Anti-Semitic incidents rise in Germany, Australia, U.S. in 2007
Britain and France lead the list; N.Y. sees 30% increase; Muslims join U.K.'s Holocaust memorial day.
The annual global report on anti-Semitism being presented to the cabinet Sunday morning points to a rise in anti-Semitic incidents in Germany, Australia, the United States and Ukraine together with an overall decrease in Western Europe. The largest number of incidents were recorded in Britain, followed by France.
Under pressure from Diaspora Jewish community leaders, particularly the Board of Deputies of British Jews, it was decided this year not to cite numbers of incidents but only to report general trends. In previous years there were discrepancies between the numbers in the Israeli report and data published by other countries.
The report, a joint government and Jewish Agency project, indicates a decline in anti-Semitic incidents in 2007 after the steep jump registered for 2006 in the wake of the Second Lebanon War. In countries where an increase did occur, such as Germany and Australia, this was tied to the strengthening of the radical right, along with aggression by local Muslim communities.
Rising anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S., including a 30-percent increase in New York, is also associated with racist activity by right-wing extremist groups.
In Ukraine, last year saw a move from spontaneous anti-Semitic acts to more organized activity within parties with anti-Semitic platforms and the distribution of anti-Semitic propaganda at universities and colleges. Contrary to President Victor Yushchenko's declarations during his visit to Israel two months ago, the government only recently began countering such activity.
Similar trends can be seen in other Eastern European countries. Anti-Semitism is rife in Russia, alongside general racism and xenophobia, but the central government has cracked down on the phenomenon over the past year.
The security director for the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Michael Whine, declined to comment on Britain's topping the list of anti-Semitic incidents in the Israeli report, saying only, "we are still going over our data."
In related news, the Muslim Council of Britain will participate for the first time in today's National Holocaust Memorial Day, chosen for the date that Auschwitz was liberated. The large umbrella organization decided two months ago to end its six-year boycott of the memorial day, a decision that followed accusations in recent years by the British government and Jewish organizations that its positions were anti-Semitic.
The city of Liverpool will host the main event, where speakers will include Britain's Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams.