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WJC laments shocking rise in number of anti-Semitic incidents registered in UK

The Community Security Trust (CST) of the British Jewish community recorded a stark rise in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in 2016.

WJC, The CST, a charity that has monitored anti-Semitism and provided security for the UK Jewish community since 1984, said that 1,309 anti-Jewish incidents were recorded nationwide during 2016, up 36 percent from the 960 incidents recorded the previous year. A further 791 reports were received by CST in 2016, but were not deemed to be anti-Semitic by the watchdog and therefore not included in this total.

In its report, the CST noted that unlike in previous years that saw a spike of anti-Semitism, there had been no specific “trigger event” in 2016 that could explain the high incident totals. The high number of incidents was spread uniformly through most of the year. Every month from May to December saw a monthly incident total above 100 incidents, an unprecedented run of consistently high totals over an eight month period. For comparison, in the decade prior to 2016 monthly totals above 100 incidents had only happened six times.

The most common single type of incident recorded by CST in 2016 involved verbal abuse randomly directed at visibly Jewish people in public. In 385 incidents (29 percent of the overall total), the victims were Jews, male or female, attacked or abused while going about their daily business in public places. In at least 186 of these incidents, the victims were visibly Jewish, usually due to their religious or traditional clothing, school uniform or jewellery bearing Jewish symbols.

Social media has become an essential tool for coordinated campaigns of anti-Semitic harassment, abuse and threats directed at Jewish politicians, student activists and other individuals, perpetrated by transnational networks of online anti-Semitic activists, some of whom are involved in extremist politics.

The CST recorded 287 anti-Semitic incidents that involved social media in 2016, comprising 22 per cent of the overall total.

The 1,309 incidents recorded in 2016 included 107 violent anti-Semitic assaults, an increase of 29 per cent from the 87 cases recorded in 2015.

There were 65 incidents of Damage & Desecration of Jewish property, 1,006 incidents of Abusive Behavior, including verbal abuse, anti-Semitic graffiti and abuse via social media and one-off cases of hate mail, 100 direct anti-Semitic threats, and 15 cases of mass-mailed anti-Semitic leaflets or emails.
The totals for Abusive Behaviour and Threats are the highest CST has ever recorded in those categories. Over three-quarters of the 1,309 incidents were recorded in Greater London and Greater Manchester, the two largest Jewish communities in the UK.

Reactions

Ronald S. Lauder, the president of the World Jewish Congress, said about the findings of the report: “The 36-percent rise of anti-Semitic acts recorded by the Community Security Trust in 2016 is alarming and truly shocking. Such levels of anti-Semitism are unacceptable. It is clear that the problem lies increasingly with some elements of civil society.

“We welcome the commitment made by the British government to do more to fight hatred against Jews and to upgrade safety measures for Jewish institution across the country, including the attribution of more resources, and we know that ministers are aware of the problem. A particular effort needs to be made to combat verbal abuse and anti-Semitic incitement on the internet.

“As we have seen in France, where anti-Semitism fell last year, it is possible to achieve positive results in this field if the problem is tackled with the necessary political determination,” declared Lauder.

British Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “Anti-Semitism is a deplorable form of hatred that has absolutely no place in a tolerant, open and diverse Britain that works for everyone. It is vital we ensure the safety and security of our Jewish community, and this Government will continue to do all we can to stamp out these vile attacks and encourage those who experience them to come forward.

Tom Watson, the deputy leader of the opposition Labour Party, declared: “The findings of this report are extremely distressing. I don't want to live in a country where any member of the Jewish community feels unsafe, afraid or discriminated against and it is shocking that the number of anti-Semitic incidents is on the rise in the UK. It's vital that we continue to highlight the abuse Jewish people are experiencing and as deputy leader of the Labour Party I have made a commitment to do exactly that. We must root out anti-Semitism whenever it takes place and wherever it exists, as a party and as a country.”

World Jewish Congress Vice-President Jonathan Arkush, who is president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the umbrella body of UK Jewry, responded to the report with the following statement: “While the UK remains a very good place for the Jewish community, these highest-ever figures are deeply worrying, particularly in light of the fact that there was no single trigger event in 2016.

“It is clear that combating anti-Semitism will take a concerted effort by the country’s political leadership, government and civil society. In these uncertain times, we should strive to make the UK a beacon of a society that abhors racism and champions respect between all its citizens.”
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Ronald Lauder: "All of us, Jews and non-Jews, stand together as one people."

Judaism is an integral part of Germany's identity, Chancellor Angela Merkel told thousands at a rally against anti-Semitism near Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate on Sunday. "Jewish life belongs among us. It is a part of our identity," Merkel said, adding that the anti-Semitic abuse earlier this year had been appalling.The rally was organized amid shock in Germany at crude anti-Semitic slogans shouted during summer protests against Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Here is the address by Ronald S. Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress.

For the last 70 years, Jews and Germans have lived together in peace.

Jews have prospered as Germany has prospered. Jews have become part of German society again.WJC President Ronald S. Lauder addressing the rally

We are your neighbors and your friends. We all share the same values, we hold the same beliefs.

Part of my family originally came from Mainz, over 600 years ago.

I remember as a young boy in the early 1960s, going to the synagogue to lay flowers on the front door in memory of the Jewish people who died in the Holocaust.

I remember also seeing non-Jewish Germans coming there to do the same thing… to lay flowers as a way to say they also remember, as a way to say this should never happen again.

Since 1945, Germany has been one of the most responsible countries on earth. The world looks to Germany for political, for economic and for moral leadership.

But something has changed. This summer, all of the progress of the last 70 years has been darkened by a rising tide of anti-Semitism. There are some places I might expect to see this - but not here in Germany.

There are places where Jews cannot live openly as Jews - but not here in Germany.

There are places where governments actually promote the hatred of Jews – but that is definitely not here in Germany.

Since the end of the war, Germany has strongly supported a Jewish rebirth, and since Konrad Adenauer, Germany has been Israel’s ally and friend. So why has all this good work been darkened by the medieval stain of anti-Semitism?

I believe there are three reasons:

First, when the economy declines, people become fearful and often they look for a scapegoat. Throughout history, that scapegoat has been the Jews.

Second, we have seen some of the vilest anti-Jewish propaganda coming out of the Middle East and it has spread across the Internet and it is now coming into mainstream thought.

And third, there are political agitators determined to spread misinformation and lies for the sole purpose of instilling anti-Semitism.

Let us not allow this group of agitators to tear down 70 years of good work. We all know too well that a group that instills fear and hatred may start small but can grow into a large and dangerous tidal wave.

In the end, these people don’t want to just hurt Jews – they intend to hurt every free, democratic country in the world.

Let us all stand together. Let us stand strong and united. Let us make it very clear that this intolerance has no place in Germany, or anywhere else.

The very fact that you, President Gauck, Chancellor Merkel, Mayor Wowereit and the heads of the churches are here today, tells the world that we stand together as one.

And this is our message: We will never accept anti-Semitism, here in Germany, or anywhere else.

We will never allow our children to live in fear because of their religion.

Let this be the story that comes from this day: That all of us, Jews and non-Jews, stand together as one people.

We stand together and say no to intolerance, no to bigotry and no to anti-Semitism.

Thank you all for coming here today!
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Over 4,000 anti-Semitic expressions recorded in Venezuela in 2013


WJC, Venezuela’s Jewish umbrella body CAIV has presented a new study in which an unusually high number of anti-Semitic incidents in the country is recorded for the year 2013. The analysis focuses on the mainstream media and on social networking sites such as Twitter.
CAIV President David Bittan, who also serves as vice-president of the World Jewish Congress, noted that anti-Semitic expressions had spiked during the bitterly fought presidential campaign in the spring of 2013 which, following the death of Hugo Chavez, pitched the latter’s successor NicolasMaduro against opposition candidateHenrique Capriles, who has Jewish ancestry. Following Maduro’s victory, they subsided somewhat but remained on a high level.
“During 2013 we witnessed and recorded 4,033 anti-Semitic expressions through different media, in social networks, with an important increase in the months of March, April and May, and a decrease in October, November and December,” Bittan wrote in the foreword to the in-depth study, which is posted on the CAIV website in Spanish and English. The CAIVpresident urged the government of Venezuela to show more initiative in eradicating anti-Semitism, and said that compiling this annual study was one of the raisons d’être of CAIV. “This task will no longer be needed when the authorities show the initiative and the will to exert a policy to eradicate Judeophobia, and in our country’s specific case, there is still time to achieve this provided there is consensus.
“If the authorities truly became aware of the damage caused to the country’s reputation by maintaining a passive and accommodating attitude […] towards these aspects, I am convinced that the situation would be different here and I even dare to think out aloud and say that more damage is caused to Venezuela by the peculiar form anti-Semitism on display in our country than to the Venezuelan Jewish community.”
On the positive side, said Bittan, the Venezuelan parliament observed a minute of silence on International Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27), the first time it had done so since 2009.

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Greek party withdraws anti-Semitic candidate after protests

WJC, The leftist Greek party Syriza dropped a controversial candidate for the post of regional governor of Western Macedonia after he had made headlines with anti-Semitic statements. Syriza announced that journalist Theodoros Karypidis would not be running on the party’s ticket. In a brief statement, the party's secretariat revealed that Karypidis would no longer represent the party in the contest for the region’s governorship, despite being selected to do so less than a week earlier.
On his Facebook page, Karypidis (pictured) had alleged that Nerit, the acronym of Greece's new public broadcaster, was derived from the Hebrew word for candle, which he linked to the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, which commemorates the struggle of the Maccabees against the Greeks. “Samaras is lighting the candles in the seven branched candelabra of the Jews and lighting Greece on fire after his visit to the ThessalonikiSynagogue,” Karypidis wrote, adding that Samaras was "organizing a new Hanukkah against the Greeks.”
The synagogue visit to which Karypidis referred was an appearance Samaras made with World Jewish Congress and Greek Jewish leaders at Thessaloniki’s historic Monastiriotes Synagogue in March 2013 to commemorate the deportation of 50,000 of the city’s Jews to the Nazi death camps in 1943. It was the first such visit a Greek prime minister had made in the last 100 years.
Last week, both the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) and the World Jewish Congress urged Syriza to withdraw Karypidis. In a statement, KIS welcomed the decision by Syriza: "The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece expresses its satisfaction for the most recent decision taken by the leadership ofSyriza, which actually places on the margins of Greek society those who disseminate views that incite racism, intolerance and anti-Semitism. With this decision, Syriza gives a strong and clear message towards the Greek society that anti-Semitism is to be condemned as a phenomenon of racism and bigotry that breeds hatred against Jews and in the same time constitutes a threat against democracy itself as well as against the principles and values of a free society."

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Sydney: Five injured in worst anti-Semitic attack in Australia's recent history

WJC, The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) has called for Australia's anti-racism strategy to be strengthened following the worst anti-Semitic attack in recent history. A group of eight young men attacked families who were walking home from a synagogue in Sydney late on Friday after Shabbat services.
The group allegedly yelled racial slurs at the families before the confrontation turned into a physical fight. Four men and a woman were injured and taken to hospital for treatment. One man aged in his 60s suffered a bleed on the brain, others suffered broken bones.
ECAJ Executive Director Peter Wertheim said the authorities needed to be more proactive to ensure racism is kept in check. He called for the national anti-racism strategy to be strengthened and included in the education curriculum.
Police have charged three people over the assault, which happened in the Bondi area of Sydney. Two 17-year-olds were both charged with affray and breach of bail. They are due to appear in Sydney Children's Court on Sunday. A 23-year-old man was also charged with affray and granted bail. Police are still looking for five others who ran away.
Wertheim said in a statement: “I grew up in Bondi and never experienced a single incident of anti-Semitism, not even verbal. For decades, Bondi has been famous for its relaxed, free-wheeling and culturally diverse way of life. Many Jewish people live there. There are numerous shuls, kosher eateries, a kosher butcher, kosher bakeries, kosher grocery stores and Jewish communal institutions. It is not uncommon to see men walking along the street wearing kippot or Chasidic garb, often strolling with their families. Sometimes they are the objects of verbal abuse, but violence is rare. Last night’s violence was exceptional.”

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