2003 Report on Global Trends in Anti-Semitism
- Trends in Anti-Semitic Activity
year 2003 witnessed the intensification of antisemitism including
terrorist attacks against Jews, harassment of Jews as individuals
and in groups, vandalism of Jewish sites, threats, propaganda, desecration
of sites belonging to the Jewish community alongside the creation
of a hostile atmosphere by closely associating the Jews with activities
inside Israel and denying the right of the Jewish People to an independent
main axes characterized antisemitic activity throughout the year:
a. Acts of terrorism directed specifically against the Jewish community
– marking the Jewish communities as preferred targets for terrorist
action by the terrorist organizations operating in the framework of
the World Jihad. This included terrorist acts in Istanbul and Morocco
and numerous warnings of intentions to carry out terrorist attacks against
the Jewish community.
b. Intensive activities by specifically anti-Jewish/anti-Israel
elements who did everything they could to malign, defame and threaten
Jews because of what was considered their affinity to Israel and as
part of what was defined as "criticism of Israeli policies". In our
assessment this criticism had its roots in antisemitism and proves that
these elements do not wish only to criticize Israeli policy but also
to attack the Jews and mainly to deny the right of the Jewish People
to their own independent state.
2003, there was a certain decline in the numbers of incidents in
most of the parameters of those reported, and, as in previous years,
most of the incidents occurred in Europe.
Trends in Anti-Semitic Activity
Terrorism, carried out in the name of the World Jihad which had
declared its intentions to attack Jews as part of its war, was focused
on a number of emphatically Jewish targets. This included the attack
on Jewish community sites and sites with a clear connection to the
Jews in Casablanca, Morocco (16th May), the murder of
who Jews in Casablanca and Meknes (11th and 13th September), also against an antisemitic background, and the bombing
of the two synagogues in Istanbul, Turkey (15th November),
in which six members of the Jewish community were murdered.
continued, and even increasing, trend towards Islamization in various
parts of the world, felt especially in Europe. In most countries
of Europe there has been a pronounced increase in the Islamic communities,
a process which exacerbates the sense of threat within the Jewish
communities. The influences of this trend are clearly visible in
the identities of perpetrators of these attacks. As was the case
in 2002, most of the attacks against the Jews were carried out by
large number of the attacks against Jews or Jewish sites were carried
out by radical right-wing elements and skinheads.
right-wing elements have increased their expressions of empathy
towards Palestinian and Islamic issues.
the first time in years, intentions by a radical right-wing group
to carry out a bomb attack on a Jewish site were discovered. This
was in Germany in September 2003, and the intention was to carry
out the attack during the corner-laying ceremony at a Jewish site
on the anniversary of Crystal Night.
demonizing of Israel and the Jews is continuing, and they are blamed
for every despicable act in the world. This is also true of the
spread of the Jewish/Israeli conspiracy theory by radical right-wing
and Islamic elements.
the Arab world, there has been an increase in classic antisemitism
against Jews in general and against Israel in particular, with many
of the regimes granting absolute legitimacy to written and spoken
expressions of antisemitism, thus making antisemitism a normative
trend towards discrimination if Jews in Academe simply because of
their origin is continuing. Anti-Israel activities, often violent
in nature, are continuing on university and college campuses.
war in Iraq has brought large numbers of protesters out to the streets,
many of them claiming that it was the Jews and Israel that pushed
the United States to go out to war.
this, a number of important world leaders have recognized the severity
of the problem of antisemitism and have joined the battle against
Europe, there has been an increase of antisemitism in all its aspects.
Regarding the European Union Institutions, particularly striking
this year was the fact that a study that had been commissioned by
its leadership was shelved. The study showed that Islamic elements
had been responsible for most of the expression of antisemitism.
The report, as mentioned above, was shelved with all kinds of excuses
being made for this move. The reason for its having been shelved
apparently had to do with the fact that it did not fit the Europeans'
tendency not to come into direct confrontation with the Islamic
minority on the Continent. In addition, a survey was published indicating
that 59% of the people living in Europe are of the opinion that
Israel presents the no.1 threat to world peace. In our assessment,
the findings of this survey quite accurately reflect the results
of the anti-Israel propaganda mixed with antisemitism on the part
of influential elements in Europe.
continues to "lead" in the number and severity of the incidents.
These incidents include: burning down synagogues, violence against
Jewish individuals and groups, desecration of cemeteries, an atmosphere
of fear on the streets, and most of the incidents have indeed occurred
on the streets, that prevents the Jews from leading normal lives.
These phenomena have prompted the Chief Rabbi of France to advise
the Jewish public to refrain from appearing in public wearing anything
that would identify them as Jews. Alongside this, a draft law was
proposed forbidding Jews and Muslims from appearing in State schools
wearing any kind of clearly religious garb such as skullcaps and
veils. Although the declared aim of the law was to counter phenomena
of Islamisation, it will most likely influence the Jews as well.
Belgium, there was a certain decline in the number of incidents
that included attacks on Jews, but the atmosphere of hostility towards
Jews and everything they represent is on the rise. In Switzerland
there were elections in which the "sacred" balance between the political
power factors was upset by the substantial increase in the strength
of the radical right-wing party headed by Blocher who in the past
had made remarks indicating his support for the denial of the Holocaust.
This rise may possibly have its roots in the concern among the Swiss
population about the demographic changes resulting from the serious
rise in the number of Muslims in the country.
Britain, violent attacks on Jews on the streets and the desecration
of synagogues and cemeteries have continued. Alongside this, because
of Britain's support of the United States in the war in Iraq, Britain
has been marked by the World Jihad as a preferred target for attack,
including, of course, attacks on Jewish sites.
Scandinavian countries, especially Sweden, have been particularly
conspicuous in the number of physical and psychological attacks
on Jews, alongside one-sided support for the Palestinians and crass
criticism of Israel for its overall policies concerning the Palestinians.
year there have been comparatively fewer incidents of gross and
violent antisemitism in Germany. The discovery of plans by right-wing
elements belonging to the "brotherhood" of extreme right-wing groups,
revealed evidence of an "upgrading" in the activities of this element.
So far as is known, the intention was to infiltrate a powerful explosive
device into the Munich Jewish community's cornerstone-laying ceremony
for a new Jewish facility there. In addition to senior members of
the Jewish community, the President of Germany and members of the
Israeli Embassy staff were also to participate in the ceremony.
Of note is fact that ceremony was to have taken place on the 9th of November, the anniversary of the "Crystal Night" events.
Hungary, although there was no reporting on unusual activities against
the Jews on the part of the radical right-wing in that country,
that element is very active, and there is evidence that deeply rooted
antisemitism does exist among quite a few circles in Hungary. Of
particular note is the incident in which a dummy explosives charge
was placed near the Great Synagogue in Budapest in November.
Turkey, where these has been no regular reporting on antisemitic
activities, two car-bomb attacks were carried out simultaneously
at two synagogues in Istanbul on Saturday, 15th November.
The synagogues were full of worshippers when the blasts went off
and only the fact that the cars were unable to park closer to each
of the synagogues that there was not more damage or greater loss
of life. The attacks were carried out by a local organization influenced
by and under the aegis of the Al-Qaeda Organization.
Greece, the high level of antisemitic activities continued unabated,
including desecration of monuments and antisemitic graffiti. Antisemitic
remarks by prominent members of cultural, religious and academic
circles and publication of material in center-oriented press, lent
legitimacy to antisemitism. Of particular note are the remarks by
the popular and well-liked Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis that
the Jewish People is responsible for everything evil in the world.
The statement which was a criticism of Israel's policies deteriorated
into blanket accusations of the entire Jewish People. It was only
after various expressions of criticism that the Greek Government
issued its rather tepid reservations about the composer's remarks.
This is a reflection of the Greek Government's inaction concerning
antisemitism, although at the end of the year Israel proposed the
setting up of a joint commission dealing with the struggle against
the countries of the CIS, there is evidence of continued widespread
antisemitic activities, especially among radical right-wing circles.
These activities consisted mainly of harassment and bullying of
Jews all over the region. There were no reports of an increase in
the scope and severity of the incidents with the exception of an
explosive device that went of in Kaliningrad, injuring a Jewish
North America, antisemitic activities were relatively minor in tone,
and were mainly carried out by radical right-wing as well as leftists
who came out against the Jews as an extension of their criticism
of Israel. Some of the activities that were carried out included
torching synagogues, the burning down of a Holocaust memorial museum
in Indiana, and the publication of antisemitic material, mainly
by the radical right. In addition, anti-Israel/antisemitic activities
are continuing on the university campuses, which caused many Jewish
students to fear that they might suffer if they were active on behalf
South America, Brazil was the "leader" in anti-Jewish activity (harassment
of Jews, tearing mezuzahs off doorposts and a great deal of propaganda
activity), but in general terms, these activities were relatively
minor in nature. In Argentina, Islamic circles were active, mainly
in protest activities that did not deteriorate into physical violence.
In Argentina, radial right-wing elements are very active and shaping
up as a serious political force. These elements carry on undisguised
anti-Jewish and anti-Israel/pro-Palestinian activity. In Venezuela,
where the situation with that country's rule is unclear, there were
a number of threats against the Jewish community on the part of
elements supporting President Chavez. These threats were made apparently
against the background of the perception of the Jews as opposing
the regime. In any event, there were no exceptional incidents initiated
by these elements. It is, however, of note that there was a considerable
number of protest demonstrations against the war in Iraq – encouraged
by Chavez regime – some of which were directed against Jewish sites,
here again without any perceptible violence.
Asia this year, there were a large number of threats of attacks
against the Jewish communities scattered mainly throughout Southeast
Asia. In addition to these threats of terrorism, of note was the
remark by the Malaysian Prime Minister in which he said that the
Jews control the world and that other Peoples do their battles for
them, despite the fact that the Europeans murdered six million of
the Jewish People. In other countries such as Japan and Thailand
there was evidence of activity by Nazi groups, either in actions
or in the use of Nazi symbols as a sales promotion gimmick.
the Middle East, there were attacks against Jewish sites of those
identified as belonging to Jews. One of them was definitely against
an antisemitic background. The demonizing of Jews and Israel is
continuing, with increased use of classic antisemitic motifs. Particularly
prominent in this connection was the television series "The Diaspora",
which portrayed in a highly representational and coarse manner the
murder of a Christian child for his blood in the baking of matzoth,
as well as other antisemitic motifs. The series was produced in
Syria, in our assessment under the aegis of the Syrian authorities
and their support, including the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry
of Culture and other official Syrian bodies. The series was screened
during prime time in the course of the month of Ramadan (October-November
2003), over "Al-Manar" the official Hizballah television station.
As had been the case in previous years, the Arab media made extensive
use of Nazi motifs in relating that attitude of Israel towards the
Palestinians, emphasizing the Jews' control over the world.
trends described above will continue in 2004 as well, and terrorist
threats will continue as will the demonizing of Israel and of the
Jews as its supporters in the world. In our assessment, the terrorism
which struck the Jewish communities is the product of Islamic hatred
of the Jews, and recently has become part of the war that the Al-Qaeda
organization has declared against the United States and its allies.
Islamic hatred of the Jews has its roots in its religious literature
(the Koran and the Sunna) and rests on the frustration of the fundamentalist
Islamic organizations because of the sorry and despairing condition
of the "Islamic Nation", against the backward status of Islamic
society in general and the failure of the Arab and Muslim countries,
most recently Iraq, to grapple with the West's military, political
and economic power. From this aspect, the Jews serve as the target
for the arrows of Islam's anger. While this anger has gained in
momentum recently against the background of the Intifadah, it does
not depend solely on the continuous struggle between Israel and
the Palestinians. The various Arab regimes will continue to encourage
and allow antisemitic publications for various reasons – prevention
of normalization of relations with Israel (Egypt), intentions to
create public opinion against Israel as part of the struggle against
it (Syria) and preaching its annihilation (Iran and Hizballah).
Therefore, attempts to harm Jews will continue in the Islamic countries
as well as in the countries of the West, and Jews will continue
to be identified as the enemies of Islam.
elements that create and contribute to the hostile attitude towards
Israel because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will continue
to do so, but the scope of these activities will be influenced by
the level of severity of that conflict.
elements, in our assessment, will continue to try and harm Jews
either through terrorist attacks or by making their day-to-day lives
demographic changes in Europe, especially the increase in the number
of Muslims there (especially in Scandinavia, The Netherlands, Switzerland,
but in other countries as well), will continue to influence the
degree of the sense threat felt by the Jews living in those countries.
This will be the result of the direct and violent confrontation
with the Muslims as well as of the continued activities on the part
of their Governments designed to avoid "unnecessary" confrontations
with Muslim elements thus granting them a free hand in carrying
out their incitement and violence.
Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism