Number of violent anti-Semitic attacks worldwide dropped in 2017, report finds
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Number of violent anti-Semitic attacks worldwide dropped in 2017, report finds

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Violent anti-Semitic attacks worldwide directed against Jewish communities, Jewish people and their property decreased by about 9 percent in 2017, according to an annual report.

There were 327 cases in 2017 compared to 361 in 2016, according to the annual “Antisemitism Worldwide” report by the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University.

The data were published Wednesday, on the eve of Israel’s national day of remembrance of the Holocaust. This year’s 103-page report is a global overview combining surveys from recognized watchdogs from dozens of countries, including nearly all European Union member states.

The figures for 2017 do not include some cases of extreme violence in France, including that of Sarah Halimi, a Jewish woman who was thrown out of her apartment window to her death. The incidents are still being studied, according to the report.

The violent incidents in France have continued into 2018 with the murder of Holocaust survivor of Mireille Knoll, 85, who was stabbed and burned in her apartment.

During the years 2006 to 2014, the violent cases worldwide numbered between 600 to 700 per year, according to the report, but have decreased in recent years to between 300 to 400.

“But it should be emphasized that some of the recent violent cases have been perpetrated more brutally, causing more harm,” the report said. “And most important – this decrease is overshadowed by what is seen by the Jewish communities as a dramatic increase in all other forms of anti-Semitic manifestations, many of which are not even reported, most notably harassment in and on social media.

“The most disturbing finding, as in 2016, is the prevalent ominous feeling of insecurity among Jews in Europe, recently intensified by the murder of two women in their homes in Paris. The anti-Semitism atmosphere has become a public arena issue, intensively dealt with vis-a-vis a triangle made of the constant rise of the extreme right, a heated anti- Zionist discourse in the left, accompanied by harsh anti-Semitic expressions and radical Islamism.”

The last weeks of 2017 were characterized by a large number of anti-Semitic events worldwide, with the recognition by President Donald Trump of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel said to be the catalyst, according to the report. Demonstrations against the recognition included attacks on Jews, anti-Semitic slogans including calls for murder and the burning of the Israeli flag.

“The religious dimension of classic, traditional antisemitism has returned, and the term ‘Jew’ has become an insult,” Dr. Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, said in a statement about the report.

He added: “There has been an increase in open, unashamed and explicit hatred directed against Jews. The Jew as exploiter, the Jew as killer, the Jew as banker. It is like we have regressed 100 years.”