Monthly Report of Anti-Semitic Incidents
In June 2001 human rights organizations put pressure on the government of Denmark to oppose the appointment of Carmi Gillon as Israel's ambassador to Copenhagen. The strong opposition to Carmi Gillon's appointment aroused fears among Danish Jews of anti-Semitic incitement. Voices were heard from the Jewish community claiming that the one-sided coverage of the Intifada and the Carmi Gillon affair had not only generated of anti-Israel feeling but anti-Jewish sentiments as well.
It was reported in June that Jews in France were concerned about the rise in anti-Semitic incidents in the country. Many of them are convinced that it derives from the confrontation between Israel and the Palestinians. According to the report published by Prime Minister Lionel Jospin's bureau, there were 146 serious incidents against Jews during the past year, in comparison to 40 last year.
Violent Attacks and Incidents
A 71 year old orthodox Israeli rabbi was shot to death at night as he was leaving the 'Adath Yeshurun' synagogue in Zurich's Fourth Quarter, which is known as a quiet Jewish neighborhood. The rabbi was the head of one of the Talmudic academies in Bnei Braq and had arrived in Switzerland to raise money for the academy. The murder case still remains unsolved to today. Given the fact that the victim was not robbed, the background to the crime seems to have been anti-Semitic.
On the night between 2-3 June, 17 Arabs surrounded four youths from the Santiago Jewish community at the city's Burger King branch, shouted insults at them and threatened to kill them, with a warning that they were carrying weapons. The group dispersed without any further trouble.
On the night between 3-4 June, 15 Arabs, apparently members of the Palestinian community in San Diego, surrounded two young men from the Jewish community at the city's Macdonald's restaurant. One of the Arabs struck one of the Jewish boys. After the intervention of the restaurant workers, the Arabs left the premises.
On 2 June, while he was walking along a street in Sydney with his friend, a Jew wearing a skullcap was attacked by two Arab looking men who came out of their car. The young man wearing the skullcap was injured in his eye and face and succeeded in running away.
On 2 June, four Arab men harassed a Jew in a parking lot in Sydney, shouting derogatory remarks at him, spitting on his car and threatening to kill him.
On 9 June, four windows of a synagogue in Sydney were smashed.
In late May, in the early morning hours, a stone was thrown through the bedroom window of the Habad rabbi's house in Copenhagen. The person who threw the stone was of Arab appearance and rode a bicycle. No one was hurt.
On Saturday, 2 June, a car tried to run over a Jew near the synagogue in Copenhagen. The car drove up onto the sidewalk and drove quickly at about 60 kilometers an hour towards the Jew who jumped aside. The car continue to drive on. The driver was of Arab appearance.
On 3 June, a window of the Dunstable and District synagogue in Luton was damaged, apparently by a shot from an air rifle.
On 4 June, the synagogue in Bournemouth was broken into. Charity boxes and some cash were stolen. Feces were smeared on the synagogue floor.
On 5 June, there was an attempt to torch the entrance door of an apartment building in Salford, most of whose tenants were Jews. A newspaper was set on fire and stuffed under the door.
On 5 June, a box with electric wires sticking out of it and looking like a bomb, was placed next to the wall of the 'Belz' Jewish school in Manchester. The police were summoned and they removed the box.
On 17 June, a car with two white men passed three times in front of the Central Synagogue in north Manchester. Its occupants shouted abusive slogans.
On 18 June, the windows of the Cockfosters and North Southgate synagogue in London were smashed.
On 22 June, a car with four Asians drove by in the vicinity of the Great Synagogue in Manchester. The car drove recklessly near pedestrians while the passengers shouted abusive slogans at them.
In the evening of Wednesday, 27 June, a group of 5-6 Jewish scouts were attacked by a group of Arabs while they were returning from a scout activity in the Clinique street area of Brussel's Anderlecht district.
On 23 June, two Arabs cursed three Jewish girls who were walking in the Groenplaats neighborhood in Antwerp. They shouted anti-Semitic slogans at them and even struck one of the girls in the face.
On 26 June, two Arabs approached an open window of the Mordechai-Sanz synagogue in Antwerp during a Bible lesson, shouted anti-Semitic slogans at the students and threw stones at them. No one was hurt.
On 23 June, a car approached the Thionville synagogue. An Arab came out of the car, waved his arms to the side making a V-sign and cursed the Jews.
During several Sabbaths in June, local Arabs tried to harass the worshippers of the Aubervilliers synagogue in Paris with shouts and curses. The reason was apparently the return of an official delegation from the Aubervilliers municipality on a tour of Israel and the Territories and the publication of the committee's pro-Palestinian report.
On 1 June, burning articles were thrown at a synagogue in Garge-Les-Gonesses (a northern suburb of Paris) which was unoccupied at the time. The building was not damaged.
Desecration of Jewish Memorials and Cemeteries
On 13 June, the Jewish cemetery in Velikie Luki in the Pskov oblast of western Russia was desecrated. Unknown persons broke into the cemetery and destroyed over 40 gravestones. The next day, on the night of 14 June, the windows of the Jewish community center in the city were smashed. According to Jewish elements in the city, threatening abusive letters had been received.
On 11 June, the memorial to Jewish victims murdered by the Nazis in the city of Brest was desecrated. Anti-Semitic slogans and swastikas were also written.
On 19 June, the abusive slogans 'Liberate Palestine', 'World Intifada' and a five-pointed star were written on the wall of the old Jewish cemetery in Malmo.
In the evening of 2 June, an anonymous phone call was received at the 'Hebraica' club in Caracas. The conversation contained insults against the Jews and threats of an attack on the club.
On 12 June, an anonymous phone call was received of a bomb planted in the Jewish 'King David' school in Johannesburg's Linksfield neighborhood. On 21 June, a similar announcement was received.
On the private commercial cable television channel ATV which has a high rate of viewing an anti-Semitic program called 'The Press Club' was shown twice. Most of the discussion revolved around anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial and diminishing the number of Jewish victims in Hungary (from 600 to 300 thousand). One of the statements during the program was that 'the Jews want to make a living from the Holocaust which itself has become a business', as well as all Jewish intellectuals being called to pack and go 'there' (meaning Israel). The program caused an uproar in the Jewish community. A protest was published in the 'Nepszava' newspaper in the name of eight Jewish organizations which strongly denounced the anti-Semitic program.
During Samara's mayoral election campaign, former Minister of Press Mirinov, who is known for his anti-Semitic publications, gave a press conference. He announced his support for Oleg Kitter, the former deputy mayor. Kitter himself is considered a blatant anti-Semite who called for the expulsion of the Jews and the destruction of synagogues.
On 30 June, during a football match in Minsk, fans of the local 'Dinamo' football team shouted abusive anti-Semitic slogans at the Israeli team from Haifa. When a Haifa fan waved an Israeli flag, locals began shouting slogans such as 'Hit the Jew-boys! Choke them!' The local football federation publicly apologized for the incident.
On 19 June, the Carmelite monastery building next to the Auschwitz camp was vandalized and anti-Semitic slogans were written.
The Egyptian establishment newspaper 'Akhbar' published an article containing a strong protest by the Israeli ambassador against the granting of the Journalists' Association prize to the senior journalist Ahmad Ragab who wrote in praise of Hitler's stand towards the Jews and strong words of incitement against Israel.
The new Syrian textbooks state that the Jews have not been a people or a nation for many generations, that they are racists and call themselves the 'Chosen People', and that they are evil by nature. Syrian textbooks do not ignore anti-Semitism but put the blame for it on the Jews who bring it upon themselves.
The Jewish weekly 'Jewish Journal' published an article about a website called 'La Voz De Aztlan' which disseminates anti-Semitic articles among the Latin community in Los Angeles, especially against the city's Jewish community. A recent article stated that 'in sectors that Jews cannot control directly, they try to control and manipulate through the influence of ethnic minorities'.
Fredrick Toben and Richard Krege, another Australian Holocaust denier, participated in a second international conference on the subject 'Authentic History and the First Amendment' which was held in Washington on 16 June. Both delivered speeches during the conference in which they tried to prove that the Treblinka death camp never existed.
Fredrick Toben, director of the Holocaust denial 'Adelaide Institute', wrote in the institute's news issue about his recent visit to Iran and a series of lectures he delivered there to Iranian students. He also referred to a resolution adopted at the Tolerance Conference in Stockholm in January 2001 which encourages the instruction of the Holocaust in schools. He said the purpose of these studies is to attract sympathy for Israel. He added that he supported the Palestinians' struggle and expects that the Jews will eventually be forced to leave Israel.
On 26 June, a man got on a school bus in Sydney and scolded a child who had thrown something onto his car. He shouted 'stupid Jewish brats' at the frightened children.
On 19 June, anti-Semitic abusive slogans and a swastika appeared on streets in Sydney.
On 21 June, an unidentified woman called a synagogue in Sydney and said 'Heil Hitler' and that Hitler would return.
E-mail messages were sent to a senior Jewish member of Parliament in Canberra by various anti-Semitic elements, including Radio Islam and right-wing bodies.
The well-known anti-Semite Dave Muller claimed that the attack on the Dolphinarium in Tel Aviv in June 2001 was perpetrated by 'Jewish Israelis for cynical political reasons'.
A letter published in the 'Hobart Mercury' newspaper said that the greatest injustice of the 20th century was done to the Palestinians who had to pay a price for Hitler's crimes against the Jews (instead of the Germans themselves) in the theft of their land in order to appease mainly the American Jews.
In early June, several instances occurred of anti-Semitic slogans written in a Rio De Janeiro suburb.
In late May-early June, swastikas and antisemitic graffiti were drawn in quarters in Mexico City populated by Jews.
In early June, pupils from a school in San Luis province, arrived for a visit to an Anna Frank exhibition with anti-Semitic literature in their possession.
Abusive slogans against the Jews, including swastikas, were written on the walls of a French school in Fez.
On 8 June, antisemitic graffiti was written on the fence of the King David school in Manchester and the fence was damaged.
On 13 June, an abusive slogan was written on a bench in a Hampstead Heath park.
On 1 June, a swastika was drawn on a shop in a mall in Feltham Middlesex.
The press reported in June, that the British charity organization 'German Welfare Council' which supports Holocaust victims, received funding from royalties of the sale of Hitler's book 'Mein Kampf'. The organization received more than a half million pounds sterling in royalties from the book's British publisher. Leaders of the Jewish community in London expressed opposition to profiting in any way from the publication of the book and supported the return of the funds to the publisher. The Sunday Telegraph reported that sales of the book in Britain rose to 11,000 copies this year and many thousands were sold over the Internet.
A day after the murderous attack on the Dolphinarium, an anti-Semitic caricature entitled 'Kamikazes' appeared on the front page of the French daily 'Le Monde'. The illustration was drawn by the well-known French caricaturist Plantu and showed a Hamas suicide attacker loaded down with explosives. Beside him was a Jew wearing a chain of settlements (which Plantu also considers are explosives). The caricature's message was clear: the Jews, in the form of settlers, are also suicide attackers who massacre the Palestinian people.
On 18 June, an abusive letter was sent to the Liberal synagogue in Marseilles from Aix-en-Province. The letter contained abusive statements and a general threat to the Jews.
Several Jews living in Toulouse received abusive letters, including a Star of David and a safety pin.
On 5 June, a pro-Palestinian demonstration was held in the center of Nimes during which anti-Semitic slogans were heard such as 'Death to the Jews', 'Death to Israel' and cries supporting Hamas.
On 25 June, a minister in the New South Wales parliament spoke out against recent anti-Semitic activity NSW which included attacks on synagogues, the distribution of anti-Semitic pamphlets and harassment.
A trial opened in the Sydney federal court against the publication and dissemination of Fredrick Toben's Holocaust denial views over the Internet. Toben said if his life in Australia became too difficult, he would consider emigrating to Iran.
The authorities in the Tula area stopped the circulation of the racist newspaper 'Russkaya Gazeta' and began legal proceedings against it for publishing an anti-Semitic article entitled 'Jewish Fascism' which encourages the hatred of Jews. This is the first time in Tula that legal steps have been taken against a newspaper.
The Russian government issued an official warning to the Russian newspaper 'Russian Master' calling on it to refrain from racist and anti-Semitic incitement. Racist and inciting articles are against the country's mass media law.
The Russian authorities banned the public screening of two films produced by the Nazi producer Leni Riefenstahl at the documentary film festival in St. Petersburg. One film 'The Victory of the Will' shows a Nazi rally in Nuremberg and the second, 'Olympia', deals with the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.
The Journalists' Association in St. Petersburg demanded that the Press Ministry close down the newspaper 'Petersburg Novy' for an article published on 13 June which incited to racial hatred. The article said the Jews had fought alongside Nazi Germany.
The Association of Electronic Media ANEM sent a message to the press condemning several anti-Semitic publications which were printed in Belgrade, including the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion' and 'Mein Kampf' which was reprinted (after 10 years) by the Kizc publishing house in Belgrade. The commentary which accompanied the books was in the style of 'the Jews are the enemies of humanity who were behind the collapse of Yugoslavia and the civil war'. The ANEM media association issued a proclamation expressing shock at the publications, especially the fact that those responsible were not put on trial or punished for breaking the law against racial incitement which is punishable by Yugoslav criminal law.
Two men suspected of manufacturing pins and uniforms with Nazi symbols were arrested in the town of Liberec. The police announced that this year it was confiscating thousands of Nazi-type items throughout Bohemia.
Czech Radio and the Television Broadcasting Council opened an investigation against Czech Television for broadcasting an anti-Semitic joke on one of its programs in February this year. The Council claimed that the joke which played down the severity of the Jews' suffering in concentration camps during the Holocaust, was 'cruel and inhumane'.
A jury awarded a religious Jew $100,000 damages for his dismissal six months ago from his job at the telephone company. The newly religious man was fired from his job because he refused to shave off his beard and continued to wear a skullcap in contradiction to his boss's instructions.
The racist Alex James Curtis from California who advocates white supremacy received a 3-year prison sentence for desecrating two synagogues, pasting stickers with swastikas and writing anti-Semitic graffiti 'Kill Every Jew' in the offices of a Jewish Congress member.
Two members of a white supremacist organization were arrested in Boston on suspicion of planning an attack on Jewish sites. The entire affair was discovered last April but was brought to light only in June and has aroused great interest in the local media.
The newspaper 'Tribune De Geneve' reported the arrest of a man with two pistols and a sack of explosives in his possession who was found near the banks of the river beside the 'Gil' synagogue.
As part of Germany's efforts to confront its past, the German Scientific Association apologized to the victims of scientific experiments conducted on them during the Second World War. The survivors were invited to an apology ceremony (to be held in July 2001) which was organized by the Max Planck association.
A 71 year old draftsman, Anthony Rimmington, from Ealing, was arrested at the Heathrow airport on suspicion of sending 'Waspawan' abusive letters. The arrest came after prolonged searches which included a television advertisement containing his photograph. The police suspect that Rimmington sent over 500 abusive letters to various people, including Jews. After his arrest, the police found three guns and explosives in his home.
Mass demonstrations were held in Paris and in several large cities in France in protest of the visit of Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad to France for his anti-Semitic statements during the Pope's visit in May 2001. The largest was the rally organized by the CRIF, the council representing Jewish institutions in France, in which some 8000 people greeted Assad with cries of 'Anti-Semite, get out of here!'. In other protest demonstrations participants included members of the French Parliament, anti-racism movements and French human rights organizations. A large part of the French public and not necessarily from the Jewish community protested against Assad's visit due to his anti-Semitic statements and the trampling of human rights in his country.
The European Court for Human Rights rejected the petition for release submitted by 90 year old Maurice Papon who claimed that he was cruelly treated in the French prison where he is serving a 10-year sentence for his involvement in sending Jews to concentration camps.
The examinations carried out on the skeletons of the victims of the July 1941 massacre of the Jews in the Polish town Jedwabne have been completed. According to the agreement with the rabbi of Warsaw, the bones were not removed from their grave but were photographed and subsequently recovered with earth. The Polish Minister of Justice said that according to the examinations it can be assessed that some 200 Jews were murdered in 1941 by their Polish neighbors and not 1600 as previous evidence was claimed to have revealed. Two bullet shells were discovered at the site next to the skeletons. This finding indicates a possible German presence and involvement in the massacre. Prof. Jan Tomas Gross, the man who created the storm over the massacre with his book 'Neighbors', claimed that the examination conducted at the site was not conclusive and should have been conducted over a period of months and not only a few days as was the case.
The request for forgiveness by Polish bishops for the massacre in Jedwabne was conducted in the 'All Saints' church on the eve of the Feast of Weeks, without a Jewish presence but with the participation of bishops and many senior officials. The inscription on the memorial planned to be erected in Jedwabne aroused much opposition because despite the request of Jewish organizations, there will be no mention on the inscription of the part the Poles played in the massacre.
The secret transfer of the wall murals executed by Bruno Schultz, the Polish artist who was murdered during the Holocaust, from Ukraine to Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, agitated the Polish public who are great admirers of the artist. Yad Vashem, however, believe that keeping the artist's work in Israel is justified and correct, and to this end emphasize that Bruno Schultz was born a Jew and murdered for being Jewish.
On 2 June, the statue of the Romanian leader Marshal Ion Antonescu was unveiled in the yard of the Christian Orthodox church in the capital Bucharest. Antonescu was the leader of Romania from 1940-1944 and was a loyal ally of Hitler. Under his rule, the Jews were forced to wear the Jewish badge, were sent for forced labor and deported to their deaths. Antonescu is assessed to have been responsible for the deaths of some 200,000 Jews. After the war he was executed as a war criminal. The statue was unveiled by Vadim Tudor, the leader of the anti-Semitic party 'Romania Mare' and the ceremony was attended by senior army officers. Romanian President Iliescu denounced the attempts to rehabilitate Antonescu which he said could hamper Romania's efforts to join NATO.
In a visit to Iasi on 23 June, President Iliescu participated in a meeting to mark the 60th anniversary of Romania's entry into the Second World War. He was also present at a ceremony inaugurating an obelisk at the front of the synagogue in Iasi which was built in memory of the Jews who were murdered there in a pogrom in June 1941.
A member of the House of Deputies in Cluj from the 'Romania Mare' party (PRM), Joan Mikla, maintained that the PRM should have punished the writer of anti-Semitic jokes Joan Marinescu more severely. Mikla added that the decision of the party executive to be satisfied with a severe reprimand, instead of removing him from party ranks, does not reflect the seriousness of the deed and does not bolster the party's attempts to show that it is not anti-Semitic.
The Liberal Democrat party expressed its opposition to legislating a law prohibiting Holocaust denial, for fear that making it illegal would constitute a violation of freedom of speech which according to its view is an essential component of true democracy.
On 11 June, the Holocaust denier David Irving petitioned the court's decision of April 2000 in the libel case against the British 'Penguin' publishing house and Prof. Deborah Lipstadt. The petition was discussed and rejected. (The subject will be covered in future reports).
On 25 June, the head of the Catholic church, Pope John Paul II, visited the memorial site for those murdered in Babi Yar in Ukraine. The historical visit was part of the Pope's tour of Ukraine and was designed to pay respects to some 150,000 Jews and non-Jews who were murdered by the Nazis in 1941 during the Second World War.
The Italian Ministry of Finance gave Yad Vashem valuable items that include personal effects, jewelry and Torah scrolls which the Nazis had stolen from the Jews at the gates of the La Risiera concentration camp in Trieste. The articles will be displayed in an exhibition with the original tags attached by the Nazis.
Between 21-24 June, the Russian 'Holocaust' Foundation in Brest held a large seminar for teaching the Holocaust and its lessons to various communities. About 100 participants from all over the CIS and primarily from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus took part in the seminar which encompassed the entire CIS.
The Council of Bishops of Slovakia plans to submit a request to the Vatican to canonize Bishop Jan Vojtassak for his refusal to cooperate with the Communist authorities during his 12-year imprisonment. The local Jewish community, however, claims that during his term of office in the Slovak government, Vojtassak approved the deportation of 58,000 Jews to a concentration camp. The community also maintained that if he is canonized they will appeal the Vatican's decision.
Source: Israeli Foreign Ministry