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ADL warns of global surge in anti-Semitism

A woman wears a hat that reads "Curb Your Antisemitism" during a rally against campus antisemitism at George Washington University on May 2
A woman wears a hat that reads "Curb Your Antisemitism" during a rally against campus antisemitism at George Washington University on May 2 - Copyright GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP Andrew Harnik
A woman wears a hat that reads "Curb Your Antisemitism" during a rally against campus antisemitism at George Washington University on May 2 - Copyright GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP Andrew Harnik

The Anti-Defamation League on Sunday warned that “the future of Jewish life in the West” was under threat, detailing a sharp rise in anti-Semitism since the start of the war between Hamas militants and Israel.

The annual report from the ADL, the leading Jewish advocacy group, said anti-Semitic incidents had been increasing before the war erupted in October, but that the conflict had fueled “a fire that was already out of control.”

Jointly written with Tel Aviv University, the report said anti-Semitic incidents in 2023 were far above 2022 figures in most countries with large Jewish minorities, including the United States, France, Britain, Australia, Italy, Brazil and Mexico.

The publication of the report coincides with Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel.

“The aftermath of Hamas’s horrific attack on Israel on October 7th was followed by a tsunami of hate against Jewish communities worldwide,” Jonathan Greenblatt, head of the New York-based ADL, said.

“This year’s report is incredibly alarming, with documented unprecedented levels of anti-Semitism, including in the US, where 2023 saw the highest number of anti-Semitic incidents in the US ever recorded by ADL.”

A wave of pro-Palestinian protests on US university campuses has been the latest front in a fierce worldwide debate over anti-Semitism as anger over the huge civilian death toll from Israel’s offensive has triggered complaints that protests and criticism have sometimes veered into hate rhetoric against Jews.

– Harassment, vandalism, assault –

The ADL’s data recorded 7,523 incidents of anti-Semitism in the United States in 2023 compared with 3,697 incidents in 2022.

These acts included harassment, vandalism and assault, targeting Jewish-owned businesses, Jewish institutions and organizations and Jewish students.

Under a broader methodology that includes anti-Zionist rhetoric, activism and calls for “resistance,” the ADL found a total of 8,873 incidents in the United States in 2023 — 5,204 between just October 7 and the end of the year.

The move to equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism has drawn some criticism, including — according to multiple media reports — from within the ADL itself.

In France, the number of anti-Semitic attacks increased from 436 in 2022 to 1,676 in 2023, with physical assaults increasing from 43 to 85. Incidents in Britain rose from 1,662 to 4,103, including 266 physical assaults.

The war in Gaza broke out after Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attack on Israel resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive against Hamas has killed at least 34,654 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

The ADL published a plan for “globally combating” anti-Semitism.

Professor Uriya Shavit of Tel Aviv University wrote in the report that “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 centers, send kids to Jewish schools, frequent a Jewish club on campus, or speak Hebrew.”

AFP
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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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