Israeli Cabinet Hears Report on Global Rise in Anti-semitism
Menu JTA Search

Israeli Cabinet Hears Report on Global Rise in Anti-semitism

Download PDF for this date

Israel may issue a white paper on the prevalence of anti-Semitism in the world.

Foreign Minister David Levy made the suggestion after hearing a gloomy report on the rise of anti-Semitism in the United States and Europe during the past year.

Levy’s idea was presented to the Cabinet by its secretary, Elyakim Rubinstein, who chairs the interministerial forum that monitors anti-Semitic phenomena around the world.

For diplomatic reasons, Rubinstein did not go into details or point to guilty parties, which in the opinion of the forum contributed to intensifying anti-Semitic expressions, the Israeli daily Davar reported.

But his report was sufficiently explicit to draw an official expression of concern from the Cabinet over “the increase in anti-Semitic manifestations and occurrences in many places in the world.”

The Cabinet’s statement cited “denial of the Holocaust; public and media expressions of anti-Semitism; and various types of violence, even murder.”

Rubinstein said that whereas a few years ago only isolated reports of anti-Semitism were recorded from week to week, hardly a day goes by now when at least four cases are not reported.

He explained that 1991 was a year of worldwide crises and pressures which influenced the growth of anti-Semitism. He attributed it in large measure to ethnic strife, the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and the strengthening of right-wing organizations.

Rubinstein said Israeli embassies all over the world have raised the issue with their host governments, and generally their approaches were welcomed.

Rubinstein saw a link between anti-Semitism in the United States and the current crisis in relations between Israel and the Bush administration.


But as Davar pointed out, he did not include in the context of his report President Bush’s speech last September depicting himself as beleaguered by an all-powerful Jewish lobby over the issue of loan guarantees for Israel.

He noted, however, that there is a link between the U.S.-Israeli political situation and the eruption of anti-Semitism in the United States last year.

He cited the latest report of the Anti-Defamation League, which recorded a rise of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States for the fifth straight year. They numbered 1,879 in 1991.

Rubinstein’s report referred to the murder of a Hasidic Jew in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, a mixed neighborhood of Orthodox Jews and blacks where racial tension runs high.

He noted that for the first time, cries of “death to the Jews” were heard.

The Cabinet secretary also spoke of a campaign to deny the Holocaust that is being conducted on the pages of campus newspapers at several American universities.

Turning to Eastern Europe, which is undergoing political upheavals after the sudden demise of communism, Rubinstein said anti-Semitism is being fueled by a return to nationalist concepts that were prevalent in the 1930s.

Until the Soviet Union ceased to exist at the end of last year, nationalist movements in the Ukraine and the Baltic republics showed sympathy for Jews. But this has changed, he said.

In some quarters, the reputations of Nazi collaborators have been rehabilitated because they fought communism, Rubinstein pointed out.

Icons are now being made of such World War II pro-Nazi leaders as Ion Antonescu, the fascist dictator of Romania, and Father Jozef Tiso, Adolf Hitler’s handpicked leader of the puppet state of Slovakia, who was hanged as a war criminal.

In Russia and other republics of the former Soviet Union, Jews are blamed by anti-Communists for having brought communism while supporters of Communist rule blame them for its downfall, Rubinstein said.

Anti-Semitism in the Moslem republics has arisen as a result of the resurgence of Islam.

In Russia, there are 400 political and social organizations with anti-Semitic messages, the Cabinet secretary reported.

But the governments of the republics relate to their Jewish populations as a “bridge” to Israel and the West.

Consequently, Jews are not threatened by those governments, Rubinstein said.

In Western Europe, he pointed to the growing power of neo-fascist parties and severe xenophobia.

In France, regional elections held this week were success stories for the National Front, led by Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Although neo-Nazi parties in Germany have been weakened in recent elections, the right-wing Freedom Party in Austria gained strength in the latest balloting in that country.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund