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Thursday, April 19, 2012

A round-up of violent anti-semitic incidents in 2011

The Kantor Center report on anti-semitism is now available. While they note that violent incidents decreased in 2011, reading about all of them at once is still jarring:

Despite the decrease in major violent incidents, Jews in 2011 were victims of numerous such incidents. According to the French SPCJ, violence in 2011 was much more severe than in the previous year, and led in some cases to the hospitalization of the victims. Thus, for example, in June, a rabbi was physically assaulted by two men in their twenties in the eleventh arrondissement in Paris. The perpetrators kicked and punched him in the head and body while shouting antisemitic abuse. The victim was hospitalized. In April a young Jew returning from the synagogue in Villeurbanne was assaulted by two youths who inquired first as to his identity. That same month, a young woman was violently attacked by a man on a bus in Caluire et Luire, Lyon. The assailant threw a bottle at the girl’s head, pushed her against a window and punched her in the face, while hurling antisemitic insults, such as: “Big Jewish nose” and “Dirty Jewish bastard, the Arabs will kill you.”

Similarly, throughout the year in Britain, visibly Jewish individuals were attacked by passers-by in close proximity to synagogues, and Jewish children were attacked on their return from school. In July, a Jewish individual walking home through a park in London was identified by a group of white youths as Jewish and brutally attacked. In another incident in February a Jewish woman was crossing the forecourt at a gas station in Manchester in order to pay when a car containing two women reversed sharply into her, knocking her to the ground, The occupants (two white women) then got out of their car, shouted “Dirty Jew” and spat at the injured woman lying on the ground, before getting back into the car and driving away.

In Lausanne, Switzerland, an assistant rabbi was brutally attacked when he left the synagogue and abused with antisemitic insults. In addition, an Orthodox Jewish young man was stabbed in front of his family in the parking lot of the Natural History Museum in Geneva in late December. According to the CICAD (Intercommunity Coordination against Antisemitism and Racism), the number of antisemitic manifestations recorded in French-speaking Switzerland increased by 28 percent (mainly cyber hate) from the previous year. Moreover the level of incidents of violence, vandalism and insults was the highest since monitoring began in 2003.

In Belgium, a 13-year old Jewish girl was physically attacked by a group of five girls of Moroccan origin, in November in Brussels. After shouting insults at the girl, the group leader said, “She’s only a dirty Jewess,” and all five began beating her on the head and the knees. The victim needed both medical and psychological treatment.

There were also incidents of physical violence in Buenos Aires, Argentina. For instance,the principal of an Orthodox Jewish school was beaten outside the premises in May. In September, an Orthodox Jew was attacked outside a synagogue in the neighborhood of Flores. The attacker pulled a skullcap from his backpack and made obscene gestures, declaring that the only solution was to burn the synagogues and the Jews.

Three matters that came to light in 2011 illustrate the danger to Jewish communities in the U.S. posed by white supremacists and Islamists. In October, a couple with a racist worldview from Oregon, who thought, erroneously, that they had murdered a Jew, admitted to interrogators that they had intended to kill more Jews. In May, New York police arrested two immigrants, an Algerian and a Moroccan, on suspicion of conspiring to attack a New York synagogue. This event may be added to the number of terrorist acts planned in recent years by Islamists in the U.S. against Jewish targets and which were aborted by early discovery of the organizations and plots. In addition, Emerson Begolly, an American citizen who was indicted in July 2011 for soliciting acts of terrorism and posting bomb-making materials online, exhibited rabid antisemitism in his extensive online activity. He called for the death of all Jews and encouraged others to target synagogues, Jewish schools and day care centers.