Anti-Semitism attacks in Belgium highest since 2009


(JTA) — The number of anti-Semitic attacks reported last year in Belgium reached its highest level since 2009, according to an annual report.

Anti-racism volunteers registered 80 anti-Semitic incidents throughout Belgium in 2012, according to a report released this month by the Antisemitsm.Be watchdog group. The figure represents a 23 percent increase over 2011.

The 80 attacks was the most recorded by the group since 2000 with the exception of some 100 attacks in 2009, when an Israeli military campaign against Hamas triggered a massive leap in anti-Semitic attacks worldwide.

The authors of the report wrote that the number of incidents reported last year constitute a 34 percent increase from the per annum average of the past 12 years.

The increase, the authors wrote, owes to a noticeable spike in attacks following  the murder of four Jews by a Muslim extremist in Toulouse, France, in March 2012.

Five of the incidents involved physical attacks, three of which occurred in Antwerp. Thirteen incidents were acts of vandalism against Jewish institutions, and 30 incidents involved threats made online.

In neighboring Holland, the Anne Frank Foundation released a report last month that said one in every three teachers in higher education has witnessed anti-Semitic incidents in the past year. The report was based on the answers of 973 teachers to a survey conducted this year.

Many incidents are soccer-related, the report indicated. Anti-Semitic acts in connection with Israel and Holocaust denial also were common, the report said.

Last May, the Hague-based Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, or CIDI, reported a significant rise in reports of soccer-related anti-Semitism.

In February, CIDI urged the Dutch education ministry to research anti-Semitism in high schools.

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