A troubling resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe, Iran's subterfuge on the road toward a nuclear weapons capability, and the lopsided vote at the United Nations to upgrade the status of the Palestinian delegation topped the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) annual list of issues affecting Jews in 2012.
Also among the Top 10 issues affecting Jews: Israel's airstrikes aimed at deterring Hamas rockets from falling in southern Israel; the historic re-election of President Obama and unprecedented efforts by the Democratic and Republican parties to woo Jewish voters; a conspiracy theory about Jewish involvement in an anti-Muslim film that went viral; the failure of the Olympic Games to recognize the 40th anniversary of the 1972 massacre of Israeli athletes; heightened security awareness in the wake of a series of anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S., and the deafening silence of world leaders in response to Hamas celebrations calling for the destruction of Israel.
"While it isn't always true, this year was a year with particular emphasis on events overseas," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "For us at ADL, and indeed for the entire Jewish community in America, which has long assumed responsibility for the well-being of Jews abroad, including in Israel, these are matters of great concern to us and are very relevant to our own organization.
"The shocking attack on Jewish school children in France reinforced for Jews around the world that anti-Semitism is still a serious problem in France and indeed all of Europe," said Foxman. "This was hardly an isolated event. Time and again, Jews were the targets of anti-Semitic incidents in communities in a number of European countries, and in three countries virulently racist and anti-Semitic political parties won seats in parliament.”
“Our survey of attitudes toward Jews in 10 European countries revealed that anti-Semitic attitudes are still deeply ingrained on the continent,” he said.
"In the United States, after a primary election where several of the presidential candidates attempted to inappropriately mix religion and politics, the presidential campaign made history as an African-American incumbent faced off against a Mormon," asserted Foxman. "Yet both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney sought to avoid discussions of race and religion and to focus on the pressing issues facing the country, and their religious and ethnic backgrounds became a less important part of the story. Meanwhile, the Jewish vote was highly prized this election cycle, and both campaigns made unprecedented efforts to reach out to Jewish voters."
"In Israel, after months of indiscriminate rocket attacks against Israeli towns and cities, the Jewish state was forced to defend its citizens with airstrikes aimed at destroying the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza," added Foxman. "Before a cease-fire brought the hostilities to a temporary halt, Hamas terrorists had fired more than 1,400 rockets at Israel, including advanced Iranian-supplied weapons at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Much of the world remained silent as Hamas took to the streets to celebrate their supposed 'victory' over Israel and the Hamas leadership vowed to destroy the Jewish state."