update deskAntisemitism

World antisemitism report: ‘Oct. 7 helped spread a fire’

"2023 saw the highest number of antisemitic incidents in the U.S. ever recorded by the ADL."

Israel supporters at the “March Against Antisemitism” in London hold flags and placards in support of hostages taken by Hamas to Gaza, Nov. 26, 2023. Photo by Andy Soloman/Shutterstock.
Israel supporters at the “March Against Antisemitism” in London hold flags and placards in support of hostages taken by Hamas to Gaza, Nov. 26, 2023. Photo by Andy Soloman/Shutterstock.

Even before the Oct. 7 invasion, antisemitism was on the rise, but a dramatic spike followed the Hamas attack, according to the 2023 Antisemitism Worldwide report whose findings were released on Wednesday by Tel Aviv University and the Anti-Defamation League.

The report, “Concern for the Future of Jewish Life in the West,” emphasizes that while 2023’s leap in antisemitic incidents largely followed Oct. 7, most countries with sizeable Jewish minorities also saw increases in the first nine months of 2023, before the war started.

“October 7 helped spread a fire that was already out of control,” the report states, noting that “from Brazil to South Africa, from Italy to Australia, from Belgium to the United States,” antisemitic incidents in western countries rose by dozens of percentage points in 2023 over the year before.

“The aftermath of Hamas’s horrific attack on Israel on October 7 was followed by a tsunami of hate against Jewish communities worldwide,” said Anti-Defamation League CEO and National Director Jonathan Greenblatt.

“Unprecedented levels of antisemitism have surged globally in the streets of London, New York, Paris, Santiago, Johannesburg and beyond.

“This year’s report is incredibly alarming, with documented unprecedented levels of antisemitism, including in the U.S. where 2023 saw the highest number of antisemitic incidents in the U.S. ever recorded by the ADL,” he added.

In the United States, the ADL recorded 7,523 incidents in 2023 compared to 3,697 in 2022. The number of assaults increased from 111 in 2022 to 161 in 2023, and of vandalism, 1,288 to 2,106.

In New York, the city with the largest Jewish population in the world, the New York Police Department recorded 325 anti-Jewish hate crimes in 2023 in comparison to 261 in 2022.

In Los Angeles, the city’s police department recorded 165 antisemitic incidents, up from 86, and in Chicago, there were 50 up from 39.

Elsewhere in the west

Other countries also saw dramatic increases in the number of antisemitic attacks, according to data collected from governmental agencies, law enforcement authorities, Jewish organizations, media and fieldwork.

In France, the number of incidents rose from 436 in 2022 to 1,676 in 2023, with the number of physical assaults increasing from 43 to 85.

In the United Kingdom, the number of incidents spiked from 1,662 to 4,103 (physical assaults from 136 to 266).

In Germany, antisemitic incidents rose from 2,639 to 3,614. In Italy, they jumped from 241 to 454 and in Austria from 719 to 1,147.

Australia recorded 622 antisemitic incidents in October and November 2023, in comparison to 79 during the same period in 2022.

Argentina saw a jump of 171 incidents in 2023, from 427 to 598. Brazil recorded 1,774 incidents, up from 432 in 2022, and Mexico recorded 78 incidents, up from 21 the year before.

In South Africa, incidents rose from 68 to 207.

According to Professor Uriya Shavit, head of the Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry and the Irwin Cotler Institute:

“The year is not 1938, not even 1933. Yet if current trends continue, the curtain will descend on the ability to lead Jewish lives in the west—to wear a Star of David, attend synagogues and community centers, send kids to Jewish schools, frequent a Jewish club on campus, or speak Hebrew.”

Shavit added, “With bomb threats against synagogues becoming a daily occurrence, Jewish existence in the west is forced to fortify itself, and the more it does so, the more the sense of security and normalcy is undermined.”

While noting that the State of Israel’s ability to help Jewish communities in the Diaspora is limited, he criticized it for not doing “even the little that can be done.”

“The main contributions of the government are pompous statements and sporadic initiatives,” Shavit said.

In the report, former Canadian Justice Minister and Attorney General Irwin Cotler offers an 11-point plan for globally combating the rising Jew-hatred.

The plan calls for governments to enact national action plans to combat antisemitism, more Holocaust education and celebrating the positive contributions of the Jewish people.

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