The Israeli offensive in the Gaza
Strip has prompted a sharp increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents worldwide, after 2008 saw a drop in anti-Jewish sentiments globally.
Western Europe, and mostly France, constituted the focal point for anti-Semitic events; while in the United States anti-Semitism has grown in light of the global financial crisis.
The statistics were revealed in a report published Sunday by the Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism, a body sponsored by the Jewish Agency, the Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry for Diaspora Affairs.
Protestors burn Israel flag in Madrid (Photo: Reuters)
The report's authors estimated that as the outcome of the Gaza operation becomes clearer and with the financial crisis widening, another wave of anti-Semitism should be expected in the coming year.
According to the report, some 250 anti-Semitic incidents have been recoded globally in last January, compared to 80 in the same period last year. The attacks were mostly lead by Muslims, mainly in France, Germany, Belgium, Scandinavia and the United States.
Jewish communities suffered assaults on synagogues and local institutions, as well as vandalism against private houses and businesses.
Numerous rallies were held against Israel in the last month, and these included violent anti-Semitic propaganda and Nazi comparisons.
Despite this recent increase in anti-Semitism, the report actually revealed a 15% drop in the number of attacks against Jews in 2008, compared to 2007. Notably, a substantial decline was registered in France, apparently due to harsher enforcement by the authorities.
Nevertheless, the report still finds France to be a hub for violent anti-Semitism, which rose even further since the launching of Operation Cast Lead.
March against Gaza operation in Paris (Photo: AFP)
London has also seen a recent rise in the scope of anti-Semitics incidents, as well as Turkey and Venezuela.
However, the study showed that there has been no increase in anti-Semitism in former Soviet Union states or in Eastern Europe.
And yet, researchers warned that a surge in anti-Semitism was most likely unavoidable as more and more images and testimonies from Gaza reached the global media.
They added that the worsening financial crisis, which is expected to impact more and more sectors in the next year, could also trigger a rise in hate crimes against foreigners in general, and Jews in particular.
The growth of Muslim communities across the world, and mainly in Europe, is also predicted to contribute to an increase in anti-Semitism, with Iran, the Arab countries and the terror organizations continuing to lead anti-Jewish and anti-Israel propaganda globally.