Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry

General Analysis on Antisemitism Worldwide 2015 is published!

Date: 
Wednesday, 4 May, 2016

We are happy and proud to announce that the General Analysis on Antisemitism Worldwide 2015 is published! It may be read online or downloaded by pressing this link: http://kantorcenter.tau.ac.il/sites/default/files/Report 2015.pdf

Please see the following Press Release published jointly today by Tel-Aviv University, Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry and the European Jewish Congress:

"PRESS RELEASE

Worldwide Antisemitism in 2015: A 40% decrease in violent antisemitic incidents; a dramatic increase in other antisemitic manifestations in Europe. Jews in Europe are concerned about their future.

The feeling with which the year 2015 ended was one of fear and concern, among Jews and non-Jews alike, especially in Europe. Waves of immigrants and refugees shook the continent, terror took a terrible toll in human lives and brought up new thoughts on how democracies would be able to better defend themselves and their citizens. The Jewish communities and Jews as individuals feel threatened by both Muslim citizens undergoing an increasing process of radicalization in Europe, and the influx of refugees and immigrants some of whom might bring in more terror, and the increase in the right-wing parties' electoral power that has been strengthened as a result of such concerns. In addition, accusations have already been leveled against the Jewish communities and Israel as responsible for the present wave and the former ones, in order to empty the Middle East and to incite the Western world and the Muslims one against the other.

Recent developments brought down the number of violent anti-Semitic cases perpetrated against Jews and Jewish sites (see below for reasons), but the violent cases turned more cruel and murderous, in numbers unknown before; direct threats to gun down Jews escalated; the increasing flow of verbal and visual anti-Semitic expressions, mainly on social media, turned more threatening and insulting, while the legal struggle is in its beginning stages.

Many Jews share the estimation that more terrorist attacks are only a matter of time. The influx of newcomers, mostly from countries with an antisemitic tradition and with political and cultural anti-Israeli ideologies, adds to the re-consideration of Jewish life on the continent. The debate within the Jewish communities regarding

wearing identifying signs in public, is part of this re-consideration. The increasing use of antisemitic language against Israel as a Jewish state infiltrates into the mainstream. The BDS movements that aggressively try to undermine its very existence, turn against Jewish students, and has close ties with so-called liberal circles. All these put the Jews between the anvil and the hammer.

The number of violent antisemitic incidents worldwide monitored by the Kantor Center in 2015 is 410, a considerable decrease, of about 46% in comparison to 766 cases in 2014. This is the lowest number in the recent decade, yet it should be taken in consideration that 2014 was a very difficult year, especially due to the Protective Edge operation during the summer; that the number of violent cases in 2015 is more or less equal to that of 2011, and that compared to 2013 the decrease in 2015 is about 26%. The decrease is most notable in the various modus operandi, especially the use of weapons (a decrease of over 60%) and arson (a decrease of over 50%), and in weaponless cases, direct threats and vandalism as well. Regarding targets, the most notable decrease is in cases perpetrated against synagogues (by about 70%!), and persons (by close to 50%), as well as against schools and community centers, while the highest numbers of incidents registered was perpetrated against cemeteries and memorials.

The reasons for the decrease in violent cases are:

- The increase in special security measures, in intelligence surveillance and the enlisting of more Police and army units, to protect Jewish and non-Jewish sites.

- The political and social activity of the extreme right focuses on the wave of more than a million immigrants, who may constitute, together with the veteran Muslim communities, a demographic/social/cultural threat. In a growing number of cases Muslim individuals were attacked, immigrants centers were set on fire and cemeteries and even mosques were desecrated.

- The growing fear of terror originating in Muslim radical circles may generate an understanding of the violence Jews and Israelis have undergone in recent decades, and closer ties between Jews and Christians.

- No military confrontation between Israel and its neighbors took place during 2015. Yet let us reiterate that such a confrontation is most always only a trigger for antisemitic manifestations.

Thus, it should be stressed that despite the decrease in the number of violent cases, many Jews reconsider their future and their sense of belonging in their respective countries, because of the significant increase in 2015 in anti-Semitic verbal and visual attacks via social media and the internet at large, creating a hostile atmosphere."