Worst year 'since Holocaust' for antisemitism

By Jessica Elgot, January 25, 2010
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Antisemitic incidents last year were the highest since the Holocaust, the Jewish Agency has reported.

During the first half of 2009, antisemitic incidents were as many as for the entire of 2008, following Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. These included two murders, both in the US, including the shooting of a non-Jewish guard at the Holocaust Memorial museum.

Commenting on the report, Israel's Prime Minister Bin6yamin Netanyahu said: " "This is a test for humanity and we will see in the coming weeks how the international community stops this evil before it spreads."

The report, conducted by the Jewish Agency and the Israeli Information and Diaspora ministry found that 42 per cent of people they polled internationally believed “Jews exploit the past to extort money”.

Poland and Spain gave the highest number of positive responses.

It was previously reported that the Community Security Trust recorded more antisemitic incidents in the first six months of 2009 than it has done in any previous entire year.

Between January and June there were 609 incidents. In the whole of 2008 there were 544. The CST has never recorded more than 600 incidents in one year, let alone six months.

The main reason for the rise was the response to Israel’s incursion into Gaza.

The 609 incidents included 77 violent assaults, compared with 45 last year. Two of these, in May, were deemed to be extremely violent attacks, which might have involved a threat to life.

In France, 631 anti-Semitic incidents were recorded up until June 2009, compared with 474 in the whole of 2008.

The report’s introduction, written by Israel’s Information and Diaspora Minister Yuli Edelstein said: "Most of the incidents reflected longstanding and known anti-Semitic ideas, but were extreme, intensive and louder than before. Many of the expressions of anti-Semitism in 2009 created a total link between Israelis and Jews.

"It is hard nowadays to tell the difference between anti-Israeli attacks in Europe and the United States, as well as other places in the world, and anti-Semitic attacks.”

Last updated: 2:02pm, January 25 2010