Desecrated graves - AP - 2010
Desecrated graves in a Jewish cemetery in Strasbourg, eastern France, last year. Photo by AP
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There was a significant decline, in terms of percentage, of anti-Semitic events in the world last year, but the Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs still claim anti-Semitic trends are on the rise.

In a statement to the press to mark publication of their joint annual report on anti-Semitism, the ministry and the Agency conceded only "a slight decline in anti-Semitic incidents since 2009."

Amos Hermon, chairman of the Agency's Task Force Against Anti-Semitism, explained that 2009 was the year of Operation Cast Lead, which "caused a sharp rise in the number of attacks and anti-Semitic incidents," and was the most serious in terms of the number of such incidents since World War II. This makes 2009 a "problematic year in terms of comparison," Hermon added.

Anti-Semitic incidents in France were down 50 percent in 2010, and such incidents involving violence were down 35 percent. In Britain, 40 percent fewer anti-Semitic incidents were documented, and in Australia the decline was some 60 percent. Similar data were reported from other European countries and in South America.

Hermon says that in 2010, "we returned to the situation before the Al Aqsa intifada, and the question is what will happen if there is another round of violence in the Middle East."

Public Diplomacy Minister Yuli Edelstein said the greatest anti-Semitic threat today was from hate disseminated by the Internet.

The report notes that there is a difficulty differentiating between protests against Israel's policies and classic anti-Semitism, but adds: "In most countries, demonstrations against Israel did not expand into violent incidents against Jewish communities."

The height of last year's anti-Semitic incidents was around the time of the May 31 Turkish flotilla to Gaza. During that time, 15 violent acts against Jewish were documented in France and five in Austria.

Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky has proposed three criteria for differentiating between legitimate criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism, which he says consists of "three Ds": demonization, delegitimization and a double standard. Demonization, which typifies anti-Semitism over the years, was reflected in accusations that Israel had stolen human organs in Haiti. Delegitimization involves negating Israel's right to exist, and the double standard is seen when "condemnations of Israel surpass the condemnations of all dictatorships combined," Sharansky said.