Hungary and the EU and calling for the initiation of hearings in relevant committees because this situation cannot continue,” he said.