Report by Tel Aviv University’s (TAU’s) Kantor database for the Study of Anti-Semitism and Racism & Kantor Center for the Study of European Jewry

Rise in Anti-Semitic Incidents Worldwide Over Past Decade;
 2010 Sees Decline in Anti-Semitic Activity Compared to 2009 –
But Still Rates Third Since 1990

The 2010 annual report of TAU’s Kantor Database for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism & Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry indicates a rising trend in the number of anti-Semitic incidents over the pastdecade.  However, 2010 was significantly calmer than 2009 – which saw an upsurge of anti-Semitism following the war in Gaza. The highest numbers of violent anti-Semitic incidents for 2010 – in the UK, France & Canada.  The media & Internet – an effective tool for spreading anti-Semitic messages.

Over 20 years of documentation

TAU researchers have been gathering data on anti-Semitic activity for over 20 years – since the late 1980s. The statistics include incidents of major violence: physical injury, vandalism and direct threats driven by anti-Semitic motives. It must be emphasized, however, that it is almost impossible to estimate the number of harassments that are not violent per se, such as verbal threats, insults, abusive language, street shouting, hostile websites and the like – yet it is clear that they have increased dramatically in recent years. At the bottom line, the statistics indicate that the total number of anti-Semitic incidents per year since 2000 was considerably higher  than numbers recorded in the 1990s. 

2009 – A peak year for global anti-Semitism

2009 was exceptional in terms of numbers of anti-Semitic incidents. The direct cause was Israel’s war in Gaza at the beginning of the year, which provoked unprecedented anti-Jewish activity worldwide. These acts were directed at Jews and Israelis alike, since the two groups were perceived as one entity. Altogether, 1,129 violent anti-Semitic incidents were recorded worldwide in 2009.  

2010 – Significant decline compared to 2009

In 2010 the number of violent anti-Semitic incidents decreased by 46% compared to 2009, totaling 614 worldwide. Yet, despite the significant decline, annual statistics for 2010 rate third since the documentation began. Israel’s interception of the flotilla of ships bound for Gaza on May 31 was a major event, but it was brief and resulted in relatively few casualties – compared to the 2009 war in Gaza. Therefore the ensuing anti-Semitic wave was also smaller.  

The UK, France & Canada – sharp rise in violent anti-Semitism

The highest numbers of violent anti-Semitic incidents in 2010 were recorded in the UK, France and Canada – constituting about 60% of all incidents worldwide. In these countries, the level of violent incidents – particularly physical street assaults on people identified as Jews – remained very high even compared to 2009. Street violence was also dominant in Australia – showing a dramatic growth of 60% compared to 2009. Yet, when non-violent anti-Semitism is also taken into account, the same countries exhibit a significant decline in 2010, relative to the peak year of 2009. A similar picture was evident in other countries in Western Europe – the major arena for anti-Semitic activities in the past decade.  

An increase in attacks on Jewish institutions was recorded in Latin America, especially in Chile, where the Palestinian community is the fourth largest in the world. Venezuela displayed a further rise in anti-Semitic allegations leveled by pro-Chavez circles, but not in violence. In the CIS countries, particularly Russia, a continued decline in violent anti-Semitic incidents was evident – especially in the category of physical street violence. Jewish communal facilities remained a target for anti-Semitic perpetrators in this region, albeit to a lesser extent. The overall drop may be the result of enhanced law enforcement, notably in Russia.  

Media & Internet propagate anti-Semitic messages

The mass media and web are proving themselves to be powerful tools for spreading anti-Semitic propaganda. In 2010 the central themes for such harassments were:  the alleged Jewish-Zionist conspiracy, and its immense global power; the demonization and de-legitimization of Israel – mainly by comparing it to Nazi Germany and labeling it an apartheid state; and the demand that Jewish communities renounce the State of Israel in principle.

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