A dramatic increase in anti-Semitic incidents and violence against Jews has been recorded during 2009 around the world and especially in Western Europe, according to an annual report authored by the Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism (CFCA) which was presented Sunday by the Chair of the Jewish Agency Natan Sharansky.
The report was published ahead of the International Day against Fascism and Anti-Semitism and the Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz which is marked on January 27.
According to the report, an increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents was recorded last year, especially in Western Europe, where 2009 had a record number of violent acts committed since World War II.
More anti-Semitic incidents were recorded during the first three months of 2009 than during the entire previous year – a fact the report attributes to Operation Cast Lead in Gaza Strip at the end of 2008.
The sharpest increase was reported in France, where 631 anti-Semitic incidents occurred in the first half of 2009 (compared with 474 throughout 2008); Britain came in second with over 600 incidents, while the Netherlands recorded some 100 anti-Semitic acts – same number as the year before.
In addition to the increase in the number of cases, there has also been an escalation in the severity of the acts themselves. Hundreds of incidents were considered extremely violent, and included eight murders – six slain during the terror attack in Mumbai, India; Johanna Justin-Jinich, a Jewish student who was murdered in Connecticut and the security guard that was killed during the attack on the holocaust museum in Washington D.C.
The authors of the report also noted the "modern blood-libel" phenomenon such as the Swedish newspaper article that accused Israel of organ trafficking and anti-Semitic TV shows that have been broadcasted in several Muslim countries including Turkey. The report also mentioned the latest allegation of organ trafficking in Haiti.
One of the report's main findings was that some 42% of Western European citizens, mainly from Poland and Spain, believe Jews exploit their past as victims in order to extort money.
Another surprising discovery was an increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents that stem from internal political conflicts ahead of elections, such as those that occurred in Hungary and the Ukraine, with cooperation between radical left factions and Muslim communities.
The report also noted that when governments actively battle Anti-Semitism, it results in cases such as those that occurred in the US, Ukraine and the Czech Republic.