Report of Anti-Semitic Incidents
A relatively large number of serious attacks and incidents occurred in March, including the hurling of Molotov cocktails, air rifle shots and physical attacks, including one knifing.
The month was also noteworthy for the many bomb threats received by Jewish facilities.
Radical organizations and even the non-radical press continue to openly publish blatant anti-Semitic propaganda. Also prominent was the use of anti-Semitic statements during local election campaigns.
Violent Attacks and Incidents
On 17 March, near the synagogue in Radlet, a member of the congregation was attacked while on her way home from the synagogue by a man who was waiting at a bus stop. The attacker struck the woman and kicked her while shouting abusive anti-Semitic slogans. The woman fled to a nearby shop and summoned the police. The attacker succeeded in getting away.
On 12 March an ultra-orthodox boy was waiting for a bus in Stamford Hill in north London. The boy was attacked by a woman who grabbed him by the forehead and pulled his head back. She wielded a long knife in the other hand and brandished it in the direction of his throat. The boy succeeded in escaping from the woman unharmed. The woman shouted remarks about God and the Jews.
On 15 March, youths fired shots from an air rifle at the Cockfosters and North Southgate synagogue in London and smashed the synagogue windows. An abusive slogan was also written on the synagogue door.
On 4 March, windows were smashed with a hammer in the Prestwich Hebrew Congregation synagogue in Manchester.
On 13 March, windows were smashed in the girls' dormitory of the Jewish Beth Sarah Schneurer Jewish school in Manchester.
In the morning of 24 March, while worshippers were coming out of the morning prayer service at the Tokoly Street synagogue in Budapest, a shot was fired from an air rifle (apparently from the building opposite), at a Jew who was near the synagogue. He was not hurt.
On 31 March, two Molotov cocktails were thrown at the Jewish community center in Canberra. They hit the walls and smashed in the outside yard. The building was not damaged nor was anyone hurt.
On 1 March, a stone was thrown at a synagogue in east Sydney and on 5 March, three of its windows were smashed.
Mezuzahs were torn out from the front and back doors of a Jewish family's home in Melbourne.
On 25 March, unknown persons vandalized the front of the Jewish community center in Launceston, Tasmania.
On 12 March, a pig's head and a dead fish were thrown into the front yard of a Jewish family's home in Houston, Texas.
On 8 March, on the eve of Purim, unknown persons broke into the Julien Lacroix synagogue in Paris and threw in a Molotov cocktail.
Desecration of Memorials and Jewish Cemeteries
On 13 March, unknown persons smeared feces on the Holocaust memorial in
Berlin. The memorial, part of which is in a full railway car symbolizing the Holocaust victims, was set up on the site of a synagogue that had been destroyed by the Nazis. The place was also a collection point for Jews before they were sent in transports to the death camps. The next day, in response to the incident, 40 rabbis gathered at the memorial and together with the head of the Berlin Jewish community conducted a prayer service.
On 30 March, a bomb threat was received by a Jewish-owned business in Brisbane.
Between 8 and 15 March, the rabbi of the Temple David synagogue in Perth and a Jewish organization received two threatening phone calls.
On the eve of Purim the Jewish community of Chicago held a fundraising event. In the morning an unidentified person called to warn that the premises would be blown up during the event. A search yielded nothing.
Between 6 and 8 March, the Schechter synagogue in Dallas received anonymous bomb threats regarding the school. The police searched the premises but nothing was found.
On 5 March in the afternoon, an unidentified person called the Jewish community offices in Budapest saying that the building was going to blow up. The building was evacuated and searched but nothing was found.
On 15 March, the Jewish community building in Sofia received an anonymous phone call that a bomb was about to explode in the building. Police forces were summoned but a search of the building yielded nothing.
One of the 'Keren Hayesod' organizers in Munich received phone threats at her home which she was consequently forced to leave.
The Tarbut school in Mexico City was evacuated after receiving an anonymous bomb threat on the morning of 14 March.
On 23 March, the Mendoza police was informed that an explosive charge had been planted in the local Jewish community building. The building was evacuated and examined by the local police but nothing was found.
The Musikant Affair and Reparations
Due to the refusal of the head of the Jewish community in Austria, Ariel Musikant to sign the reparations agreement between Austria and the U.S. because of his dissatisfaction with the agreement's conditions, Musikant and the Jewish community became the butt of attacks by anti-Semitic elements:
At the radical right-wing Freedom Party's conference in a beer cellar
in Vienna on 28 February, the party leader Jorg Haider said that he
did not understand how it was possible that so much dirt could cling
to a man called Ariel (the name of a well-known laundry soap). Musikant
sued Haider for his statements. Chancellor Schuessel refused to denounce
Haider's anti-Semitic remark, claiming that although Haider and his
party were partners in the government it was not the prime minister's
duty to control Haider's speech.
The Keren Hayesod conference which was to have taken place on 11 March in the club at the Munich Jewish community Center was moved at the last minute to another venue in the city due to an anti-Semitic outburst by the club's owner. The guest of honor at the conference was to have been Noa Ben Arzi, the granddaughter of the late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin. Before the event, the club owner retracted his agreement with the Keren Hayesod while making racist accusations against the fund's representatives. He said he wanted no connection with Jews and instead of working with them he preferred to work with representatives of the German People's Union party, the radical right-wing DVU. The Keren Hayesod organization filed a suit against the club owner for breach of contract and racist remarks which are illegal in Germany. When referring to the club owner's anti-Semitic statements, Germany's Minister of Justice said it was a disgrace to the country. The Munich mayor sent a letter of apology to Ben Arzi stressing that the Munich municipality bore no responsibility for the deed.
The editorial of the first issue of 'Admiralteistvo' which appeared this month in St. Petersburg, claimed that Judeo-Bolshevism murdered millions of ethnic Russians. The regional representative of President Putin wrote a note congratulating the launching of the newspaper. During March articles appeared in the Russian press expressing concern over increasing anti-Semitic expressions in St. Petersburg, a city which in the past had been known for being extremely tolerant of various ethnic groups. The city has recently become the center for Neo-Nazi activity, including parades and the dissemination of anti-Semitic publications.
The Neo-Nazi RNU organization which was declared illegal in Moscow held a rally in a Moscow park with the participation of other radical right-wing groups. The rally participants called for the legislation of a 'spiritual and moral censorship'. Press Minister Mirinov during the Yeltsin era maintained before the crowd that what was going on in Russia was that the haters of Russia, most of whom were Jews, were spreading an anti-orthodox corrupt spirit in Russia, thereby corrupting nationalist traditions.
During the election campaign for governor of Tula province, pamphlets against the popular candidate were distributed. They accused him of being a member of a satanic cult and of being a Jew who was hiding his Jewish identity. Anti-Semitic articles against him also appeared in the press.
Two anti-Semitic demonstrations were held in late March.
On 24 March, a demonstration was organized by a group of radical Communists.
The demonstrators called for expelling the Jews from Russia.
In an interview to the important 'Vima' newspaper on 15 March, the head of the Greek church, Archbishop Christodoulos, accused the Jews of being behind the pressure brought to bear on the Greek government to remove the religion clause from identity cards. It will be recalled that about a year ago the Greek government decided to remove the religion clause, along with other clauses, from identity cards in order to adapt itself to the European Union trend of protecting privacy and the unity of identity cards.
In Avignon two envelopes were sent to Jews with characteristically Jewish names. The envelopes contained a Jewish Star of David badge with the word 'Jude' written on it with a safety pin attached.
During the night of 12 March, two swastikas were drawn on the wall of a building opposite the side wall of the 'Mikveh Israel' synagogue. Swastikas about 40 cm. large were sprayed with brown paint.
On 2 March following the prayer service, a vehicle containing five young passengers playing very loud music drove past a synagogue in Bogota. The youths shouted 'Jew sons of bitches'. Such an incident has not occurred in Bogota for several years.
On 26 March, e-mail was sent to the Jewish Agency's education department. It contained a flag of the Nazi PNT party with the slogan 'Muerte A Los Judios' ('Death to the Jews' in Spanish).
On 4 March, the 'Epoca' magazine printed several anti-Semitic statements made in December 2000 by Joachim Agut, president of the 'Terra Lycos' Internet company: 'Business should not be conducted with Jews All my life I have done business with Jews and they have tried to cheat me If someone has any trouble with the Jews, let them tell me. I have a few relatives in Sicily who will take care of them'. Agut made blunt statements on the Holocaust saying 'All the Jews should have died'. Such statements aroused much anger among the Jewish community which requested Agut apologize for this remarks. Agut denied the statements attributed to him but there is evidence that he did make them.
Many anti-Semitic abusive letters were sent during March to the 'Anna Frank' foundation in London, to the Jewish Chronicle newspaper and to synagogues in Cardiff. Some of the letters included propaganda from the racist 'Combat-18' organization.
On Saturday, 10 March, a short time after the prayer service ended at the liberal synagogue in Stockholm, some 30 Neo-Nazis congregated near the synagogue and distributed pamphlets denouncing the murder of a radical right-wing activist by a group of immigrants in Sweden. The Neo-Nazis began to approach the synagogue. They pasted posters onto the synagogue fence and insulted a member of the congregation.
On 13 March, a fax was sent to the Jewish Agency in Geneva with abusive statements in German. Israel and the Jews were accused of breaking human conventions, of racism and murder.
Anti-Semitic abusive slogans were drawn during March on the fence of a private home in east Melbourne and on the sidewalk in a neighborhood with a large Jewish population.
On 11 March, unknown persons drew the abusive slogan 'Burn in Hell, fucking Jews' on the window of a flower shop in a Sydney neighborhood heavily populated with Jews. The shop had been previously owned by Jews.
An abusive conversation was received at the offices of the Jewish community organization in Melbourne.
On two separate occasions unknown persons sent anti-Semitic mail to Jewish community leaders in Melbourne and Sydney. Accusing mail was also sent to the office of a Jew in Melbourne.
A man identifying himself as a Palestinian cursed and insulted a synagogue guard in Melbourne.
A threatening letter was sent to a synagogue in one of the southern neighborhoods in Sydney.
Several anti-Semitic caricatures and posters were pasted to telephone poles and traffic lights near the Jewish community offices in Sydney on 26 and 30 of March.
Anti-Semitic e-mail was sent to more than seventy Australian Buddhists. It accused the Jews of destroying statues of Buddha in Afghanistan.
Anti-Semitic leaflets by right-wing radicals were found between the pages of books in various libraries in Sydney's northern and western suburbs.
An anti-Semitic film will apparently be produced in Syria soon with the help of an Egyptian producer. The film will be based on the book by the Syrian Minister of Defence, Mustafa Talas, entitled 'The Matzo of Zion'. It describes the Damascus blood libel of 1840 as a proven historical fact. The producer and Talas signed an agreement in March in which Talas would receive five percent of the film profits which he intends to contribute to the Al-Aqsa Intifada. The producer claimed that the purpose of the film was a response to the movie 'Schindler's List' and Zionist American films which are supported by Zionist propaganda.
On 23 March, Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri officially announced that his country would not host the joint western and Arab Holocaust denial conference which was expected to open in late March in Beirut. The Lebanese government's decision to cancel the conference was reached following pressure brought to bear by the governments of Sweden, Switzerland and the U.S., as well as Beirut's fear of damage to its image and economy if the conference were held. Some Lebanese newspapers had opposed holding the conference. Prominent Arab intellectuals, including Mahmud Darwish, the poet Adonis and the culture researcher Edward Said published a letter demanding the Lebanese authorities cancel the conference. Also noteworthy is the vigorous activity of several Jewish organizations throughout the world against holding the conference.
In response to the cancellation, the 'Truth and Justice' institute which organized the 'Revisionism and Zionism' conference, published a statement over the Internet denouncing the boycott Lebanon imposed on the conference as a 'violation of the most basic rights of its citizens'. The statement also said : 'We are revisionists and we have taken many risks to expose the lies of Zionism. We do not accept the fact that the Lebanese people, which has been aggressively fighting this Zionism for several decades, has taken from us the liberty to hold the congress which will expose the distortion of history'.
Inspired by the Weisenthal Institute in Paris, an association was established in Paris in March called 'Action Internationale Pour La Justice' AIPJ J'Accuse !' (The Association for the International Struggle for Justice). The association's goal is to fight racism, anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial - mainly disseminated through the media, especially the Internet.
On 27 March a court in Los Angeles sentenced the racist murderer Buford Furrow Jr. to two sentences of life imprisonment for his shooting rampage in August 1999 at the North Valley Jewish Community Center. During the rampage Furrow injured seven people, including five Jewish children, and killed a Filipino postman who was in the vicinity.
U.S./ South Korea
The Simon Weisenthal Center protested to the South Korean embassy in the U.S. against two clubs in Korea which used Nazi symbols for decor. The Weisenthal Center demanded the intervention of the South Korean government to close down the 'Hitler Techno Bar and Cocktail Show' and the 'Gestapo' billiard club. Following this protest, the club owner announced that he would change the name of the club from 'Hitler' to 'Ditler'.
On 27 March, a court in Prague convicted Vit Varak of conducting and encouraging Nazi propaganda through the sale of some 20,000 copies of 'Mein Kampf' over the Internet last year. Varak was given a year's imprisonment and a fine to the value of 2600 US dollars.
Jewish leaders and the Czech authorities are working vigorously to close down the German website offering cheap tours to a firing range near the Theresienstadt concentration camp used as a transit camp for thousands of Jews before they were sent to death camps during the Holocaust.
In an effort to curb the entrenchment of the Radical Right in Germany, the government is about to recruit psychologists who will operate in kindergartens to prevent problematic children from becoming radical right wingers in the future. The initiative for the program came following the publication of the findings of a research conducted by the German Ministry of Interior. It concluded that members of Neo-Nazi skinhead gangs developed bullying behavior following childhood deprivation. Psychologists and sociologists suggest that children be treated already in early childhood.
Thousands of Germans demonstrated against intolerance and radicalism following the publication of a government report on the crimes of the Radical Right. The report found that the number of crimes/committed recently in Germany by radical right-wing elements had reached the greatest number since the Second World War.
Two Arab suspects accused of attacking a synagogue in Dusseldorf on 2 October, 2000 were put on trial for malicious incitement and possession of arms. The court sentenced one of the accused (a Palestinian citizen) to 18 months probation.
Some 10,000 persons participated in a demonstration against racism and anti-Semitism held in the center of Vienna. Most of the demonstrators were intellectuals, artists and activists from the left-wing opposition parties. The speakers attacked Chancellor of Austria Wolfgang Schuessel for his silence in the face of racist and anti-Semitic statements made by heads of the Freedom Party and by its leader Jorg Haider.
In his speech before guests of the 'Jewish Welcome Service', an organization working to promote Jewish culture in Austria after the Holocaust, President Klestil warned against Austria once again becoming the home of anti-Semitism.
On 20 March, the Austrian parliament ratified a declaration denouncing anti-Semitism, xenophobia and intolerance. This declaration is a political response to the radical statements of Jorg Haider of the Freedom Party.
In reply to a parliamentary query, the German government announced that in the last quarter of 2000, 496 anti-Semitic incidents, punishable by law, were recorded - in contrast to 140 in the first quarter of that year.
An Anti defamation League (ADL) survey revealed that there was a 49 percent increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in New York during the year 2000.
Two weeks after attacking the head of the Jewish community, Jorg Haider attacked all the members of the community when he said 'the Jewish community owes Austria more than 600 million shillings and I do not agree that the Austrian tax payer will have to cover this debt'. Haider was referring to the Jewish community's debt to the Austrian government accumulated over many years and which the government undertook to cancel as part of the reparations agreement to Holocaust victims.
In the Vienna municipality elections, Jorg Haider's the Freedom Party (F.P.O.) won 20.8 percent and lost some eight percent of its strength. This is a far reaching result as Jorg Haider himself led the F.P.O. campaign in the city. Haider's racist and anti-Semitic propaganda manifest in the campaign did not bear fruit and failed to prevent the drop in the party's support.
The Jewish Organization for the Restoration of Property expressed satisfaction at President Kwasniewski's decision to veto the Polish parliament's resolution that those who were polish citizens up to 1999 be entitled to receive compensation for private property stolen from them during the Holocaust.
Following the publication of the book by Jan Tomas Gross entitled 'Neighbors: the Liquidation of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne', which exposed the fact that the massacre of 1600 Jews in Jedwabne in July 1941 was carried out by Poles and not as believed till now by the Nazis, the Polish authorities removed a memorial in memory of the victims which attributed the incident to the Germans. In an interview to an Israeli newspaper, President Kwasniewski offered a deep apology in the name of the Polish people for the massacre. He promised to mark the 60th anniversary of the massacre this July with a memorial ceremony at the site when a collective apology by the Polish people would be made and a new memorial set up.
Poland's National Remembrance Institute decided to research information on a pogrom carried out against the Jews in June 1941 in Radzilwo and determine whether local Poles killed hundreds of their Jewish neighbors at this site as well.
Majkowski, the Polish president's senior foreign affairs assistant apologized for his participation in an anti-Semitic campaign conducted by the Communist government 33 years ago.
A French court sentenced Adolf Eichman's assistant Alois Brunner to life imprisonment in absentia. Brunner played a central role in sending over 150,000 Jews to the death camps. Brunner had already been sentenced to death twice in the past. It was published in the past, that Brunner, if he is still alive, is apparently currently living in Syria where he found asylum.
The Simon Weisenthal Center presented the U.S. authorities with a list of 31 Lithuanians living in the U.S. and suspected of collaborating with the Nazis - including those who served in local police units who persecuted the Jews in Lithuania and Ukraine during the Holocaust.
The Lithuanian government appealed to the British authorities to extradite a British citizen of Lithuanian extraction, Anton Gecas, who lives in Edinburgh. The Lithuanian government intends to try Gecas on suspicion of war crimes which included the murder of tens of thousands of Jews during the Second World War. According to Scottish law, the legal processes could take many months due to the appeal processes the fugitive is entitled to prior to his extradition. The Simon Weisenthal Center in Jerusalem called on the British authorities to hasten the extradition process and expressed hope that Gecas would soon be put up for a just trial.
After returning from a Holocaust instruction conference held in January 2001 in Sweden, Natasha Jovicich, assistant to the Croatian Minister of Education, proposed Croatia join an international task force concentrating on Holocaust education. Members of the task force already include nine countries France, Germany, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Britain and the U.S. In order to join this project, a complete day of study each year must be devoted to the subject of teaching the Holocaust. This project received much interest by school pupils who expressed willingness to study the suffering of the Jews, gypsies, homosexuals and others in the war. Jovicich's proposal, however, aroused strong opposition among those who felt nostalgia towards the Nazi puppet government set up during the Second World War. Several Croatian newspapers made personal accusations against Jovicich.
Slogans by the white radical right-wing organization World Church of the Creator appeared throughout Queensland.
The weekly 'Vrij Nederland' devoted a large article to the subject
of growing anti-Semitism among young Muslims in Amsterdam, which it
called the 'mini-Intifada'. The article describes physical attacks on
Jews, damage to Jewish property, violent demonstrations opposite the
Israeli embassy and the screening of an anti-Israel video cassette in
Muslim schools in the Netherlands.
Source: Israeli Foreign Ministry