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Anti-Semitism on the Rise in Switzerland

Anti-Semitic incidents in Switzerland have reached their highest number since 2003, and many of them were considered "grave."
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 3/13/2012, 1:18 PM

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There has been an increase in the number of recorded anti-Semitic incidents in Switzerland, the CICAD, a Geneva-based organization that coordinates the fight against anti-Semitism and defamation announced, the European Jewish Press noted.

The CICAD’s annual report shows that the number of anti-Semitic acts increased by 28 percent in 2011, totaling 130 cases, as opposed to 104 the previous year.

While the figure increase is quite alarming, the nature of these acts remain a primary concern of Jewish groups. Six of the reported incidents were said to be “serious,” while 5 were deemed “grave,” the report noted.

CICAD President Alain Bruno Levy asserted that the increase is a cause for concern and that the year 2011 has seen the biggest increase in anti-Semitism since the beginning of the census in 2003.

In Lausanne, a rabbinical assistant was beaten, and in Geneva an Orthodox Jew was stabbed in the street as he was visiting the Natural History Museum with his family.

Levy explained that the increase is due, in part, to the popularity of social networking sites. "The conspiracy theory resurfaced, especially via the internet,” he said. "Internet users are creating their blogs and comments on articles to vent their anti-Semitic hatred. Using the pretext of freedom of expression, activists intend to impose a 'right to discriminate and to defame,'" Levy explained.

He also noted that the conflict in the Middle East helps fuel anti-Semitism.

Johanne Gurfinkiel, CICAD Secretary General, stressed the importance of educating the public in combating anti-Semitism and noted that the report made a series of recommendations regarding the most effective ways of combating the upsurge of prejudice and hatred.