Violent attacks against Jews worldwide spiked 13% in 2018

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The U.S. saw highest number of cases – over 100 – of severe violence against Jews in the world, annual Tel Aviv University Kantor Center study reports

Thirteen Jews were murdered in the world in 2018, and the number of other major violent anti-Semitic attacks, including assault, vandalism and arson, spiked 13% from 342 to 387 incidents worldwide. The U.S. registered the highest number of violent attacks on Jews – over 100 cases – followed by the U.K. at 68 incidents and France and Germany, both of which respectively saw 35 violent attacks on Jews in 2018, according to the annual report by Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry, published on Wednesday, May 1st.

The report did not include figures from the recent attack near San Diego on the Chabad of Poway Synagogue, in which one woman was killed and three others wounded.

A state of emergency

“There is a growing sense that Jewish people in many countries are living in a state of emergency,” Prof. Dina Porat, Head of the Kantor Center and Chief Historian of Yad Vashem told reporters at a press conference held at Tel Aviv University on Wednesday. “Physical insecurity and the questioning of their place in society and in the parties that were once their political home are more prevalent than ever.”

“Anti-Semitism peaked recently in a manner that casts doubt on the very existence of Jews in many parts of the world,” Dr. Moshe Kantor, President of the Jewish European Congress, was quoted as saying in a press release. “As we have seen following the second mass shooting incident at a U.S. synagogue, many parts of the world are no longer safe for Jews as we though they were in the past.”

The Kantor Center’s annual report, a global overview of anti-Semitic incidents, is based on surveys conducted by recognized watchdogs from dozens of countries, including nearly all European Union member states.

The normalization of antisemitism

According to the report, “The year 2018 and the beginning of 2019 witnessed an increase in almost all forms of anti-Semitic manifestations, in the public sphere as well as the private one. Thirteen Jews were murdered during 2018, the largest number compared to previous years. Anti-Semitism is no longer a part of the activities of the triangle made of the far right, the extreme left and radical Islam. It has mainstreamed, and become a constant reality.”

The report comes a day after the Anti-Defamation League published its own report, which found that violent attacks against Jews in the U.S. doubled last year. The New York-based group counted 1,879 anti-Semitic incidents — harassment, vandalism or physical assault — in 2018. That is a 5% decrease from the 1,986 incidents reported in 2017, but the third-highest total since ADL began tracking the data in the 1970s.

“People in Europe, in France especially, are on the frontlines, they are dealing with anti-Semitism,” Prof. Porat said. “But we have to address anti-Semitism in the context of broader racism in the world. We are not alone. Other minorities are suffering. We should suggest a coalition, an umbrella organization to work together in this fight, extending a hand to other groups who are suffering, like the Roma.”

“We cannot fight anti-Semitism as if it is just a Jewish problem,” concluded Adv. Ariel Zuckerman, Chairman of the Kantor Center Board. “Anti-Semitism is always a moral barometer for the state of the world, for the broader context of widespread racism, and we are sounding a siren.” 

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