An upsurge in online racial hatred — particularly in English-speaking countries — has been revealed by the Kantor Centre for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry in its latest report.
The UK saw an increase of 11 per cent during 2016. In Australia the rate of increase was 10 per cent.
The report, issued this week, has a bleak conclusion: “The discourse on the internet has become more and more threatening, cruel and violent; it escalates the real situation on the ground and inflates it a hundred times in no time at all.”
The Kantor Centre, based at Tel Aviv University, releases a report on antisemitism every year.
Dr Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, and founder of the centre, said that while there had been a substantial decrease in violent attacks against Jews, the motivation has not dropped, as witnessed by an increase in attacks on less protected arenas like online, university campuses and cemeteries.
“While the number of antisemitic incidents, especially violent ones, has decreased worldwide in 2016, the enemies of the Jewish people have found new avenues to express their antisemitism — with significant increase of hate online and against less protected targets like cemeteries,” Dr Kantor said.
“This means that in fact, the motivation has not declined and the sense of security felt by many Jewish communities remains precarious.”
The report also suggests that far-right groups which might previously have spent time abusing Jews are now directing their attention to Muslim refugees from the Middle East, reducing visible antisemitism in Europe.
But it adds that Jewish people feel less safe because of more visible security measures, and that Jews increasingly avoid wearing visible signs of their faith, such as a yarmulke, in public.
The report shows there has been a 45 per cent increase in antisemitic incidents on American university campuses.
Overall, in 2016, the number of antisemitic violent incidents dropped by 12 per cent from 410 in 2015 to 361. The decrease, in all types of antisemitic incidents put together, as monitored by communities and governmental agencies, is mostly evident in France, where the Minister of the Interior announced a 61 per cent decrease in all form of antisemitism.
Dr Kantor warned that antisemitism should no longer be seen only as the issue of the far-right.
He said: “The far-left are now using the same messages, tactics and agenda. Indeed, some who describe themselves as liberal and progressive, are in league with the most regressive movements, ideologies and regimes.”
“Some of these coalitions make antisemitism part of their political message. Radicals from all sides remove taboos and antisemitism becomes trivial, routine and normal. And when we complain, extremists on the right and left tell Jews that we are ‘weaponising’ antisemitism.”