The year 2000 was characterized by a significant increase in anti-Semitic activity of every kind. The year can be divided into two distinct periods - from January to late September and from October to the end of the year.
During both these periods Jewish communities suffered violent attacks, harassment and anti-Semitic propaganda. In the first part of the year hatred from the radical right arena seemed to be dominant. Since October it was Islamic/Arabic elements which led the violent struggle, occasionally in cooperation with radical right and left wing elements, in response to the 'Al-Aqsa Intifada' in the Territories.
In the first period, the stepped-up readiness and preparations of extreme right wing groups to perpetrate antisemitic activity were manifest in an increasing number and variety of attacks. For instance, radical right-wing activists, in Germany and Switzerland, were arrested for possessing weapons.
Several attacks on persons and numerous acts of vandalism against synagogues and cemeteries were reported. Venomous propaganda was disseminated through various means, especially the Internet. This is one of the main vehicles used to spread propaganda, and coordinate between radical anti-Semitic elements in various arenas.
Holocaust denial was in the headlines this year, especially due to the trial of the historian Devorah Lipstadt who was sued for libel by one of the central Holocaust deniers David Irving. His dramatic defeat in the trial did not prevent him from participating, towards the end, of the trial in a Holocaust deniers conference in California nor from receiving a hero's welcome.
Despite the above, 2000 will be remembered, especially for the last quarter, as a year of Intifada against the Jews in the Diaspora following the violent incidents which erupted in Israel and in the territories during the 'Al-Aqsa Intifada'.
Following the events in Israel in early October, various communities throughout the world became a target for attacks by residents of Arab or Muslim origin, especially in France, Belgium, Britain, German, Canada and the U.S. These attacks included a long list of torchings and attempted arson of synagogues, attacks against Jewish individuals and groups, damage to Jewish facilities (synagogues, cemeteries and others), threats and venomous propaganda in the local and Arab press and well attended demonstrations in which calls were heard to murder Jews.
It seems that for many years, if at all, we have not been witness to such an intensive wave of violence and hatred as was manifest during October and November 2000. In October alone, for example, 180 attacks, attack attempts and violent incidents were recorded (not including threats, abusive slogans and anti-Jewish propaganda), most of them directed against synagogue worshippers.
The level of violent anti-Jewish activity was most prominent in France with 62 incidents, Canada with 29 incidents, the U.S. with 22 incidents and Britain with 20 incidents. It can be generally summarized that the greatest number of incidents was recorded in countries with a large Jewish population and a sizeable Arab/Muslim population.
November saw a drop in the number of violent incidents as a result of the decrease in the level and scope of violence in Israel.
Alongside Arab/Islamic activity against Jewish communities, also prominent was the activity of radical right-wing and Neo-Nazi elements. These considered the wave of Islamic violence a base and inspiration for their independent activity against Jews in general and Israel in particular. Events in the Palestinian arena also led to a renewed awakening of radical left-wing activity which was focussed on anti-Israel activity.
The amount and level of violent activity from the radical right-wing arena continued to rise this year. Furthermore there was new evidence indicating the serious intentions of radical elements to escalate the level of violence by using weapons, perpetrating attacks, and cooperating with Islamic elements to organize and encourage violent activity against Jewish targets in Europe. We believe that this trend will continue, and independent activity from the radical left-wing, and cooperation with Palestinian/Islamic elements, is likely to increase.
After about two years of a significant drop in the activity of Islamic and Arab elements against Jewish targets, this year, due to 'Al-Aqsa Intifada' riots, there was a significant rise in violence against Jews representing or being affiliated with the State of Israel. We believe the activity of Islamic elements during October-November 2000 derives from popular protest and is not organized. In our assessment, elements which carried out violent activity will probably consider this type of activity a suitable response to any escalation or dissatisfaction with what is happening in the Territories in Israel. They may consequently group together and lead to an exacerbation in the level of violence against Jewish communities, as a reflection of relations between Israel and Palestinians.
In the first stages of the 'Al-Aqsa Antifada', activity was mainly popular. It cannot be discounted, however, that terrorist organizations may strive to exploit the situation in Israel and perpetrate attacks against Jewish communities and Israeli targets throughout the world.
Sources: Israeli Foreign Ministry