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‘It’s not 1938’: annual antisemitism report finds worst outbreak since World War II

World‘It’s not 1938’: annual antisemitism report finds worst outbreak since World War II


In the seven months following Hamas’ shocking attack on Israel, the world has seen the worst outbreak of antisemitism since World War II, an annual report released on Sunday said.

If this trend continues, Jews in many countries will no longer be able to live their identity in safety and freedom, according to the report by the Centre for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in the US.

Last year, for example, there was an average of around three bomb threats per day against synagogues and Jewish institutions in the United States.

“The year is not 1938, not even 1933,” said Professor Uriya Shavit. “Yet if current trends continue, the curtain will descend on the ability to lead Jewish lives in the West – to wear a Star of David, attend synagogues and community centres, send kids to Jewish schools, frequent a Jewish club on campus, or speak Hebrew.”

Antisemitism had been steadily increasing in the months and years leading up to the massacres by Hamas and other Palestinian extremist groups, the report notes, but “October 7 helped spread a fire that was already out of control”.

A visitor tours an exhibition on Sunday ahead of Israel’s national Holocaust memorial day at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre. Photo: Reuters
In the US, for example, where some 6 million Jews live, a total of around 3,500 antisemitism incidents were counted between January and September 2023, but almost 4,000 in the last three months of the year.

The picture is similar in other countries such as Germany, where 1,365 antisemitism incidents were tallied from January to September last year and 2,249 from October to December.

Other countries with large Jewish minorities – including France, Britain, Australia, Italy, Brazil and Mexico – also saw increases.

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The report entitled “Concern for the Future of Jewish Life in the West” warns against explaining the trend as a reaction to the humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip.

That is because some of the most vile anti-Jewish statements in connection with the conflict were made in the first days after October 7, it said.

The authors wrote that antisemitism rears its head on both the extreme right and extreme left – and spreads to the centre of society, often via social media.



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