Czech Jews document tripling of online anti-Semitism

(JTA) — The Jewish Community of Prague documented a tripling of online instances of anti-Semitic hate speech last year.

The increase, which the community links to a Jewish politician’s presidential bid, among other factors, was documented in an annual report on anti-Semitism published Tuesday.

The community documented 82 instances of online hate speech on Czech websites in the last year, compared to only 26 the previous year.

According to idnes.cz, a news site, the report attributes the increase to the presidential campaign ahead of elections last January. Jan Fischer, a Jewish politician, was considered a leading candidate but did not make it past the first round.

“The presidential elections have revealed a degree of latent anti-Semitism in some groups, but certainly did not indicate anti-Semitism in the majority or mainstream political speech,” the authors of the report wrote.

Other causes listed were a strategic shift in extreme-right circles to online activity; escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; and warm relations between the Czech government and Israel, idnes.cz reported.

The authors recorded no physical assault or threats due to anti-Semitism in 2012, but did register six attacks on property and ten instances of harassment, mainly via email. The report further states that the overall prevalence of anti-Semitism is lower in the Czech Republic than in other European countries.

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