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European Anti-Semitism Worse Since 2008

Israel’s campaign against Gaza terror fueled the worst anti-Semitic attacks in Europe since WW II, officials said. The worst may be yet to come.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu and Yoni Kempinski
First Publish: 1/24/2010, 8:12 PM / Last Update: 1/24/2010, 8:35 PM

Anti-Semitism in Western Europe last year was the worst since World War II, according to the Jewish Agency’s arm for fighting attacks and incitement against Jews.

Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein directly linked worsening anti-Semitism with the United Nations “Goldstone Report” on alleged war crimes in last year’s Operation Cast Lead counterterrorist campaign aimed at putting a halt to eight years of lethal rocket attacks on Israeli civilians.

Israel is preparing a response to the Goldstone report, and Edelstein commented Sunday, "It is certainly already clear that, for many of the 'incidents' and 'crimes' described in the report, no proof was found.” He said he will tell U.N. Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon that the report fueled attacks, many of them violent, against Jews around the world.

“Another flare-up in the region, similar to the Gaza operation, will probably lead to an even more severe outbreak of anti-Semitic activity against communities worldwide,” warned the Jewish Agency’s Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism  

The Jewish Agency’s report Sunday comes three days before the U.N.-designated International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday, which coincides with the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in Nazi Germany.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Cabinet Sunday, "This anti-Semitism comes with a new twist, which is the bid to deprive the Jewish state of the right to self-defense."

Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky said he will increase from 19 to more than 100 the number of emissaries to fight anti-Semitism, primarily on university campuses. The Agency’s report linked radical left elements and Muslims who spur incitement against Jews.

Photo: Aftermath of attack on synagogue  The member of attacks against Jews and synagogues in many places in Western Europe in the first six months of 2009 was more than the number for the entire previous year, according to the report. It pointed out that the “left and labor unions, at times [acted] in coordination with Muslims."

The anti-Semitic attacks “were mostly perpetrated by Muslims from large local Muslim communities, including Palestinians, mainly in France, Britain, Belgium, Scandinavia, Germany and the United States,” the report stated. In France, there were 631 incidents in the first six months compared with 464 for all of 2008, and more than 100 incidents were recorded in Paris, where the involvement of Muslim teenagers was noted. Among the attacks in France was one on a handicapped Jewish woman.

“The demonization and de-legitimatization of Israel in propaganda by the radical left and human rights organizations intensifies the hostile mood against Israel and its supporters, encouraging the extreme stands of local Muslims,” the Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism added in summing up the report's findings.

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