The European Jewish Congress details the increase in antisemitic political discourse in Europe during the conflict in the Middle East this summer, in an extensive report compiled from 29 European Jewish communities.
This study covers the months of July and August, and not only deals with the rise in antisemitic incidents – including vandalism, insults, threats and physical aggressions – but it charts what many Jewish communities felt was an anti-Israeli atmosphere that sometimes lashed out against local and international Jews. During the war antisemitism was often disguised as anti-Zionism.
This country-by-country analysis was provided by Jewish community representative organizations affiliated to the European Jewish Congress.
Among the conclusions and observations:
– Overall, the number of anti-Semitic incidents increased in the European Union – a correlation between events in the Middle East and a rise in acts against European Jews was ascertainable in some countries, although events increased throughout the world during the Lebanon war.
– Jewish community representative organizations in Europe carried out extensive public campaigns of support and solidarity with Israel during the war – this resulted in antisemitic discourse towards these organizations in some instances.
– Most Jewish communities found that the media was generally one-sided in respect to the conflict, concentrating only on Lebanese casualties, and not showing the effects of the war in northern Israel. Most Jewish communities reported an anti-Israeli atmosphere, encouraged by biased media reporting, that featured discourse against local and international Jews.
– Demonstrations throughout Europe often showed outright support to Hezbollah, and antisemitic terrorist group.
– Extreme-right parties in Central and Eastern Europe were almost uniformly and conspicuously silent during the war, preferring neither to comment nor to organize any large actions. Most extreme-right and far-left parties in Western Europe took an anti-Israeli stance, particularly in Austria, France, Greece, Germany, Italy and Sweden, sometimes lashing out at local Jews.
– Importantly, the Lebanon war highlighted the increasing danger that European extremist elements – be they neo-Nazi, extreme-left or Islamic – pose to Europe’s democratic values, as well as to European Jews and other minorities.
– The report shows the pressing need for increased European commitment to providing adequate security for their Jewish communities, as well as a need by the communities themselves to remain vigilant.