On the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day 2023 - a new report finds Haredi Jews are primarily targeted by antisemitic attacks, which included beatings because they were easily identified as Jews and perceived too weak to fight back.
The report published by the Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University in collaboration with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), found Haredis were the main victims of antisemitic assaults in the West.
While the attacks examined in the Report are legally defined as antisemitic hate crimes, the motivations of the perpetrators are not easy to discern and could be driven by a deeply held antisemitism, hatred for Israel, bullying, or a combination of the three, the report says.
"Most attacks appear not to be premeditated"
It examines dozens of assaults reported in New York (the city that recorded the most assaults in the United States), in London (which saw the largest number of attacks in Europe), and several other cities. The comparative study suggests physical attacks on Jews tend to occur in a small number of areas in major urban centers, usually on the street or on public transportation rather than near or in synagogues or Jewish establishments. Most attacks appear not to be premeditated, the authors of the report said.
"It was very disturbing to discover during fieldwork in London that some Haredim regard antisemitism as the inescapable fate of Jews in the diaspora, sometimes even blaming members of their own communities for the situation,” Dr. Carl Yonker, a senior researcher said.
Prof. Uriya Shavit, Head of the Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University says research indicates that effective policing, indictments, and educational campaigns can lead to a significant reduction in the number of violent antisemitic attacks.
"The fight against antisemitism must include more practical, measurable, and transparent objectives and fewer declarations and cries of ‘Gevald!’” he says.
3,697 antisemitic incidents in the USA in 2022
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) recorded 3,697 antisemitic incidents in the United States in 2022, compared to 2,717 in 2021 – a record year in its own right. The NYPD registered 261 hate crimes against Jews compared to 214 in 2021, the LAPD recorded 86 in 2022 compared to 79 in 2021, and the Chicago Police 38 in 2022 compared to 8 in 2021.
The authors of the Report point to a disturbing trend of the ‘normalization of crazy conspirations’ in public discourse in America. The spreading of antisemitic propaganda by white supremacists in the United States almost tripled compared to 2021, reaching a total of 852 incidents.
A rise in recorded antisemitic incidents compared to 2021 was also found in several other Western countries, including Belgium, Hungary, Italy, and Australia. In Belgium, 17 antisemitic attacks were recorded in 2022 compared to only 3 in 2021 - the highest number since seven attacks were recorded in 2016.
At the same time, a decline in attacks was recorded in Germany, Austria, France, the UK, Canada, and Argentina, which saw a decline in the number of antisemitic incidents compared to 2021.
In Russia, the report notes troubling antisemitic remarks by officials and intellectuals close to the Putin administration, as well as the cynical distortion of the memory of the Holocaust by the regime raising concern that Russian Jews might become scapegoats for the regime’s military failures in Ukraine. “Fascists are never reliable allies for religious minorities or in the fight for human rights,” notes the Report.
Two of the in-depth essays included in the Report discuss the extreme antisemitic propaganda espoused by the Houthis in Yemen, and two small antisemitic parties that won seats in the upper house of the Japanese Parliament. “In 2022 it was demonstrated once again that antisemitism does not require any real Jewish presence or direct rivalry with Israel in order to find supporters,” notes the Report.
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL): “The data contained in this survey is very troubling. It is alarming to see the significant increase in antisemitic incidents and trends across the US and in several other countries. Equally concerning is that, unlike in 2021, there were no specific events which can be linked to a rise in antisemitism, which speaks to the deeply-seated nature of Jew Hatred around the world."