Manifestations of anti-Semitism

in the European Union

First Semester 2002

Synthesis Report

Draft 20 February 2003

 

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Disclaimer

This Report has been carried out by the „Center for Research on Anti-Semitism“ at the Technische Universität

Berlin, Germany, on behalf of the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC). The

opinions expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the position of the EUMC.

Reproduction is authorized, except for commercial purposes, provided the source is acknowledged and the

attached text accompanies any reproduction: "This study has been carried out on behalf of the European

Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC). The opinions expressed by the authors do not

necessarily reflect the position of the EUMC."

 

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Manifestations of anti-Semitism

in the European Union

First Semester 2002

Synthesis Report

on behalf of the

EUMC

European Monitoring Centre

on Racism and Xenophobia

by

Werner Bergmann

and

Juliane Wetzel

Zentrum für Antisemitismusforschung / Center for Research on Antisemitism

Technische Universität Berlin

Vienna, March 2003

 

Preface

Although we know - and opinion polls show - that anti-Semitism is permanently present in

Europe in a more or less hidden way, many of us have hoped that manifest forms of anti-

Semitism will not see any revival in Europe again. At present, Jews are rather well integrated

economically, socially and culturally in the Member States of the European Union (EU). But

the attacks in New York and Washington on September 11 and the conflict in the Middle East

have contributed to an atmosphere in Europe, which gives latent anti-Semitism and hate and

incitement a new strength and power of seduction. Even rumours that Israel was responsible

for 11 September 2001, for the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, and that

Jews bring about a situation in their interest in order to put the blame on somebody else,

found a receptive audience in some places. Anti-Semitic conspiracy theories are spreading

over the Internet, which provides a cheap vehicle for the distribution of hate.

Immediately after 11 September our primary concern was increased Islamophobia in the

European Union. Right away the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia

implemented a monitoring process in the Member States. The country-by-country results and

a synthesis report have already been published. But early in 2002 there was additional

concern about open anti-Semitic incidents in several Member States. The European

Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia found it necessary to carry out a more detailed

investigation of the prevalence and kinds of anti-Semitism and to study, how it affects Jewish

people living in Europe. It is the first study of this kind. It provides a flashlight on anti-

Semitism in each of the 15 Member States.

The EUMC, through its RAXEN Information Network of National Focal Points in the EU

Member States, received reports on anti-Semitism in the 15 Member States. The Center for

Research on Anti-Semitism (CRA), Berlin, supplemented the country reports and brought

them into a European perspective.

The report shows clearly an increase of anti-Semitic activities since the escalation of the

Middle East conflict in 2000 with a peak in early spring 2002. But it reveals also positive

developments. By 2003 the legal basis to fight against any discrimination on ethnic or

religious grounds will be implemented in each of the EU Member States; all the governments

and leading statesmen condemned anti-Semitic events and attitudes; many leaders of religious

communities, political parties and NGOs are currently cooperating in the fight against anti-

Semitism.

On the other hand, the EUMC is aware that more than only short-term measures have to be

done. There is a need to implement activities on a continuous, long-term basis. For that end

the report offers examples and recommendations to various groups of society on how to

proceed and succeed in the struggle against the shadows of the European past.

Bob Purkiss

Beate Winkler

Chair of the EUMC

Director of the EUMC

 

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Executive Summary

Alerted early in 2002 by worrying news on anti-Semitic incidents in some Member States the

European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) decided to commission a

report on “Manifestations of Anti-Semitism in the EU” covering the first half of 2002. The

report is based partly on short-term information provided to the authors by National Focal

Points (NFPs) of the EUMC, giving special emphasis to the period between May 15 and June

15. The NFPs are the contact points to national networks in the Member States reporting

regularly to the EUMC within its European Information Network RAXEN.

In their reports the National Focal Points were asked to cover the following issues:

- Physical acts of violence towards Jews, their communities, organisations or their

property;

- Verbal aggression/hate speech and other, subtler forms of discrimination towards Jews;

- Research studies reporting anti-Semitic violence or opinion polls on changed attitudes

towards Jews;

- Good practices for reducing prejudice, violence and aggression by NGOs;

- Reactions by politicians and other opinion leaders including initiatives to reduce

polarization and counteract negative national trends.

The situation in the EU Member States

The reports and our own investigations show that in spring 2002 many EU Member States

experienced a wave of anti-Semitic incidents. They were tied to public discussion on the

dividing line between legitimate criticism of Israeli government policy and anti-Semitic

argumentation.1 This wave of anti-Semitism started with the “Al-Aqsa-Intifada” in October

20002 and was fuelled by the conflict in the Middle East and the attacks on the World Trade

Center and the Pentagon on 11September 20013, which triggered off a fierce debate on the

causes of radical Islamic terrorism.

During the first half of 2002 the rise of anti-Semitism reached a climax in the period between

the end of March and mid-May, running parallel to the escalation of the Middle East conflict,

whereas factors which usually determine the frequency of anti-Semitic incidents in the

respective countries, such as the strength and the degree of mobilisation extremist far-right

parties and groups can generate, have not played the decisive role.

In the months following the monitoring period the sometimes heated discussions about the

Middle East conflict in the public sphere and the media died down and the number of

incidents decreased. In countries like Denmark, Greece, Spain, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,

The Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Finland there are only a few or no incidents known for

the period after July 2002.4 In some Member States like Belgium, France and Sweden anti-

                                               

1 All the National Focal Point (NFP) reports point out this problem of drawing a clear distinction.

2 See: Antisemitism Worldwide 2000/2001, ed. by Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-

Semitism and Racism, Tel Aviv University; Anti-Semitism World Report 2000/2001, Jewish Policy Research

London. (see http://www.tau.ac.il/Anti-Semitism/annual-report.html) .

3 This event led to an increase in anti-Muslim discrimination in Europe; see EUMC, Reports on Anti-Islamic

reactions within the European Union after the acts of terror against the USA. A collection of country reports

from RAXEN National Focal Points (NFPs), Vienna 2002.

4 See the reports for the countries by The Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism, online

(http://www.antisemitism.org.il). For a different assessment for The Netherlands see Footnote 381.

 

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Semitic incidents, including violent attacks and threatening phone calls, increased again in

September and October, but not that much as in the period monitored.5 Anti-Semitic leaflets,

hate mail and phone calls were also reported for Germany and the United Kingdom.

This leads to the conclusion that the increase in anti-Semitic attacks was in this case set off by

the events in the Middle East, a foreign event that however exerted a varying impact on the

individual Member States. An exact quantitative comparison is not possible because of:

1) the difficult and varied classification of anti-Semitic incidents;

2) the difficulty of differentiating between criticism of Israeli governmental policy and

anti-Semitism; and

3) the differences in systematically collating information about anti-Semitic incidents in

the EU Member States.

While there is no common pattern of incidents for all countries, some similarities occur. But it

must be underlined that some countries (such as Germany, France, the Netherlands and the

United Kingdom) have a very effective data and monitoring system, and this is not the case

elsewhere6.

There are a number of EU Member States, namely Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal and

Finland, where the Jewish communities are rather small and anti-Semitic incidents in general

seldom occur. This was true during the monitoring period. At most, threatening letters were

sent to the Israeli consulate or to local Jews. Portugal and Finland each also suffered one

attack on a synagogue.

On the other hand, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK witnessed rather serious

anti-Semitic incidents (see the respective country reports) such as numerous physical attacks

and insults directed against Jews and the vandalism of Jewish institutions (synagogues, shops,

cemeteries). Fewer anti-Semitic attacks were reported from Denmark and Sweden.

Other countries also experienced incidents of anti-Semitism. Greece suffered desecrations of

cemeteries and memorials by the far-right7. Anti-Semitic statements and sentiments often

linked to Israeli government policy were found in the mass media and were also expressed by

some politicians and opinion leaders. Spain, where the traditionally strong presence of neo-

Nazi groups was evident suffered a series of attacks by people with a radical Islamist

background8. Italy showed a certain similarity with Germany; although no physical attacks

were evident, there were threatening telephone calls, insulting letters, slogans and graffiti.

From Austria no physical attacks were reported; and few verbal threats and insults. Anti-

Semitic stereotypes in relation to Israel were to be found essentially in right-wing newspapers

and amongst far-right groups.

In the public domain in Spain, France, Italy and Sweden, sections of the political left and

Arab-Muslim groups unified to stage pro-Palestinian demonstrations. While the right to

demonstrate is of course a civil right, and these demonstrations are not intrinsically anti-

Semitic, at some of these anti-Semitic slogans could be heard and placards seen; and some

                                               

5 In France for example the hard line of the government on crime and North-African juvenile gangs exercised a

positive influence on diminishing the number of anti-Semitic attacks compared to the first half of 2002.

6 The EUMC is continually working in order to improve the situation.

7 Antisemitism Worldwide 2000/1, online, Greece (see http://www.tau.ac.il/Anti-Semitism/annual-report.html).

8 Antisemitism Worldwide 2000/1, online, Spain (see http://tau.ac.il/Anti-Semitism/annual-report.html).

General Analysis Overview, p.7

 

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demonstrations resulted in attacks upon Jews or Jewish institutions. In the Netherlands pro-

Palestine demonstrators of Moroccan origin used anti-Semitic symbols and slogans. In

Finland however, pro-Palestinian demonstrations passed without any anti-Semitic incidents.

In Germany, and less so in Austria, public political discourse was dominated by a debate on

the link between Israeli policy in the Middle East conflict and anti-Semitism, a debate in

which the cultural and political elite were involved. In Germany and the United Kingdom the

critical reporting of the media was also a topic for controversy. In other countries such as

Denmark, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal, and Finland there was no such heated public

discussion on the theme of criticism of Israel/anti-Semitism (see country reports).

Perpetrators and kinds of anti-Semitic activities

For many anti-Semitic incidents, especially for violent and other punishable offences, it is

typical that the perpetrators attempt to remain anonymous. Thus, in many cases the

perpetrators could not be identified, so an assignment to a political or ideological camp must

remain open. Nevertheless, from the perpetrators identified or at least identifiable with some

certainty, it can be concluded that the anti-Semitic incidents in the monitoring period were

committed above all either by right-wing extremists or radical Islamists or young Muslims

mostly of Arab descent, who are often themselves potential victims of exclusion and racism9;

but also that anti-Semitic statements came from pro-Palestinian groups (see country report

Italy: public discourse) as well as from politicians (see country reports Germany, Greece,

Finland, Austria) and citizens from the political mainstream (see anti-Semitic letters, e-mails

and phone calls in Germany as well as in other countries). The following forms of anti-

Semitic activities have been experienced:

- Desecration of synagogues, cemeteries, swastika graffiti, threatening and insulting mail as

well as the denial of the Holocaust as a theme, particularly on the Internet. These are the

forms of action to be primarily assigned to the far-right.

- Physical attacks on Jews and the desecration and destruction of synagogues were acts

often committed by young Muslim perpetrators10 in the monitoring period. Many of these

attacks occurred either during or after pro-Palestinian demonstrations, which were also

used by radical Islamists for hurling verbal abuse. In addition, radical Islamist circles were

responsible for placing anti-Semitic propaganda on the Internet and in Arab-language

media.11

- Anti-Semitism on the streets also appears to be expressed by young people without any

specific anti-Semitic prejudices, so that “many incidents are committed just for fun”.

Other cases where young people were the perpetrators could be classified as “thrill hate

crimes”, a well-known type of xenophobic attack.12

- In the extreme left-wing scene anti-Semitic remarks were to be found mainly in the

context of pro-Palestinian and anti-globalisation rallies13 and in newspaper articles using

                                               

9 Due to the time period under observation (escalation of the Middle East conflict) there might be an over-

estimation of perpetrators with an Arab or Muslim background in the country reports compared to other periods.

10 After interrogating 42 suspects (young immigrants from North-Africa and the Maghreb), the French police

concluded that these are “predominantly delinquents without ideology, motivated by a diffuse hostility to Israel,

exacerbated by the media representation of the Middle East conflict (…) a conflict which, they see, reproduces

the picture of exclusion and failure of which they feel victims in France”, Cited by Centre Simon Wiesenthal,

Antisemitism 2002 in France. “Intifada” Import or Domestic Malaise., by Shimon Samuels/Mark Knobel, Paris

2002, p. 3.

11 Western Anti-Semitism was brought to the Arab countries and now comes back by Arab media stations (via

satellite), newspapers and the World Wide Web influencing some immigrants in the European Member States.

12 Paul Iganski, From ‘extremism’ to ‘yob culture’: Interpreting anti-Semitism on the streets, in: Is there a new

anti-Semitism in Britain. Online: www.jpr.org.uk/Reports/CS%20Reports/new_antisemitism/.

13 One of the numerous examples is the leaflet of the German branch of the anti-globalisation organisation

“attac” designed for an anti-Bush demonstration in Berlin on May 21 2002: The well-known picture of “Uncle

 

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anti-Semitic stereotypes in their criticism of Israel. Often this generated a combination of

anti-Zionist and anti-American views that formed an important element in the emergence

of an anti-Semitic mood in Europe. Israel, seen as a capitalistic, imperialistic power, the

“Zionist lobby”, and the United States are depicted as the evildoers in the Middle East

conflict as well as exerting negative influence on global affairs. The convergence of these

motives served both critics of colonialism and globalisation from the extreme left and the

traditional anti-Semitic right-wing extremism as well as parts of the radical Islamists in

some European countries.

- More difficult to record and to evaluate in its scale than the “street-level violence” against

Jews is “salon anti-Semitism” as it is manifested “in the media, university common

rooms, and at dinner parties of the chattering classes”.14

- In the heated public debate on Israeli politics and the boundary between criticism of Israel

and anti-Semitism, individuals who are not politically active and do not belong to one of

the ideological camps mentioned above become motivated to voice their latent anti-

Semitic attitudes (mostly in the form of telephone calls and insulting letters). Opinion

polls prove that in some European countries a large percentage of the population harbours

anti-Semitic attitudes and views,15 but that these usually remain latent.

Media

Some commentators discuss the possible influence of the mass media on an escalation of anti-

Semitic incidents.16 The question at issue is whether this escalation was merely an agenda

setting effect of the daily media coverage of the violence in the Middle East or whether the

reporting itself had an anti-Semitic bias.

- The Jewish communities regarded the one-sidedness, the aggressive tone of the reporting

on Israeli policy in the Middle East conflict and references to old Christian anti-Jewish

sentiments as problematic.

- The country reports (Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, and Sweden) list some cases of anti-

Semitic arguments or stereotypes (cartoons) in the quality press, but only very few

systematic media analyses are available. Anti-Semitic reporting can mainly be found in

the far-right spectrum of the European press.

- One study of the German quality press (see country report on Germany) concludes that the

reporting concentrated greatly on the violent events and the conflicts and was not free of

anti-Semitic clichés; at the same time this negative view also applies to the description of

the Palestinian actors. The report on Austria identified anti-Semitic allusions in the far

right press.

                                                                                                                                                       

Sam” is showing a “typical Jewish nose”. Also the poster implies the supposed Jewish world conspiracy because

on the forefinger of “Uncle Sam” hangs the world on a thread. Portraying “Uncle Sam” as Jewish refers to the

supposed Jewish influence on the United States policy and connects anti-Jewish and anti-American feelings. See

leaflet for the demonstration (see: http://attac-netzwerk-bush.de). The criticism of this leaflet and of other

occasions where Neonazis participated in attac demonstrations with anti-Semitic slogans (Munich, 20 November

2002) without any reaction by the organizers led the network to publish an explanation (see www.attac.de/

archiv/antisemit.php; discussion paper of the attac coordination committee on anti-Semitism, racism and

nationalism)

14 See Paul Iganski, From ‘extremism’ to ‘yob culture’: Interpreting anti-Semitism on the streets, in: Is there a

new anti-Semitism in Britain. Online: www.jpr.org.uk/Reports/CS%20Reports/new_antisemitism/, p.1.

15 See as one example the results of the ADL Survey in June and October 2002 for ten countries (here all

together given in the report on Belgium) and the surveys mentioned in the respective country reports.

16 In fact, those Europeans who followed media coverage of the events in the Middle East the closest were more

likely to be sympathetic to the Palestinian case. See ADL, European Attitudes toward Jews, Israel and the

Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, June 2002. http://www.adl.org/Anti_semitism/European_Attitudes.pdf

 

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- Observers point to an “increasingly blatant anti-Semitic Arab and Muslim media”,

including audiotapes and sermons, in which the call is not only made to join the struggle

against Israel but also against Jews across the world. Although leading Muslim

organisations express their opposition to this propaganda, observers assume that calling

for the use of violence may influence readers and listeners.17

Internet

The Internet reflects a development observable since 2000, namely the networking of the

extreme right via links with sections of radical Islamists, some sites from anti-globalisation

campaigners and from the anti-American far left. Since the end of the 1990s there has been a

dramatic increase in the number of homepages present on the web from far-right groups and

parties, which quite often also have ties to radical Islamic fundamentalists. In addition, the

Internet provides easy access to music from the far right, which glorifies violence and is often

anti-Semitic. Sales and distribution centres for such music are mainly located in Scandinavia.

Up till now, state organs have paid too little attention to the Arab language publications which

spread anti-Semitic propaganda in European countries, whether through newspapers,

audiotapes or the Internet18.

Prevalent anti-Semitic prejudices

As almost all reports emphasise, Jews in the EU Member States are well integrated socially,

economically and culturally, and as such the typical motives of xenophobia (fear of

competition for jobs, housing and social welfare, linguistic and cultural otherness of migrants,

external appearance) are hardly of consequence. Instead, the Jews are basically imagined to be

a nationally and internationally influential group, allegedly controlling politics and the

economy. Hence, anti-Semitism has other motives and a different structure from racism.

- The dominating assumption of contemporary anti-Semitism is still that of a Jewish world

conspiracy, i.e. the assumption that Jews are in control of what happens in the world,

whether it be through financial or media power, whether it be the concealed political

influence mainly exerted on the USA, but also on European countries.19 This basic

assumption is applied to explain very different phenomena. The Holocaust denial assumes

a central role in European right-wing extremism. It is purported that the Holocaust has

never taken place and that the Jewish side, exploiting their victim status, use the

“Auschwitz lie” to apply moral pressure on mainly European governments (restitution,

                                               

17 Examples for the UK are given by Michael Whine (Anti-Semitism on the streets) and Peter Pulzer (Anti-

Semitism old and new: Just anti-Sharon and a little bit more) both online:

www.jpr.org.uk/Reports/CS%20Reports/new_antisemitism/.

18 See the Chapter on the “Internet as an international action base” in this report and the respective points in the

country reports; see also Juliane Wetzel, Networking on the Internet. Anti-Semitism as networking tool for right-

wing extremism on the World Wide Web, paper presented on the EUMC Third Annual European Round Table

Conference, Vienna, October 10-11, 2002; Juliane Wetzel, Antisemitismus im Internet, in: Das Netz des Hasses.

Rassistische, Rechtsextreme und Neonazistische Propaganda im Internet, hrsg. vom Dokumentationsarchiv des

Österreichischen Widerstands, Wien 1997, pp. 78-105; Rechtsextreme Propaganda im Internet.

Ideologietransport und Vernetzung, in: Wolfgang Benz (Hrsg.), Auf dem Weg zum Bürgerkrieg.

Rechtsextremismus und Gewalt gegen Fremde in Deutschland, Frankfurt a. M. 2001, pp. 134-150.

19 This conspiracy theory is often based on the infamous anti-Semitic fake the “Protocols of the Learned Elders

of Zion”, which describes how a group of Jews apparently hold the thread of world politics in their hands. For

this, the abbreviation “ZOG” (Zionist Occupation Government) has established itself in both the far-right as well

as the radical Islamist scene, not the least to camouflage against criminal prosecution on the grounds of

incitement. A recent Egyptian TV  series “Horseman Without A Horse” uses the notorious anti-Semitic forgery,

“Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion” as a major subject. The 41 parts of the series were transmitted during

Ramadan by numerous Arab TV stations. Recently in Egypt criticism on using this Russian falsification in a TV

series as propaganda against Israel has been increasing, Der Tagesspiegel, 26 November 2002.

 

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support for Israeli policies), but also to influence US policy towards Israel. Furthermore,

the thesis of the “Auschwitz lie” naturally also negates the assertion that the foundation of

the state of Israel was historically necessary in order to create a secure homeland for the

survivors of the Holocaust and Jews in general. Precisely at this point, extreme right-wing

propaganda becomes employable ideologically for radical Islamist groups in their struggle

against Israel, for the victim status and Israel’s right to exist are challenged by the

“Auschwitz lie”. Here a learning process has taken place in which “revisionist” thought

has been adopted by some people in the Arab world. The influence of these ideas is

supported by a number of Western Holocaust deniers like Jürgen Graf, Gerd Honsik,

Wolfgang Fröhlich who fled prosecution in their homelands and found asylum in Arab

countries, and last but not least by Roger Garaudy who was hailed as a hero throughout

the Middle East when he faced prosecution by the French government for inciting racial

hatred.20 Via Arab-language media (newspapers, satellite TV and internet)21 in Europe

these notions reach a small section of the Arab speaking population in European

countries.22

- Following September 11, 2001, some23 hold that Islamist terrorism is a natural

consequence of the unsolved Middle East conflict, for which Israel alone is held

responsible. They ascribe to Jews a major influence over the USA’s allegedly biased pro-

Israel policies. This is where anti-American and anti-Semitic attitudes could converge and

conspiracy theories over “Jewish world domination” might flare up again.

- The assumption of close ties between the US and Israel gives rise to a further motive for

an anti-Semitic attitude. Amongst the political left, anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism

are very closely tied together. Due to its occupation policy, sections of the peace

movement, opponents of globalisation as well as some Third World countries view Israel

as aggressive, imperialistic and colonialist. Taken on its own terms this is naturally not to

be viewed as anti-Semitic; and yet there are exaggerated formulations which witness a

turn from criticism into anti-Semitism, for example when Israel and the Jews are

reproached for replicating the most horrific crimes of the National Socialists like the

Holocaust.24 In the form of anti-Semitism it could be said that the tradition of demonising

Jews in the past is now being transferred to the state of Israel.25 In this way traditional

anti-Semitism is translated into a new form, less deprived of legitimacy, whose

employment today in Europe could become part of the political mainstream.

                                                

20 Götz Nordbruch, The Socio-historical Background of Holocaust Denial in Arab Countries: Arab reactions to

Roger Garaudy's The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics (see http://sicsa.huji.ac.il/17nordbruch.html), published

also as part of the series Analysis of Current Trends in Antisemitism No.17, Jerusalem 2001; see also Middle

East Research Institute (MEMRI) http://www.memri.org.

21 See this report, Recommendations on Media in Chapter 3

22 Robert S. Wistrich, Muslim Anti-Semitism: A Clear and Present Danger, in: The American Jewish Committee

online, Publications (www.ajc.org), now also in a printed version, see above; see also Nordbruch, footnote 16.

23 The Impact of  September 11 on Anti-Semitism, General Analysis - Overview, ed. by Stephen Roth Institute

for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism, Tel Aviv University (http://www.tau.ac.il/Anti-

Semitism/asw2001-2/genanal.htm. Bassam Tibi, political scientist at the University of Göttingen and specialist

in Islam at the University of St. Gallen, has recently criticised the fact that the “anti-Semitic dimension” of 11

September has been disregarded by the European public (Die Zeit, 6 February 2003).

24 These stereotypes are also spread by Arab medias like “Arab News.com”, a Saudi English language daily

online version, April 17, 2002, by Seham M.S. Fatani, article entitled “There is an impending Palestinian

Holocaust”, cited in: Anti-Semitism/Anti-Israel Incitement in the Arab and Muslim Media March - May 2002

(see: http://www.adl.org/Anti_semitism/arab/media_2q02.asp.

25 The French philosopher Pierre-André Taguieff calls this a “new planetary judeophobia” ("nouvelle

judéophobie planétaire”) that explains “all world problems by the existence of Israel”. This “new judeophobia”,

which he sees as initially brought about by radical Islamic activists, by the heirs of “third-worldism” and by far-

left anti-globalisation activists, accuse the Jews of being themselves racist. Thus, according to Taguieff, there

seems to be an “anti-Jewish anti-racism”. Pierre-André, La nouvelle judéophobie, Paris 2002.

 

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- Israeli policies toward the Palestinians provide a reason to denounce Jews generally as

perpetrators, thereby questioning their moral status as victims that they had assumed as a

consequence of the Holocaust. The connection between anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli

sentiment lies in this opportunity for a perpetrator-victim role reversal.26 In particular

there is an attempt by the right-wing to compare Israeli policies with the crimes

perpetrated against Jews throughout history in order to minimize or even deny the guilt

and responsibility of their own nations.

- The fact that the Middle East conflict is taking place in the Holy Land of the Christians

has led in a number of countries to a revitalisation of anti-Judaist motives by church

leaders, and confessional and some liberal newspapers.27

Recommendations

The upsurge of anti-Semitic criminal offences and verbal assaults against Jewish citizens and

institutions, but also against Muslims, indicates that joint action has to be initiated. This

action should not be restricted to one area of society, but has to deal with a multitude of

combined activities. Actions on the political level should be backed by sound data and

information about the phenomena in question. The civil society has to be mobilized to

establish dialogues, the press, TV and the Internet has to be addressed to report about ethnic

and cultural groups in a responsible way. Also for large-scale sporting events, preventive

measures fighting racist attacks have to be implemented.

We recommend that the EUMC requests state authorities to acknowledge at the highest level

the extraordinary dangers posed by anti-Semitic violence in the European context.

Legal

· The EUMC should propose to the Member States to adopt the proposed framework

decision on combating racism and xenophobia (COM 2001/664) as soon as possible

and call on the Council of Ministers to ensure that it is amended to be as effective as

possible to deal with reported incidents of anti-Semitism.

· The EUMC should propose to the European Commission and to the Member States

that they consider a decision for police cooperation according to Article 34 of the

Treaty of European Union, which shall bind all Member States to collect and

disseminate data on anti-Semitic offences. This decision should also involve

EUROPOL and EUROJUST.

· To achieve effective regulation of the Internet concerning racist propaganda, it is

essential to extend the jurisdiction of European courts to include detailed provisions

on the responsibility of Internet service providers.

                                               

26 On the one hand we have an unprecedented interest in the history of the Holocaust developing in many

European countries. At the same time a poll of the Anti-Defamation League conducted in five countries found

that 39 percent of those surveyed agreed with the statement: “The Jews still talk too much about the Holocaust.”

(European Attitudes toward Jews, Israel and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, June 2002)

27 For example, the liberal Italian daily La Stampa depicted a baby Jesus looking up from the manger at an Israeli

tank, saying, “Don't tell me they want to kill me again.”

 

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Registering anti-Semitic incidents

· State institutions must assume responsibility for monitoring anti-Semitism in the

individual EU Member States. These institutions should work in accordance with

well-defined categories enabling them to recognise an anti-Semitic element within any

politically motivated criminal offences they register, and to then incorporate them into

their statistics.

· In some Member States racist attacks are not identified separately in crime statistics

while others have at their disposal state-sponsored instruments which monitor and

pursue anti-Semitic incidents. We recommend joint strategies for action to be

developed, whereby those countries possessing years of experience in this regard

should pass this on to the other Member States.

· In those countries in which racist and anti-Semitic incidents are already registered by

the security authorities, a swifter processing and publication of the results must be

ensured and not first presented - as in current practice - in the middle of the following

year.

· There is a need to distinguish clearly in reporting between acts of violence, threatening

behaviour, and offensive speech, and to make transparent government norms and

procedures for registering and acting upon crimes and offences motivated by anti-

Semitism. Only in this way can a genuinely comparative basis for incidents be attained

for European countries.

Education and sport

· We recommend that the governments of the EU Member States still absent should

undertake initiatives to become members of the Task Force for International

Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and Research, whose purpose is

to mobilise the support of political and social leaders to foster Holocaust education,

remembrance and research.

· We recommend that NGOs engage in initiatives of intercultural and inter-religious

exchange and inter-religious dialogue, and cooperate in educational information

campaigns against racism and anti-Semitism.

· National ministries of education should organise round tables and seminars on mutual

respect and tolerance; all teachers in the EU should be required to learn about different

religions and faiths, cultures and traditions; history books used in schools around Europe

should be examined for prejudice, or one-sidedness.

· In the area of European football a whole series of initiatives have been started in the

last few years, which combat racism and anti-Semitism in the stadiums. We

recommend that these activities be encouraged and extended.

 

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Research

· We recommend that research studies should be carried out on anti-Semitic incidents in

specific fields - e.g. sport, entertainment, public services - and placed in an overall

European context in order to establish a comparative perspective on their occurrence.

· Across all Member States there should be implemented a coordinated programme of

victim studies to overcome the problem of underreporting with regard to incidents of

anti-Semitism.

· To date there has been no well-founded media analysis on how the European press

exploits and perpetuates anti-Semitic stereotypes.  We recommend the implementation

of research studies to fill this gap.

Internet

· State authorities, academics and research institutions engaged with racism and anti-

Semitism should establish joint committees at national and international levels to

monitor anti-Semitism on the Internet. Through mutual exchange these committees

should establish a basis for an improved recording and combating of racist and anti-

Semitic developments on the Internet.

· Recent developments have shown that partly impeded or completely obstructed access

to some homepages at least hinders the possibility of placing racist propaganda on the

Internet.  Thus private and state organisations should exert continuing pressure on

large Internet providers to remove racist and anti-Semitic content from the net.

· The enormous potential of the Internet for educational purposes has not yet been

recognised and utilised.  We recommend that projects are developed to utilise the

Internet far more in order to combat anti-Semitic and racist content with serious

counter-information.

 

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Contents

Executive Summary......................................................................................................5

1. Introduction................................................................................................................16

2. Analysis.........................................................................................................................20

Forms of anti-Semitic prejudice...........................................................................................22

Perpetrators and kinds of anti-Semitic activities..................................................................25

The situation in the EU Member States...............................................................................26

The mass media....................................................................................................................28

Internet as an international action base................................................................................29

3. Recommendations...................................................................................................31

Registering anti-Semitic incidents.......................................................................................32

Education..............................................................................................................................34

Media....................................................................................................................................34

Internet.................................................................................................................................35

Sport.....................................................................................................................................36

Other initiatives by NGOs....................................................................................................37

Further Research..................................................................................................................38

Concluding remarks.............................................................................................................38

4. Country Reports......................................................................................................40

Belgium.........................................................................................................................41

Germany........................................................................................................................48

Ireland.............................................................................................................................55

Greece.............................................................................................................................57

Spain................................................................................................................................61

France..............................................................................................................................63

Italy...................................................................................................................................70

Luxembourg...............................................................................................................78

The Netherlands......................................................................................................80

Austria............................................................................................................................84

Portugal..........................................................................................................................89

Finland............................................................................................................................91

Sweden...........................................................................................................................93

United Kingdom.....................................................................................................97

Annex: Reporting institutions and data sources....................................101

 

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1. Introduction

Alerted during early 2002 by news on anti-Semitic incidents in some Member States and also

by information given to the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia

(EUMC) by the European Jewish Congress, the EUMC asked its RAXEN network of 15

National Focal Points (NFPs) to report on anti-Semitism and to monitor the anti-Semitic

aggression, violence and attitudes in the Member States with a special focus on a one-month

period (from 15th May - 15th June 2002). The EUMC also asked for examples of good

practices implemented to prevent and reduce anti-Semitism.

The National Focal Points were asked to cover the following issues:

1. Physical acts of violence towards Jews, their communities, organisations or their property

(cemeteries, synagogues, religious symbols etc) and also any measures seen as retaliation to

other vulnerable groups, or ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities, or new types of victims:

Have any physical attacks (harassment, verbal abuse, violent acts, etc.) against Jews (or other

people related to them) been reported (in the media, by Jewish organisations, by human

rights/anti-discrimination NGOs, by the police etc.). Please use the following categories as

headlines: Arson; throwing objects and/or tear gas; physical aggression; theft and burglary;

vandalism and disparagement; threatening intrusion; physical threat.

2. Verbal aggression/hate speech and other, subtler forms of discrimination towards Jews:

Have there been any verbal attacks against Jews in the media, in the public discourse, in

politics. Are there any cases of incitement to hatred. Are there court cases to be reported.

What about hate speech on the Internet. Please use the following categories as headlines:

direct verbal threat; threats by telephone; insults; graffiti and anti-Semitic inscriptions;

publicly distributed leaflets.

3. Research Studies reporting anti-Semitic violence or Opinion Polls on changed attitudes

towards Jews:

Are there any new or recent reports done on anti-Semitic aggression or attitudes.

 4. Good practices for reducing prejudice, violence and aggression:

Can you report of any good practice that has been successful in avoiding the increase of

prejudice and violence towards Jewish people and other groups.

5. Reactions by politicians and other opinion leaders including initiatives to reduce

polarization and counteract negative national trends:

How has the government reacted to increased anti-Semitic violence. What have been the

reactions of the politicians and other opinion leaders. Are there any institutionalized

proposals and implementations to be observed.

Political Background

The reports of the National Focal Points and our own investigations show that in early 2002

several EU Member States experienced an increased number of anti-Semitic incidents. The

wave of anti-Semitism reached a climax in the period between end of March and mid-May.

But further examination shows that the increase of anti-Semitism had already started with the

 

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“Al-Aqsa-Intifada” in October 200028 and was fuelled by the conflict in the Middle East and

the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 11 September 200129, which

triggered off a fierce debate on the causes for radical Islamic terrorism.

Into the summer of 2000 negotiations for obtaining a peaceful settlement of the Middle East

conflict seemed to be taking a promising course. The failure of Camp David II and the

“second Intifada” (al-Aqsa Intifada) beginning in late September 2000 marked however a

turning-point. Reports on anti-Semitism from the year 200030 show a clear increase in anti-

Semitic incidents in the final months of the year.

Besides the continuing media interest in the violent conflict in the Middle East, in 2001 the

World Conference on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Tolerance,

which was held in Durban, South Africa between 31 August and 7 September encouraged

anti-Semitism in an unexpected way. The Member States of the United Nations adopted a

Declaration and Action Programme, which included demands for the recognition of a

Palestinian state and the right of security for Israel,31 as well as the demand for the end of

violence in the Middle East that would allow Israel and the Palestinians to continue the peace

process.32 But at the same conference vehement anti-Semitic outbreaks took place, in

particular at some meetings held between NGOs, which were directed against representatives

of Jewish groups.33 “These attacks were fuelled by the heated debates at the meeting

concerning the Israeli government’s practices in West Bank and Gaza Strip.”34

A few days later the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon triggered off a fierce

debate on the causes of radical Islamic terrorism, seen by many to lie primarily in the

occupation policy pursued by the Israeli government and the pro-Sharon stance taken by the

US. For the Stephen Roth Institute on Anti-Semitism and Racism, Tel Aviv, the events of

September 11 also enhanced the wave of anti-Semitic manifestations and violence.35

In our opinion one cannot deny that there exists a close link between the increase of anti-

Semitism and the escalation of the Middle East conflict, whereas factors which usually

                                               

28 See: Antisemitism Worldwide 2000/2001, ed. by Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-

Semitism and Racism, Tel Aviv University; Anti-Semitism World Report 2000/2001, Jewish Policy Research

London. (see http://www.tau.ac.il/Anti-Semitism/annual-report.html) .

29 This event led to an increase in anti-Muslim discrimination in Europe; see EUMC, Reports on Anti-Islamic

reactions within the European Union after the acts of terror against the USA. A collection of country reports

from RAXEN National Focal Points (NFPs), Vienna 2002.

30 Anti-Semitism Worldwide 2000/2001, ed. by Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-

Semitism and Racism, Tel Aviv University (see http://www.tau.ac.il/Anti-Semitism/annual-report.html); Anti-

Semitism World Report 2000/2001, Jewish Policy Research London.

31 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, Declaration

and Programme of Action, New York 2002, Declaration, Article 63.

32 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, Declaration

and Programme of Action, New York 2002, Programme of Action, Article 151.

33 The Impact of September 11 on Anti-Semitism, general Analysis - Overview, ed. by Stephen Roth Institute

for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism, Tel Aviv University (http://www.tau.ac.il/Anti-

Semitism/asw2001-2/genanal.htm). During street parades, demonstrators carried banners equating Zionism with

all evil, the anti-Semitic pamphlet “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion” was distributed freely.

Extensive media coverage transmitted the hostile atmosphere worldwide.

34 Fire and Broken Glass. The Rise of Anti-Semitism in Europe, ed. by Lawyers Committee for Human Rights,

Washington D.C. 2002, Foreword (online edition http://www.lchr.org).

35 The Impact of September 11 on Anti-Semitism, General Analysis - Overview, ed. by Stephen Roth Institute

for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism, Tel Aviv University ( http://www.tau.ac.il/Anti-

Semitism/asw2001-2/genanal.htm). See also Bassam Tibi, Footnote 23.

 

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determine the frequency of anti-Semitic incidents in the respective countries, such as the

strength and the degree of mobilisation extremist far-right parties and groups can generate,

have not played the decisive role in the reporting period.

Defining anti-Semitism

Many of the National Focal Points mention that in their countries the dividing line between

anti-Semitism and criticism of Israeli government was a controversial issue. The various

political groups often have different opinions on the threshold where justified criticism ends

and anti-Semitic argumentation begins..36 In such a delicate situation it is advisable to study

the results of social research and to look for appropriate definitions of anti-Semitism accepted

by the research community. This also assures a sound level of impartiality. After a detailed

review of existing literature we recommend the definition of anti-Semitism given by the well-

known Holocaust researcher Helen Fein:

Anti-Semitism is “a persisting latent structure of hostile beliefs towards Jews as a collective

manifested in individuals as attitudes, and in culture as myth, ideology, folklore and imagery,

and in actions - social or legal discrimination, political mobilisation against the Jews, and

collective or state violence - which results in and/or is designed to distance, displace, or

destroy Jews as Jews.” 37

To specify the basic content of these hostile beliefs we refer to a summary given by Dietz

Bering:

Jews are not only partially but totally bad by nature, that is, their bad traits are incorrigible.

Because of this bad nature

- Jews have to be seen not as individuals but as a collective.

- Jews remain essentially alien in the surrounding societies.

- Jews bring disaster on their “host societies” or on the whole world, they are doing

it secretly, therefore the anti-Semites feel obliged to unmask the conspiratorial,

bad Jewish character.38

With the help of the above definition the distinction between anti-Semitism and criticism of

Israeli government policy can be made in an easier way. From there allusions to or

comparisons with Israel’s actions with the behaviour of the Nazi regime have to be viewed as

anti-Semitic. Those who identify Israel and Nazi-Germany or see Israeli behaviour as the

cause of anti-Semitism use these arguments for their own ideological interests.39 Also to be

evaluated as a form of anti-Semitism are anti-Semitic stereotypes when applied to Israeli

policy: for example: the accusation that there is a secret, world-encompassing Zionist

conspiracy, the isolation of Israel as a state that is fundamentally negatively distinct from all

others, which therefore has no right to exist, and negative historical recourses to ancient

Jewish history, which is to point to an immutable negative Jewish character. All cases in

which the Jews are made collectively responsible for the policy of the Israeli government

represent a form of anti-Semitism. That means, the moment when criticism on Israel turns

                                               

36 All the National Focal Points (NFPs) reports point out this problem of drawing a clear distinction.

37 Helen Fein, Dimensions of Antisemitism: Attitudes, Collective Accusations and Actions, in: H. Fein (ed.), The

Persisting Question. Sociological Perspectives and Social Contexts of Modern Antisemitism, Current Research

on Antisemitism, vol. 1, ed. by Herbert A. Strauss, Werner Bergmann, Berlin, New York 1987, p. 67.

38 Dietz Bering, Gutachten über den antisemitischen Charakter einer namenpolemischen Passage aus der Rede

Jörg Haiders, 28 February 2001, in: Anton Pelinka, Ruth Wodak (ed.), „Dreck am Stecken“ - Politik der

Ausgrenzung, Vienna 2002.

39 see for this argument John Bunzl, Round Table Anti-Semitism, 5 December 2002.

 

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into criticism of Jews in general or Jews living in other countries has at least an anti-Semitic

connotation.40

This report analyses the current manifestations of anti-Semitism as far as it is possible so

close to the time period under observation. It does not try to chart its history or analyse its

historical roots in the countries concerned.

                                               

40 As the former Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden Per Ahlmark puts it: “Compared to most previous anti-

Jewish outbreaks this one is often less directed against individual Jews. It attacks primarily the collective Jew,

the State of Israel. And then such attacks start a chain reaction of assaults on individual Jews and Jewish

institutions.” Speech, given at the International Conference, Yad Vashem, The Legacy of Holocaust Survivors.

The Moral and Ethical Implications for Humanity, 8 - 11 April 2002 (see http://www.yad-

vashem.org.il/about_yad/ what_new/data_whats_new/whats_new_international_conference_ahlmark.html) see

also Ahlmark cited in Snunit Center for the advancement of Web based learning, “Exportation” of the Middle-

East Conflict to the Rest of the World and the Response of Moslem Immigrants (see

http://www.snunit.k12.il/seder/anti/english/ques1pluseng.html).

 

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2. Analysis

According to some observers, a new wave of anti-Semitism is sweeping across Europe; many

are even speaking of the worst anti-Semitic wave since 1945.41 The latter claim is historically

inaccurate. Above all directly after the war, in 1946, and in the course of the Stalinist

“purges” in the early 1950s there were far more violent anti-Semitic excesses, persecution and

discrimination. Antony Lerman, former Executive Director of the Institute for Jewish Policy

Research in London, has correctly stressed, “that it is wrong to think that increases in

incidents must mean an overall worsening of the anti-Semitic climate”.42 Indeed, since 1945

there have been repeated waves of anti-Semitic incidents in Europe (such as the graffiti wave

of 1959/60, waves between 1990 and 1992 as well as waves tied to the periodic flare-ups in

the Arab-Israeli conflict in 1967, 1973 and, above all, 1982), whereby concrete causes could

not be given for these outbreaks in every case, nor had they resulted in a long-term increase in

anti-Semitism.43 If, apart from incidents, further indicators are selected, such as anti-Jewish

attitudes, the electoral success of far-right extremist parties espousing anti-Semitism, the

membership numbers of right-wing extremist organisations, social and legal discrimination of

Jews etc., the picture becomes far more differentiated - one that does not indicate a general

increase in anti-Semitism and, furthermore, turns out to be different across the EU Member

States. If we speak of a wave of anti-Semitism, we primarily mean incidents for which, on the

basis of contagion effects, such a wave-like and cyclical course is typical.

The fact that a rise in anti-Semitic activities is clearly observable in most of the EU Member

States since the beginning of the so-called al-Aqsa Intifada, which increased in frequency and

the intensity of their violence parallel to the escalation in the Middle East conflict in

April/May 2002, points to a connection between events in the Middle East with criticism of

Israel’s politics on the one hand and mobilisation of anti-Semitism on the other. According to

an Anti-Defamation League survey, almost two-thirds of Europeans (62%) believe “that the

recent outbreak of violence against Jews in Europe is a result of anti-Israel sentiment and not

traditional anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish feelings.”44 The international dimension of the problem

was clearly evident as Shimon Peres, Israel’s Foreign Minister, told EU colleagues in

Valencia in April 2002 that he saw a link between the growing anti-Semitism in Europe and

                                               

41 Avi Becker, secretary general of the World Jewish Congress, said in April 2002: “These are the worst anti-

Semitic days in Europe since the end of the Second World War”. Taken from Antony Lerman, who stated: “A

cursory glance at some of the main developments in anti-Semitism in Europe since 1945 shows the absurdity of

(such) statements.” See Lerman, A new anti-Semitism. in: Is there a new anti-Semitism in Britain. Ed. by Paul

Iganski and Barry Kosmin, online: www.jpr.org.uk/Reports. An analysis in The Economist also questions this

thesis: Is it really rising. Growing hostility to Israel, and Islamic attacks on Jewish targets in Europe, do not

mean that old-style anti-Semitism is back. (Economist.com, 4 September 2002).

42 Lerman, ibid.

43 Simcha Epstein has outlined this cyclical pattern: Cyclical Pattern in anti-Semitism: The Dynamics of Anti-

Jewish Violence in Western Countries since the 1950s, in: acta 2 (Jerusalem 1993).

44 Ian Black wrote on this in The Guardian (26 April 2002): “European governments are right to be worried: for

the furies spawned by the Arab-Israeli conflict are reaching their own streets, vicious little sideshows in the "war

of civilisation" many fear will be the deadly legacy of the 11 September attacks on the US.” 69% of European

respondents in the ADL survey said in June “they are very or fairly concerned about violence directed against

European Jews” (European Attitudes toward Jews, Israel and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, June 2002). In the

follow-up survey by the ADL in September 2002 conducted in Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Austria and the

Netherlands 53% of the respondents believed the recent outbreak of violence against Jews in Europe is a result

of anti-Israel sentiment and not traditional anti-Jewish feelings, and 61% said “they are very or fairly concerned

about violence directed against European Jews” (European Attitudes toward Jews, Israel and the Palestinian-

Israeli Conflict, October 2002).

 

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the Union’s tilt towards the Palestinians.45 He added: “The issue is very sensitive in Israel

(...). We ask for memory.” The Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Piqué rejected this criticism:

“Please don’t confuse anti-Semitism with legitimate criticism of policies of the current Israeli

government.”46 Peres’ critical remark and the reply given by the European Foreign Ministers

indicates that the core issue in this public conflict was the political question as to when does

anti-Israeli criticism assume anti-Semitic characteristics and whether reproaches of anti-

Semitism are being used as part of an attempt to silence criticism of Israeli policies. All NFP

Reports point to this problem, one that was also discussed publicly in all countries and was an

essential point of dispute in discussions; namely how to draw a clear distinction between anti-

Semitism and criticism of Israeli government’s policies towards the Palestinians - even if it is

extremely sharp.47

While it is certainly correct to view anti-Semitism as part of racism, at the same time it

possesses very specific traits. As almost all of the reports emphasise, Jews in the European

Union are well integrated socially, economically and culturally. Thus, the typical motives of

xenophobia are hardly of consequence for the Jews (fear of competition for jobs, linguistic

and cultural differences of migrants, external appearance). Instead, Jews are imagined to be a

national and international influential group who allegedly exert a bad influence on or even

steer politics, the economy and the media, which is a way of expressing the old anti-Semitic

prejudice of hidden Jewish power. Furthermore, from within the culture of the Christian West,

traditional historical anti-Judaist and anti-Semitic prejudices are again and again liable to be

reactivated. On the level of accusations levelled against Jews, traditional motives prevail (see

below). Perception of the Jews as victims of National Socialism is very strong, making them a

preferred target for all “revisionist/deniers/negationists” and right-wing extremists. Anti-

Semitic offenders make use of National Socialist symbols; but also the German language

itself is used in non-German speaking countries (expressions such as “Juden raus!”) so as to

refer affirmatively to the National Socialist persecution of the Jews.

A further aspect that needs to be noted is that the local Jewish population is closely associated

with the state of Israel and its politics. It can be said that the native Jews have been made

“hostages” of Israeli politics.48 Here anti-Semitic, anti-Israeli and anti-Zionist motives are

                                               

45 For the same argument see: An Open Letter to the Nations of Europe” by the Anti-Defamation League (New

York), published in: International Herald Tribune, 11 April 2002

(http://www.adl.org/israel/israel_ad_041102.asp)

46 The EU’s External Affairs Commissioner Chris Patten told Guardian Unlimited: “It is ludicrous to imply that

any criticism of the way the Israeli government conducts policy reflects hostility to Israel (...). That sort of

argument is beneath contempt.” (The Guardian, 26 April 2002).

47 Here we cite the view of the Greek NFP as a paradigmatic example: “Used in this sense the definition [of anti-

Semitism] does not include actions against either the government or the state of Israel. This we feel must be

made clear from the outset, as it has been the source of both confusion and conflict, at least in Greece, where

opposition to and protest against the policies of Israeli governments have on occasion been equated with anti-

Semitism. It is true, though, that this careful distinction is frequently blurred both by Jews who identify with the

state of Israel and non-Jews who identify all Jews with Israelis and furthermore by considering that all Israelis

identify with their government. In this sense it would be wrong in our view to record all anti-Israeli protests as

anti-Semitic incidents and we have deliberately chosen not to do so. It is nevertheless true that in some cases,

especially concerning comparisons to the Holocaust that appeared in the press, the dividing line was not drawn

so clearly. We have recorded such incidents, because we consider them anti-Semitic, probably meant to provoke

Jews to take a position vis-à-vis the policies of the Sharon government.”

48 There is some evidence that many Europeans doubt the national loyalty of members of Jewish communities

due to their support for Israel: An ADL survey (June 2002/October 2002) in nine EU states (Belgium, Denmark,

France, Germany, UK, Spain, Italy, Austria, The Netherlands) ascertained that 51% of respondents (the numbers

lay between 34% in the UK and 72% in Spain) believed “that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their own

country”.

 

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mixed together. What is certainly quite new is the particular connection between anti-

Semitism and anti-Zionism made in the Arab and Muslim world, so that anti-Semitism, due to

its connection with a concrete political conflict, varies greatly with its escalation and de-

escalation. That anti-Semitic offenders in some cases are drawn from Muslim minorities in

Europe - whether they be radical Islamist groups or young males of North African descent -

is certainly a new development for most Member States, one that offers reason for concern for

European governments and also the great majority of its citizens.49 As members of the Arab-

Muslim minorities in Europe are themselves target of racist and Islamophobic attitudes,50

there arises the precarious situation of a conflict that is primarily motivated by foreign affairs

but played out on the domestic front, a conflict in which the members of one minority

discriminate against another minority group.51

Forms of anti-Semitic prejudice

Let us first of all look at the anti-Semitic prejudices and the groups expressing them. The

range of motives stretches from racist to conspiratorial-oriented and religious prejudices; but

anti-Zionist notions, often coupled with anti-American patterns, were also activated. Anti-

Zionism here is to be seen as a form of anti-Semitism, because Zionism is described by the

extreme right, the extreme left and also by parts of Arab-Muslim circles as the evil of the

world and therefore can be used easily as a wanted scapegoat. This implies the fight against

the existence of Israel.52

1) The dominating motive of contemporary anti-Semitism is still that of a Jewish world

conspiracy, i.e. the assumption that Jews are in control of what happens in the world, whether

it be through financial or media power, whether it be the concealed political influence mainly

exerted on the USA, but also on European countries. This basic assumption is applied to

explain very different phenomena. Here the Holocaust denial assumes a central role in

European right-wing extremism. It is purported that the Holocaust has never taken place and

that the Jewish side, exploiting their victim status, use the “Auschwitz lie” to apply moral

pressure on mainly European governments (restitution, support for Israeli policies), but also to

influence US policy towards Israel. Furthermore, the thesis of the “Auschwitz lie” naturally

also negates the assertion that the foundation of the state of Israel was historically necessary

in order to create a secure homeland for the survivors of the Holocaust and Jews in general.

Precisely at this point, extreme right-wing propaganda becomes employable ideologically for

radical Islamist groups in their struggle against Israel, for the victim status and Israel’s right to

exist are challenged by the “Auschwitz lie”. Here a learning process has taken place in which

                                               

49 See Ian Black in The Guardian, 26 April 2002; European Attitudes toward Jews, Israel and the Palestinian-

Israeli Conflict, June 2002.

50 EUMC, Reports on Anti-Islamic reactions within the European Union after the acts of terror against the USA.

A collection of country reports from RAXEN National Focal Points (NFPs), Vienna 2002. See

http://eumc.eu.int/publications/terror-report/index.htm

51 Michael Whine has sketched the problematic consequences for the attitude of the Jewish communities: “...if as

the evidence suggests the perpetrators are increasingly young Muslims and Palestinian sympathizers, we have to

recognize that they too are also victims of racism. Therefore the Jewish Community has to be involved with

them in the struggle against racism as fellow victims. However, their community leaders cannot continue to call

for ever-stronger action against racism and racist violence without recognizing their own racism and the effects

that Middle East tension and the rise of Islamist ideology is having on their members.” (Anti-Semitism on the

streets, in: A new anti-Semitism. in: Is there a new anti-Semitism in Britain. Ed. by Paul Iganski and Barry

Kosmin, online: www.jpr.org.uk/Reports.

52 Just 1967 Martin Luther King Jr. emphasised: “Anti-Semitism, the hatred of the Jewish people, has been and

remains a plot on the soul of mankind. (…) So know also this: anti-Zionist is inherently anti-Semitic, and ever

will be so.” Martin Luther King Jr., Letter to an Anti-Zionist Friend, Saturday Review, August 1967, p. 76.

 

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“revisionist” thought, that was propagated very early and very prominently by French

intellectuals (lastly by Roger Garaudy), was adopted by some people in the Arab world. The

influence of these ideas is supported by a number of Western Holocaust deniers like Jürgen

Graf, Gerd Honsik, Wolfgang Fröhlich, who fled persecution in their homelands and found

asylum in Arab countries, and last but not least by Roger Garaudy who was hailed as a hero

throughout the Middle East when he faced persecution by the French government for inciting

racial hatred.53 Via Arab-language media (newspapers and satellite TV)54 in Europe these

notions reach in turn a small section of the Muslim population in European countries.

2) Reception of another European source has also influenced their conception of the world,

namely the infamous anti-Semitic fake the “Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion”, which

describes how a group of Jews apparently hold the thread of world politics in their hands.

With help of this conspiracy theory explanations are found for why the politics of the United

States and most of the European countries display a pro-Israeli bias in the Middle East

conflict.55 A current example of this conspiratorial thought is offered by the attacks of 11

September 2001, which in some Arab newspapers (e.g. in Jordan, Egypt and Syria, but also in

the London and Saudi-Arabian editions of Al-Hayat56) is presented as an action initiated by

the Israeli secret service or even the Israeli Government itself, who were seeking to prevent

the establishment of closer ties between the US and the Arab world so as to gain a free hand

for their aggressive plans against the Palestinians.57 This rumour has also spread through

Europe, where it found great resonance above all in Greece.58

                                               

53 Götz Nordbruch, The Socio-historical Background of Holocaust Denial in Arab Countries: Arab reactions to

Roger Garaudy's The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics (see http://sicsa.huji.ac.il/17nordbruch.html); see also

Middle East Research Institute (MEMRI) http://www.memri.org.

54 Examples: Al-Akhbar, Egyptian government daily, 29 April 2002, by Fatma Abdallah Mahmoud, article

entitled "Accursed Forever and Ever”: “The entire matter, as many French and British scientists and researchers

have proven, is nothing more than a huge Israeli plot aimed at extorting the German government in particular

and the European countries in general”, cited in: ADL, Anti-Semitism/Anti-Israel Incitement in the Arab and

Muslim Media March - May 2002 (see: http://www.adl.org/Anti_semitism/arab/media_2q02.asp#2); Al-Riyadh,

Saudi government daily, 10 April 2002, article entitled “ (…) An Israeli 'Holocaust' in Brave Jenin Refugee

Camp”: “ (…) in memory of the 6 millions Jews, about whom ‘Israel’ lies saying that they were killed in the

Nazi crematoriums during the World War II”, ibid; the Internet Homepage by Ahmed Rami “Radio Islam”

which spreads the Holocaust lie in at least 12 languages via the World Wide Web. In spring 2000 the TV station

Al-Jazeera transmitted an interview with the notorious British Holocaust denier David Irving, see Al-Ahram

weekly online, 11-17 May 2000 (http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2000/481/eg12.htm). The editor of Al-Ahram in

mid-2002 was subpoenaed for a criminal investigation in France on charges of anti-Semitism after he had

published an article about a blood libel in his paper, MEMRI, Special Dispatch, 30 August 2002 and see also

MEMRI, 8 January 2003. Al-Ahram sees the criminal investigation on the editor as a campaign by a “Zionist

lobby” and also refers on the Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy to underline their anti-Israel intention, MEMRI,

Special Dispatch, 30 August 2002. In May 2001 Al-Jazeera hosted in a discussion on “Zionism and Nazism” Dr.

Hayat Al-Hwayek 'Atiya, “researcher of Zionism” and follower of Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy and

translator of his book into Arabic, Middle East Research Institute (MEMRI), 6 June 2001 (see:

http://www.memri.org/bin/articles.cgi.Page=subjects&Area=antisemitism&ID=SP22501). Al-Jazeera which

claims to have tens of million viewers across the world due to Fouad Ajami “What’s the Arab World is

Watching (New York Times Magazine, 18 November 2001) obviously offers an anti-American and anti-Zionist

diet (see Robert Wistrich, Muslim Anti-Semitism. A Clear and Present Danger, New York 2002, p. 37, fn. 127).

55 For this, the abbreviation “ZOG” (Zionist Occupation Government) has established itself in both the far-right

as well as the radical Islamist scene, not the least to camouflage against criminal prosecution on the grounds of

incitement.

56 Kai Hafez, Die WTC-Attentate in der arabischen Öffentlichkeit, in: Orient-Journal, spring 2002, p. 8.

57 Robert S. Wistrich, Muslim Anti-Semitism: A Clear and Present Danger, in: The American Jewish Committee

online, Publications (www.ajc.org).

58 Taken as “proof” for these plans was the rumour that Mossad had given prior warning to the Jewish employees

in the World Trade Center and they therefore did not turn up for work on 11 September.

 

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3) Following 11 September 2001, some hold that Islamist terrorism is a natural consequence

of the unresolved Middle East conflict, for which Israel alone is held responsible.59 They

ascribe to Jews a major influence over America’s allegedly biased pro-Israel policies. This is

where anti-American and anti-Semitic attitudes converge and conspiracy theories over

“Jewish world domination” flare up again.

4) The supposed close ties between the US and Israel give rise to a further motive for an anti-

Semitic attitude, one that is also to be found amongst the far left. Due to its occupation policy,

sections of the peace movement, opponents of globalisation as well as some Third World

countries - as the World Conference on Racism in Durban 2001 had shown - view Israel as

aggressive, imperialistic and colonialist. Taken on its own terms this is naturally not to be

viewed as anti-Semitic; and yet there are exaggerated formulations which witness a turn from

criticism into anti-Semitism, for example when Israel and the Jews are reproached for

replicating the most horrific crimes of the National Socialists - apartheid, ethnic cleansing,

crimes against humanity, genocide.60 In the form of anti-Zionism it could be said that the

historical demonising of the Jews is transferred to the state of Israel (striving for world power,

the vindictiveness and cruelty of “an eye for an eye”, the greed of capitalism and

colonialism).61 In this way traditional anti-Semitism is translated into a new form, less

deprived of legitimacy, whose employment today in Europe could extend more and more into

the political mainstream. Thus, the issue at stake in judging statements critical of Israel is

whether a double standard is being set, i.e. Israel is evaluated differently from other states,

whether false historical parallels are drawn (comparison with the National Socialists), and

whether anti-Semitic myths and stereotypes are used to characterise Israeli politics.62

5) The United States of America is also faced with sharp attacks from sections of the peace

movement, opponents of globalisation and some Third World countries as well as from

sections of the extreme right as a world power categorised as imperialistic and as the protector

of Israel. For example, especially in German speaking countries various political extremists

use the word “East coast” (“Ostküste”) as synonymous to a supposed total Jewish influence

on the United States and their policy. Sympathisers to these extremists immediately

understand the meaning of this word without having to get any background information.

Therefore they may use it without being afraid of any state persecution according to anti-

discrimination laws. This makes clear how anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism are

sometimes very closely tied together.

6) While the historical victim status of Jews continues to be acknowledged, for many

Europeans it no longer transfers to support of Israel. Israeli policies toward the Palestinians

provide a reason to denounce Jews as perpetrators, thereby qualifying their moral status as

                                               

59 The Impact of September 11 on Anti-Semitism, General Analysis - Overview, ed. by Stephen Roth Institute

for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism, Tel Aviv University (http://www.tau.ac.il/Anti-

Semitism/asw2001-2/genanal.htm

60 Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks described this as a “blasphemous inversion” as this would mean that opposition to

Nazism and racism is simultaneously opposition to Israel and Jews. (A new anti-Semitism. Online:

www.jpr.org.uk/Reports).

61 The French philosopher Pierre-André Taguieff calls this a “new planetary judeophobia” ("nouvelle

judéophobie planétaire”) that explains “all world problems by the existence of Israel”. This “new judeophobia”,

which he sees as initially brought up by radical Islamic activists, by the heirs of “third-worldism” and by far-left

anti-globalisation activists, accuses the Jews of being themselves racist. Thus, according to Taguieff, there seems

to be an “anti-Jewish anti-racism”. Pierre-André, La nouvelle judéophobie, Paris 2002.

62 Karmela Liebkind, Comments prepared for the “Round Table on Manifestations of Anti-Semitism in Europe”,

EUMC, Vienna 2002, p. 4.

 

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victims that they had assumed as a consequence of the Holocaust. The connection between

anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli sentiment lies in this opportunity for a perpetrator-victim role

reversal.63

7) The fact that the Middle East conflict is taking place in the Holy Land of the Christians has

lead in various countries to a revitalisation of anti-Judaist motives by church leaders and

confessional as well as some liberal newspapers.64 This takes the form of current events (the

conflict over the Church of Nativity, children and youths as the victims of military action)

being brought into connection with events in the New Testament, which historically have

clear anti-Jewish connotations (Massacre of the Innocents, crucifixion of Christ). Such

phenomena are particularly virulent in Italy, but are also present in Protestant countries such

as Denmark or the United Kingdom.

Perpetrators and kinds of anti-Semitic activities

For many anti-Semitic incidents, above all naturally for the violent and other punishable

offences, it is typical that the perpetrators attempt to remain anonymous. Thus, in many cases

the perpetrators could not be identified, so an assignment to a political or ideological camp

must remain open. Nevertheless, looking at the perpetrators identified or at least identifiable

with some certainty, it can be said that the anti-Semitic incidents in the monitoring period

were committed above all by right-wing extremists and radical Islamists or young Muslims;

but also that anti-Semitic statements came from the pro-Palestinian left as well as politicians

and citizens from the political mainstream.

Specific forms of action can be assigned to each of these sections.

- Desecration of synagogues, cemeteries, swastika graffiti, threatening and insulting mail as

well as the denial of the Holocaust as a theme networking various groupings, particularly

in the Internet - these are the forms of action to be primarily assigned to the far-right

spectrum.

- Physical attacks on Jews and the desecration and destruction of synagogues were acts

mainly committed by young Muslim perpetrators mostly of an Arab descent in the

monitoring period. Many of these attacks occurred during or after pro-Palestinian

demonstrations, which were also used by radical Islamists for hurling verbal abuse. In

addition, Islamic circles were responsible for placing anti-Semitic propaganda in the

Internet and in Arab-language media.

- Anti-Semitism on the streets also appears to be expressed by young culprits without any

specific anti-Semitic prejudices, so that “many incidents are committed just for the fun of

it”. In the view of the sociologist Paul Iganski, in many cases - at least in the UK -

represent a type of “thrill hate crimes”, “likely to be committed by a group of young

offenders, outside their neighbourhood”, a type of action we are familiar with in racist

attacks in other European countries and which Iganski views as “part of the repertoire of

                                               

63 On the one hand we have an unprecedented interest in the history of the Holocaust developing in many

European countries: Holocaust memorial days are commemorated, personal involvement in the atrocities is

openly discussed and a Task Force to promote Holocaust education has been established. At the same time polls

of the Anti-Defamation League conducted in nine EU-countries found that 42 percent of the surveyed agreed

with the statement: “The Jews still talk too much about the Holocaust.” (European Attitudes toward Jews, Israel

and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, June and October 2002)

64 The liberal Italian daily La Stampa, for example, depicted a baby Jesus looking up from the manger at an

Israeli tank, saying, “Don't tell me they want to kill me again.” And in Edinburgh, an Episcopalian clergyman

was forced to defend a mural showing a crucified Jesus flanked by Roman soldiers - and modern-day Israeli

troops. It was not anti-Semitic, he insisted, but designed to make his congregation think about current conflicts

(The Guardian, 25 April 2002).

 

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routine incivilities and antisocial behaviour prevalent in the street, shopping malls,

cinemas, (...) and other public space”.65

- In the left-wing scene anti-Semitic remarks were to be found mainly in the context of pro-

Palestinian and anti-globalisation rallies and commentaries critical of Israel in the

respective media during the monitoring period.

- More difficult to record and to evaluate than the “street-level violence” against Jews is the

elite or salon anti-Semitism as it is manifested “in the media, university common rooms,

and at dinner parties of the chattering classes”.66 The development in some EU countries

suggests that today it appears legitimate, sometimes even en vogue to take an anti-Israeli

stance. While such a standpoint is legitimate politically, in many cases a boundary is

transgressed in the direction of anti-Semitic prejudices, for example when a politician in

Germany used the concept “war of extermination” to characterise the actions of the Israeli

army, thus equating it with the war of extermination undertaken by the German army

against the Soviet Union and European Jewry. In this way anti-Semitic modes of thought

can increasingly creep into public and private discourses and are seldom picked out and

criticised by society, politicians and the press.

- During a wave of anti-Semitism like the one we could observe in April and May 2002, in

which a heated public debate took place on Israeli politics and the boundary between

criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism, persons become motivated to voice their latent anti-

Semitic attitudes (mostly in the form of telephone calls and insulting letters) who are not

politically active and do not belong to one of the ideological camps sketched above.

Opinion polls prove that in some European countries a large percentage of the population

harbours anti-Semitic attitudes and views, but that these usually remain latent.

The situation in the EU Member States

The difficulty in classifying anti-Semitic incidents makes it impossible to provide a

quantitative comparison of the anti-Semitic manifestations in the EU Member States. The

difficulty is further compounded by the fact that in some countries incidents are

systematically recorded by state organs, while others reveal a high level of monitoring by

NGOs, or indeed in a third group the collation of information proved to be extremely difficult.

We thus have to assume that some EU Member States, due to their history and the

significance anti-Semitism had and still has in their country, pay far greater attention to

monitoring anti-Semitic incidents as others.

The extent and kind of anti-Semitic incidents vary from country to country. While a constant

pattern valid for all countries is not recognisable, some constellations are evident. Due to the

plurality of the actors and motives, the distribution of anti-Semitic manifestations only

partially corresponds to the distribution employed in the annual “Anti-Semitism Reports”

from the 1990s. They thus show hardly any connection with the spread of anti-Semitic

attitudes and views in the population as a whole.67

A rise in the number of anti-Semitic incidents has been noticeable for almost all of the fifteen

Member States since the start of the “Al-Aqsa-Intifada”. In the monitoring period this rise

                                               

65 Paul Iganski, From ‘extremism’ to ‘yob culture’: Interpreting anti-Semitism in the street, in: Is there a new

anti-Semitism in Britain., online: www.jpr.org.uk/Reports.

66 See: Introduction, in: Is there a new anti-Semitism in Britain., www.jpr.org.uk/Reports, p.1.

67 Institute of Jewish Policy Research, Anti-Semitism World Report, 1992-1997 (after that online version); The

Project for the Study of Anti-Semitism, Tel-Aviv University, Anti-Semitism Worldwide, since 1994, succeeded

by Stephen Roth Institute, Anti-Semitism Worldwide, online. (see http://www.tau.ac.il/Anti-Semitism/annual-

report.html )

 

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reached a climax in the period between the end of March and mid-May, running parallel to the

escalation in the Middle East conflict. This leads to the conclusion that the occasion for anti-

Semitic attacks was in this case triggered by a foreign event, one that however exerted a

varying impact in the individual Member States.

There are a number of EU Member States, namely Ireland and Luxembourg, where anti-

Semitic incidents in general seldom occur and were hardly evident in the monitoring period.

At most threatening letters were sent to the Israeli consulate or to local Jews. The same

applies to Portugal and Finland, where such threatening letters and telephone calls were

evident and where there was one attack each on a synagogue, respectively.

On the other hand, a group of countries was identified with rather severe anti-Semitic

incidents. Here, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK have to be mentioned. They

witnessed numerous physical attacks and insults directed against Jews and vandalism of

Jewish institutions (synagogues, shops, cemeteries). In these countries the violent attacks on

Jews and/or synagogues were reported to be committed often by members of the Muslim-

Arab minority, frequently youths (see reports on these countries). The observers agree that

these are disaffected young men who themselves are frequently targets of racist attacks, i.e.

here the social problems of these migrant minorities are obviously an essential factor for their

propensity to violence and susceptibility to anti-Semitism.68 Far fewer anti-Semitic attacks

committed by members of this group were evident in countries like Sweden and Denmark,

where attacks - similarly to the Netherlands - were only seldom evident in the 1990s given

general populations in which, according to polls, anti-Semitic attitudes are not widespread.

Other countries show a very specific expression of anti-Semitism. In Greece we find a series

of cemetery and memorial desecrations, which point to a far-right background. Anti-

Semitic/anti-Zionist statements and sentiments were found in the mass media and were also

expressed by some politicians and opinion leaders. Here the Greek foreign policy position

perhaps plays a role; since the Second World War Greece has opposed Israel because of its

alliance with Turkey. Spain offered a mixed picture where the traditional strong presence of

neo-Nazi groups was evident alongside a series of attacks, with an Islamist background.

In Germany, where a large number of anti-Semitic offences have been registered annually

since the 1990s,69 persons of Arab descent committed some of the few attacks on Jews in the

monitoring period. Anti-Semitism manifested itself less in a higher number of attacks

(between May-June there were no physical attacks)70 but more in the form of a flood of anti-

Semitic letters to the Jewish Communities and prominent Jews sent by German citizens who

by no means all belong politically to the far right. This was in part a reaction to a hefty

political controversy (see the country report on Germany). The explosiveness in this

controversy lay in how a well-known German politician and the Central Council of Jews

stood opposed face to face, so that in the end all the political partners took a clear position

against the FDP politician Jürgen Möllemann.

                                               

68 See Round Table on Anti-Semitism, 5 December 2002: Odile Quintin, Director General, DG Employment,

points at the “crisis of integration of immigrant communities” as one origin of anti-Semitism.

69 This is certainly also due to the intensive police and public attention, forbidding quantitative comparisons to

other countries.

70 The number ascertained for the first three months, 127 incidents, is significantly lower than one would have

expected compared to those for the whole of 2001 (1629), (see Germany).

 

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Italy showed a certain similarity with Germany; although no physical attacks were evident,

there were threatening telephone calls, insulting letters, slogans and graffiti, whereby the

perpetrators did not come from the Muslim population. However, particularly pronounced in

Italy is a pro-Palestinian mobilisation within left-wing parties, organisations and newspapers,

which in connection with public rallies partially took an anti-Semitic turn. From Austria no

physical attacks were reported; verbal threats and insults were seldom. Anti-Semitic

stereotypes in relation to Israel were found essentially in right-wing newspapers and amongst

far-right groupings.

The countries can also be grouped together in another constellation when focus is switched to

those actors who are present in the public discourse. In Italy, France, Spain and Sweden

sections of the far left and Muslim groups unified to stage pro-Palestinian demonstrations. At

some of these demonstrations anti-Semitic slogans and placards were to be seen and heard

and some even resulted in attacks upon Jews or Jewish institutions. A similar trend was

observed in the Netherlands, though without any great participation from the political left. In

Finland, pro-Palestinian demonstrations passed without any anti-Semitic incidents. In

Germany, and also less so in Austria, public political discourse was dominated by a debate on

the link between Israeli policy in the Middle East conflict and anti-Semitism, a debate in

which the cultural and political elite were involved, whereas the mobilisation of the extreme

left remained low-key. In Germany the critical reporting of the media was also a topic for

controversy, as it was also in the United Kingdom, where left-liberal papers (The Guardian

and The Independent) were heavily criticised by Jewish representatives. In other countries

such as Luxembourg, Ireland, Portugal, Denmark and Finland there was obvious no

prominent public discussion on this subject.

The mass media

Some commentators discuss the possible influence of the mass media on an escalation of the

number of anti-Semitic incidents. There is a connection seen between the sharp increase in

anti-Semitic attacks in April 2002 and the events in Jenin at the end of March and in

Bethlehem in April. Here the question at issue is whether this escalation was merely the result

of the daily news reports on the violence in the Middle East, in the sense of an agenda-setting

effect, or whether the reporting itself reveals an anti-Semitic bias. Judgement upon this is

dependent on partisanship in the Middle East conflict.71 The Jewish communities regarded the

one-sidedness, the aggressive tone of the reporting on Israeli policy in the Middle East

conflict and references to old Christian anti-Jewish sentiments as problematic. The country

reports (Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, and Sweden) list some cases of anti-Semitic argument

or stereotypes (cartoons) in the quality press, but as of yet no systematic media analyses are

available. One study of the German quality press (see Germany) comes to the conclusion that

the reporting concentrated greatly on the violent events and the conflicts and was not free of

anti-Semitic clichés; at the same time though this negative view also applies to the description

of the Palestinian actors. The report on Austria identified anti-Semitic allusions in the right-

wing press. Here there is a need for further empirical studies. One study on the impact of the

very critical reporting on the wave of right-wing extremist violence in Germany in the early

                                                

71 Some authors criticised a “left-liberal obsession with Israel” (Michael Whine) and sees “a left-wing anti-

American cognitive élite with strong representation in the European media” at work (so the Chief Rabbi

Jonathan Sacks in his article: A new anti-Semitism. online: www.jpr.org.uk/Reports), a reproach sharply

rejected by Seamus Milne in the article: This slur of anti-Semitism is used to defend repression. Ending Israel's

occupation will benefit Jews and Muslims in Europe. (The Guardian, 9 May 2002). The Palestinians see a pro-

Israeli bias in the European press. Many Europeans also share this view. In the aforementioned ADL survey, the

majority of Belgians, British, Germans and French respondents agreed that the media coverage has been biased

“in favour of the Israelis”; only the Danes saw a bias slant in favour of the Palestinians.

 

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1990s concluded that the daily news coverage through television and the press had a

“contagion effect” and contributed to a further escalation in violence; this though could not be

said to be the case of the commentary-oriented background reports in the daily press.72 This

means that the impact is not generated by the content of the reporting, which naturally

evaluates the violence negatively, but rather from the massiveness and consonance of the

overall media coverage. The intensive and consonant focus on events thus has a clear effect

on the climate of opinion. In fact, those Europeans who followed media coverage of the

events in the Middle East the closest were more likely to be sympathetic to the Palestinian

case.73

Openly anti-Semitic reporting is rather seldom in the European press, with the exception of

the far-right spectrum. However, observers point to an “increasingly blatantly anti-Semitic

Arab and Muslim media”, including audio tapes and sermons, in which the call is not only

made to join the struggle against Israel but also against Jews across the world.74 Although

leading Muslim organisations express their opposition to this propaganda,75 observers assume

that its calling for the use of violence may exert a certain influence on readers and listeners.

Internet as an international action base

The Internet is named in almost all of the country reports as an important medium for anti-

Semitic propaganda, precisely because it is suited to the international dissemination of anti-

Semitism due to the difficulty in identifying the perpetrators. As the Internet represents an

international medium, only those homepages have been included in the individual country

reports, which have a direct relationship to the nationalist - mostly then far-right - spectrum.

The international character of the medium itself allows only a trans-national assessment and

so, correspondingly, a joint strategy in formulating and implementing counter measures. In

addition, the dissemination of anti-Semitic thought via the Internet cannot be circumscribed to

fit a specific period, for this worldwide transference of data is fast-moving, meaning that

much of the information is accessible only for a short time or the relevant homepages are

switched on and then off. Inherent to the medium, this is only seldom for political reasons. At

the same time though, there are a whole series of homepages available, which are never or

only seldom updated, but nevertheless are permanently present as a propaganda medium. The

evaluation and monitoring of this organ for disseminating anti-Semitic stereotypes,

particularly those with revisionist/denial and conspiracy theory content,76 must therefore be

limited to a more general survey.

The Internet reflects a development observable since 2000, namely the networking of the

extreme right scene via links with sections of the radical Islamist spectrum, some sites from

                                                

72 Hans-Bernd Brosius and Frank Esser, Eskalation durch Berichterstattung. Massenmedien und

fremdenfeindliche Gewalt, Opladen 1995, S. 206 f. see for the conclusions to be drawn for the journalists p. 205

ff.

73 See ADL Survey, 2002.

74 Examples for the UK are given by Michael Whine (Anti-Semitism on the streets) and Peter Pulzer (Anti-

Semitism old and new: Just anti-Sharon and a little bit more) both online: www.jpr.org.uk/Reports.

75 Leaders of France's five million Muslims have warned against stigmatising an entire community, condemned

attacks on Jews and called for peaceful protests in solidarity with the Palestinians. (Ian Black, Europe's oldest

hatred revives. Violence in the Middle East is provoking a rise in anti-Semitism across Europe, The Guardian, 26

April 2002. Cf. similar statements by Turkish organisations in Germany (see Germany).

76 Almost all relevant homepages from the extreme right and the Arab pro-Palestinian spectrum offer the

“Protocols of the Elders of Zion” for downloading, or make it accessible via links to other homepages. This is

also the case for Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”, which in the meantime circulates translated in many Arab countries.

 

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anti-globalisation campaigners77 and from the anti-American far left. Since the end of the

1990s there has been a dramatic increase in the number of homepages present on the web

from far-right groups and parties, which quite often also have ties to radical Islamic

fundamentalists. Observers start from the assumption that there are some 3000 homepages

with extreme rightist content on the web; in addition, there are discussion forums and chat

rooms in which the corresponding body of thought is spread, mostly anonymously. Such

groups create ideological ties, in particular by utilising the denial of the Holocaust as a

component of anti-Semitic agitation, and build up a network. Revisionism is spread by

European organisations such as the Belgian “Vrij historisch Onderzoek”, the Swedish

“Radio Islam”, the French “L’Association des Anciens Amateurs de Récits de Guerres et

d’Holocaustes” (AAARGH), the Danish site “Patriot” or numerous homepages in German

that are hosted in various countries. These are in turn linked to the entire international scene,

i.e. the respective leading revisionist homepages in America, Australia and Canada are then

accessible. Right-wing extremists have discovered how to conduct their war via the Internet,

i.e. how to use “electronic warfare”. Such tactics have lead to state authorities warning of

terrorist tendencies in the far-right spectrum. Furthermore, the potential for violence is

fostered by the worst kinds of computer games. These are upgraded to a political weapon

when neo-Nazis convert well-known apolitical games into malicious anti-Semitic hate

campaigns.78

In summary it can be said that the threatening nature of the situation, in particular for the

Jewish communities, arose because in most of the countries monitored the increasing number

of anti-Semitic attacks, committed frequently by young Arabs/Muslims and by far-right

extremists, was accompanied by a sharp criticism of Israeli politics across the entire political

spectrum, a criticism that in some cases employed anti-Semitic stereotypes. This parallel

character arose out of the joint reference to the escalating situation in the Middle East; both

phenomena, the attacks and the public discussion, have significantly receded since June 2002.

In countries such as Denmark, Greece, Spain, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands,

Austria, Portugal and Finland there are only a few or no incidents known for the period after

July 2002.79 In some Member States such as Belgium, France and Sweden the number of anti-

Semitic incidents, including violent attacks and threatening phone calls, increased again in

September and October, but it does not compare to the period monitored. Anti-Semitic

leaflets, hate mail and phone calls were also reported in Germany and the United Kingdom.

Factors which usually determine the frequency of anti-Semitic incidents in the respective

countries, such as the strength and the degree of mobilisation extremist far-right parties and

groupings can generate, have obviously not played the decisive role in the monitoring period.

                                               

77 Above all homepages from Indymedia (such as Indymedia-France) are time and again criticised because there

“outbreak of Fascist postings” is to be observed, such as in the French version on 7 June 2002: “Israeli

concentration camps” were compared to the Nazi camps in Germany during the Second World War. But this

provoked the resignation of two editorial team members. One of the founding members of this anti-globalization

site, which was created after the Seattle summit, demanded the expulsion of the author of the article “to prevent

Indymedia-France from falling under revisionist influence”. Information provided by the NFP Adri, which

compiled the report on France for this synthesis report.

78 Cf. the homepage of the well-known neo-Nazi and revisionist Gary Lauck in Lincoln/Nebraska and his

“NSDAP-AO” (NSDAP-Auslandsorganisation), who offers his site in English, German, Dutch, Danish, Finnish,

Sweden, Italy, French, Portuguese and Spanish and besides computer games also provides free access to Nazi

literature like “Mein Kampf”.

79 See the reports for the countries by The Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism, online

(http://www.antisemitism.org.il). As Hadassa Hirschfeld from CIDI points out, anti-Semitic incidents did not

diminish in the Netherlands, but the type of incidents has changed from sending anti-Semitic e-mails to more

direct threats (Round Table on Antisemitism, 5 December 2002), Brussels.

 

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3. Recommendations

The upsurge of anti-Semitic criminal offences and verbal assaults against Jewish citizens and

institutions, but also against Muslims, prompted the Interior Ministers of five EU Member

States (Belgium, Germany, Spain, France and the United Kingdom) to issue a “Declaration

against Racism, Xenophobia and Anti-Semitism” in April 2002. The Ministers said that they

had already introduced preventive measures (in particular the surveillance and protection of

places of worship) on a national level against the violent attacks occurring in connection with

the Middle East conflict. It appears to them in the future to be of particular importance that

“joint measures are undertaken on a European level” and “that a series of actions are to be

resolved which encompass the rapid acceptance and implementation of concentrated

measures, such as an intensifying of the exchange of information and experience between the

law enforcement agencies in the Member States and Europol and providing more support for

the EUMC, using the data collated by the EUMC. We consider it to be particularly useful that

suitable penalties can be applied for racist offences in a comparable way in every Member

State.”80

To be able to do that, state institutions must assume responsibility for monitoring anti-

Semitism in the individual EU Member States. These institutions should work in accordance

with well-defined categories (see below), enabling them to recognise an anti-Semitic element

within any politically motivated criminal offences they register and to then incorporate them

into their statistics. The NFPs’ reports make it clear that information on anti-Semitic attacks

in many countries is mainly presented by Jewish institutions or NGOs registering incidents -

and they often only do so when they have received reports from the persons affected. All too

often we are faced with chance findings, which, for example, have only become public

through the regional press release of a committed journalist. Thus, NGOs have recorded 259

racially motivated murders between 1995 and 2000 in Italy; whereas the Italian police have

not registered a single case. In Germany NGOs registered five times as many racist murders

as the police.81 Although the violent attacks upon minorities with a racist background has

raised the sensitivity of state agencies to such criminal offences in the last few years, the

attention required to accept and perceive incidents motivated by anti-Semitism is still lacking

in many countries.

In those countries in which incidents are already registered by the security authorities, a

swifter processing and publication of the results must be ensured, and not first presented - as

in current practice -in the middle of the following year by the police, the authority responsible

for the protection of the constitution etc.

We recommend that:

The EUMC requests state authorities to acknowledge at the highest level the extraordinary

dangers posed by anti-Semitic violence in the European context.

There is a definite need to distinguish clearly in reporting between acts of violence,

threatening behaviour, and offensive speech, and to make transparent government norms and

procedures for registering and acting upon racially motivated crimes and offences motivated

                                                

80 Bundesministerium des Innern, Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Pressemitteilungen online, 19 April 2002,

Abdruck der Erklärung (translated from German).

81 EUMC, Annual Report 2000 “Diversity and Equality for Europe“, Vienna 2001 (see

http://www.eumc.eu.int/publications/ar00/index.htm ).

 

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by anti-Semitism.82 Only in this way can a genuinely comparative basis for incidents be

attained for European countries, a comparison that till now has been limited to a mere

juxtaposition of incomparable individual results.

The EUMC should propose to the European Commission and to the Member States to

consider a decision for police cooperation according to Article 34 of the Treaty of European

Union, which shall bind all Member States to collect and disseminate data on relevant

offences, following the model of States such as Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. This

decision should also involve EUROPOL and EUROJUST. Such a decision needs to be

complemented in all Member States by a coordinated programme of victim studies to

overcome the problem of underreporting, which is generally recognised by experts in this

area.

The EUMC should propose to the Member States to adopt the proposed framework decision

on combating racism and xenophobia (COM 2001/664) as soon as possible and call on the

Council of Ministers to ensure that it is amended to be as effective as possible to deal with the

reported incidents. To achieve effective regulation of the Internet concerning racist

propaganda, it is essential to extend the jurisdiction of European courts to include detailed

provisions on the responsibility of Internet service providers. As the Internet must be seen as

the central networking medium of the different ideological directions as regards anti-

Semitism, it is precisely here where a particularly intensive monitoring is required, one which

in the first instance must be undertaken by state authorities, but also by academic and research

institutions engaged with racism and anti-Semitism. For this purpose it is thus necessary to

establish joint committees at national and international levels. Through mutual exchange these

committees shall make available research results, cases of police prosecution and information

from state security authorities, establishing a basis for an improved recording and combating

of racist and anti-Semitic developments.

The EUMC should encourage and assist civil society to complement the improved legal basis.

Most of the EU Member States in recent years already have enacted laws against hate crime

or the “Holocaust lie” as well as anti-discrimination laws, which include religious or racial

discrimination. Due to these improvements in legislation and law enforcement, and as a result

of intensified police activities and increased public awareness, anti-Semitic incidents and

violent attacks as well as Holocaust denial have less chance to evade punishment. But as the

increase of anti-Semitic attacks shows, laws - although necessary - are not sufficient to stave

off incidents, and in most cases do not cover verbal threats.

Registering anti-Semitic incidents

The measures put forward by the five Ministers already imply improvements in monitoring

and combating anti-Semitic and racist attacks.83 In some Member States (Belgium, Ireland,

Greece and Portugal) “racist attacks were simply not identified separately in crime

statistics”,84 while others (Germany, France, Sweden and the United Kingdom) have at their

                                               

82 Ibid. pp. 11-12.

83 Collection, compilation, analysis, dissemination and publication of reliable statistical data on racism, racial

discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance were also called for by the Action Programme of the World

Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, Durban 2001. See:

Report of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance,

Program of Action, chapter III, Measure of Prevention, Education and Protection Aimed at the Eradication of

Racism, Racial Discrimination, National, Regional and International Levels.

84 Lawyers Committee on Human Rights, Fire and Broken Glass. The Rise of Anti-Semitism in Europe,

Strasbourg 2002, p.5

 

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disposal state-sponsored instruments which monitor and pursue anti-Semitic incidents. In

Germany for instance this is incumbent upon the Federal Office for the Protection of the

Constitution, which in turn receives its information from the various State Offices for

Criminal Investigation. However, these offices record and investigate only punishable

offences. In Sweden the Swedish Security Police (Säpo) records systematically anti-Semitic

incidents. Since 2001 in the United Kingdom the Community Security Trust (CST), the

monitoring body, has been accorded third-party reporting status by the police, allowing it to

report anti-Semitic incidents to the police and act as a go-between between them and those

victims who are unable or unwilling to report to the police directly.85 The function performed

by the CST thus goes beyond the possibilities accorded to the German agencies and also

involves the victims themselves. Other countries, which till now have hardly known any anti-

Semitic incidents, do not possess such instruments and were till now not forced to develop

monitoring guidelines. The European-wide wave of anti-Semitic incidents has shown that

there is now an urgent need for action in these countries as well.

We recommend joint strategies for action to be developed, whereby those countries

possessing years of experience in this regard should pass this on to the other Member States.

A prerequisite for such joint action must be to establish common guidelines for categorising

anti-Semitic incidents. Some countries have for some years now already based their activities

on prescribed guidelines for registering anti-Semitic incidents; these though have not been

coordinated with one another and hence the results have only a limited comparative value.

The most recent definition of anti-Semitic incidents used by the Community Security Trust in

the United Kingdom appears to us to be the most suitable for dealing with the demands of a

European-wide phenomenon. This definition goes beyond the usual criteria for registering

racist incidents, focusing specifically on criteria geared towards anti-Semitism:

1. Extreme violence: any attack potentially causing loss of life;

2. Assault: any physical attack against people, which is not a threat to life;

3. Damage and Desecration of Property: any physical attack directed against Jewish

property, which is not life threatening;

4. Threats: includes only clear threats, whether verbal or written;

5. Abusive Behaviour: face-to-face, telephone and targeted abusive/anti-Semitic letters

(inter alia those aimed at and sent to a specific individual) as opposed to a mail shot of

anti-Semitic literature, which will be included under Category 4. Anti-Semitic graffiti

on non-Jewish property is also included in the category;

6. Literature: includes distribution of anti-Semitic literature, based on the following

criteria:

a. the content must be anti-Semitic (except see (d) below);

b. the recipient may be either Jewish or non-Jewish;

c. the literature must be part of a mass distribution, as opposed to that directed at

a specific individual;

d. racist literature that is not anti-Semitic is included when it is clear that Jews are

being deliberately targeted for receipt because they are Jews (implying an anti-

Semitic motive behind the distribution);

e. It should be noted that the statistics for this category does not give any

indication of the extent of distribution. Mass mailings of propaganda are only

counted as one incident, although anti-Semitic leaflets have been circulated to

                                               

85 Michael Whine, Anti-Semitism on the streets, in: A new anti-Semitism. A collection of essays by Chief

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Peter Pulzer, Michael Whine, Paul Iganski and Antony Lerman, including useful online

resources, Edited by Paul Iganski and Barry Kosmin, Institute for Jewish Policy Research, 2002

(see http://www.jpr.org.uk/Reports/CS%20Reports/new_antisemitism/index.htm).

 

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hundreds and possibly thousands of Jewish and non-Jewish individuals and

organisations.86

Education

As already established, laws offer only limited means to counteract anti-Semitism because it

is after all a problem of society as a whole. Changes in anti-Jewish attitudes can only be

achieved by education. Parents, teachers and day care providers can provide opportunities for

children to express their feelings and channel them into positive direction. The most important

issue is to promote knowledge on Jewish history, on all dimensions of Jewish-Christian

relations and on the Holocaust but without moralising admonitions. To learn about the

Holocaust and apply the lessons of the past to contemporary issues of prejudice, racism and

moral decision-making is an important aim for the future.

The Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and

Research, founded in 1998 on the initiative of the Swedish Government, is composed of

representatives of government, as well as governmental and non-governmental organisations.

Its purpose is to mobilise the support of political and social leaders to foster Holocaust

education, remembrance, and research both nationally and internationally. The ITF creates

programmes and develops guidelines for teaching about the Holocaust. Currently fourteen

countries are members of the ITF: Argentina, Austria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany,

Hungary, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and

the United States.87

We recommend that the governments of the EU Member States still absent should undertake

initiatives to become members of this international board. The guidelines of the ITF are an

important basis for counteracting prejudices and anti-Semitism especially not only because

Holocaust denial is part of radical groups (right-wing and radical Islamist groups) who

practise anti-Semitism but also because Holocaust education must be part of European

historical knowledge. According to the ITF in general, teaching about the Holocaust should

advance knowledge of this unprecedented destruction, preserve the memory of the victims,

encourage educators and students to reflect upon the moral and spiritual questions raised by

the events of the Holocaust as they could be applied to world of today. In order to see the

differences between the Holocaust and other genocides, comparisons should be carefully

distinguished and similarities also should be articulated. The study of the Holocaust must be

studied within the context of European history as a whole. Educators should provide context

for the events of the Holocaust by including information about anti-Semitism and Jewish life

in Europe before the Holocaust. The main task is to provide teacher seminars on these

subjects but also on racism and intolerance and on neo-Nazi music and propaganda.

Media

The fact that in connection with the radicalisation of the Middle East conflict an anti-Semitic

body of thought has gained currency and become relevant in many Arab countries, or that an

already virulent anti-Semitism, circulating since the Six Day War and which in the last few

years has become more and more focused on the denial of the Holocaust, has once again

                                               

86 Published by Michael Whine, Communications Director of the Community Security Trust: Anti-Semitism on

the streets, in: Is there a new anti-Semitism in Britain. Online: http://www.jpr.org.uk .

87 The website of the Task Force (http://taskforce.ushmm.gov) maintains an international directory of

organisations in Holocaust education, remembrance, and research; an international calendar of events; a

directory of archives; listings of remembrance and education activities; as well as additional information about

the Task Force.

 

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broken out, raises the issue of how the media exploits and hands down anti-Semitic

stereotypes.

State authorities have obviously till now paid too little attention to Arab-language

publications which spread anti-Semitic propaganda in European countries, whether they be

newspapers, audio tapes or the Internet, which in the view of British authors “enjoy, as far as

one can tell, nearly total impunity” in the United Kingdom.88 In order to acquire knowledge of

the degree of media influence upon sections of the European population with Arab or North

African descent, a research study should be undertaken on the Arab-language television, press

and homepages operating in the 15 Member States. Until now it is known that the Arab

newspaper “al-Hayat” published in London and “explicit - the political magazine for an

Islamic Consciousness” both spread radical anti-Semitism. This is also the case with the

Internet, where Hizb-ut-tahrir (the party of Islamic Liberation) operates a site containing anti-

Semitic propaganda in German, English, Danish and French, incidentally via a Russian

server.

Press reporting of the Middle East conflict was frequently lacking in balance as well as in a

perspective on the contexts and the formative background history of the current conflict.

Partisanship for the Palestinians as a people allegedly oppressed by a so-called imperialist

Israeli state was mainly to be found in the left-oriented media. Quite often there were also

caricatures, which used anti-Semitic stereotypes (see Italy, La Stampa). To date there has

been no well-founded media analysis of the European press on this subject.

We recommend studies such as the one about how the German print media reported four

important incidents in the Middle East during the second Intifada between September 2000

and August 2001, initiated by the American Jewish Committee (AJC),89 should be organised

also for the other Member States.

Internet

One of the effective counter-strategies against anti-Semitic agitation on the Internet stems

from the providers themselves. They remove upon notification - often only after outside

pressure - such websites from the net, or increasingly undertake voluntary self-monitoring.

The developments in the last months in partly impeded or completely obstructed access to

some homepages have shown that such an approach at least hinders the possibility of placing

propaganda on the Internet, even if some suppliers of the homepages removed from the net

find alternatives for spreading their material through smaller American or Russian providers.

There exists a genuine danger that the far-right extremists can achieve an even more intensive

networking through the Internet, although the respective links offered, which suggest close

co-operation, are often completely obsolete. Some may lead to the next related homepage, but

this does not necessarily mean that there is automatically a close connection with the link

partner. In addition, the relevant sites realised with the latest technology are often the work of

a single individual or, at the most, of a few persons whose circle of sympathisers is small.

                                               

88 Peter Pulzer, Anti-Semitism old and new: Just anti-Sharon or a little bit more. Anti-Semitism in the streets, in:

Is there a new anti-Semitism in Britain. On-line at www.jpr.org.uk, where Michael Whine argues in the same

direction.

89 Duisburger Institut für Sprach- und Sozialforschung (DISS), (on behalf of the American Jewish Committee),

Medien Tenor, Terror und sonst fast nichts. Die Berichterstattung über Israel in internationalen TV-Medien

(9/2000-8/2001), Forschungsbericht Nr. 115, 15 December 2001.

 

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A whole series of private initiatives have already originated in the last few years, which

combat anti-Semitic and racist content on the Internet,90 and with serious information and

lexical entries counteract, for instance, the denial of the Holocaust on the Internet.91 In the

Netherlands (state-funded) and the United Kingdom (funded by local Internet Service

Providers), Bureaux for Discrimination on the Internet were founded.92 In addition, private

and state organisations exert pressure on large Internet providers such as Yahoo and AOL to

remove racist and anti-Semitic content from the net.93 Legislation recently passed in some

countries (Germany, Sweden)94 prohibiting Internet-based hate speech exerts in the first

instance a moral pressure, for it is hardly possible to deal with an international medium which

is difficult to control with legislative means on a national level.

We recommend that apart from state approaches for combating Internet-based racism and

anti-Semitism, which are in a state of flux, the enormous potential for educational purposes

must be utilised far more than is presently the case.

The extent to which anti-Semitic and racist content is also conveyed via websites from

football fans and how effective they are in mobilising support is being investigated by a joint

study undertaken by the EUMC, the Italian organisation Unione Italiana Sport Per Tutti

(UISP) and the Internet company ERIN based in Luxembourg.95

Sport

Above all in the area of European football a whole series of initiatives have been started in the

last few years, which combat racism and anti-Semitism in the stadia, following the initiative

“Football against Racism”.96

The “Let’s Kick Racism out of Football” (LKROOF) campaign is the product of the United

Kingdom’s Commission for Racial Equality, working in conjunction with the football

associations of England, Wales and Scotland.97 A Jewish Policy Research (JPR) seminar in

London for academics and sportswriters examined the issues concerning anti-Semitism,

xenophobia, racism and violence that frequently surround football.98 The research study on

                                                

90 For example “Kinder des Holocaust” (AkdH) from Switzerland (see http://www.akdh.org).

91 The “Nizkor Project” from Canada (see http://www.nizkor.org).

92 High Commissioner for Human Rights, Report on the use of the Internet for purposes of incitement to racial

hatred, racist propaganda and xenophobia, and on ways of promoting international cooperation in this area,

United Nations General Assembly A/CONF.189/PC.2/12, 27 April 2002.

93 For France see for example http://www.cyber-rights.org/documents/yahoo_ya.pdf.

94 See High Commissioner for Human Rights, Report on the use of the Internet for purposes of incitement to

racial hatred, racist propaganda and xenophobia, and on ways of promoting international cooperation in this area,

United Nations General Assembly A/CONF.189/PC.2/12, 27 April 2002.

95 Carlo Balestri, Racism, Football and the Internet, on behalf of the EUMC by Unione Italiana Sport per Tutti,

Vienna 2002 (see http://www.eumc.eu.int/publications/football/index.htm); see also EUMC Annual Report 2000

“Diversity and Equality for Europe“, Vienna 2001 (see http://www.eumc.eu.int/publications/ar00/index.htm), p.

113.

96 See FARE (http://www.farenet.org); at the FIFA conference on racism in football in July 2001 in Buenos

Aires the federation for the first time discussed the problem and referred also on anti-Semitic incidents;

Members of the FARE Network are to deliver soon a seminar on “Football, Culture and Anti-racism” at the

European Social Forum, in Florence (see http://www.farenet.org); UEFA is putting its full support behind a ten-

point plan of action to fight racism in football. Originally compiled by FARE, the plan sets down a variety of

measures that clubs can take ( see http://www.farenet.org).

97 http://www.people.ku.edu/~boroboy/futbolero/abstract/horne2.html.

98 Football, Racism and Public Policy, Jewish Policy Research, newsletter; winter 2002 (see

http://www.axt.org.uk/Footballnews.htm).

 

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“Racism, Football and the Internet” on behalf of the EUMC analysed football supporter sites

carrying violence and racism often combined with anti-Semitism.99

We recommend similar studies should also be carried out on other issues in the area of anti-

Semitic incidents and placed in an overall European context in order to establish a

comparative basis. For this purpose close co-operation is also needed between European

research institutions, which would submit their regional studies to, for example, the EUMC to

form an information pool. This is the prerequisite for the comparison that in turn - based on

specific regional symptoms - opens up the possibility of locating and analysing common

patterns, the formation of stereotypes and the different determining political and social

conditions. Only on this basis, which needs to be interdisciplinary so as to illuminate the

various facets of anti-Semitism from different disciplines and so ultimately provide a

comprehensive picture, can measures and strategies be developed which lead to a genuinely

effective combating of anti-Semitic tendencies.

Other initiatives by NGOs

During the “European-wide Action Week against Racism 2002” in March 2002, activists in

33 countries all over Europe showed their commitment against racism. In France, many

organisations co-operated and focussed on anti-racist education. Their activities included

meetings, discussions, concerts and theatre performances. In Germany, immigration was the

most central issue in debates, demonstrations and games. In the Netherlands anti-racist

organisations discussed recent changes in politics related to migration and integration issues.

AMARC Europe, the European branch of the World Association of Community Radio

Broadcasters, prepared a 24-hour radio-campaign relayed through the Internet.100 Initiatives

such as the International Day against Fascism and Anti-Semitism (9/11/2002) are especially

devoted to issues of anti-Semitism, in which most of the European countries - non-profit

organisations of the UNITED-network - are involved with corresponding programmes.101

The strategies for dismantling prejudices against Jews have till now included exhibition

projects (see the reports on Austria: The Jews of Mistelbach; Jewish Museum Hohenems; on

Luxembourg and on Germany) and educational projects and pedagogical tools to improve and

foster interculturalism and diversity in society (see the reports on Belgium and Italy). It is

precisely the efforts undertaken in the school and education sector that are suitable for

incorporating the new challenges posed by anti-Semitic prejudices amongst the Arab/north-

African Muslim immigrants. In the United Kingdom the teaching method called “Abrahams

barn” (“Abraham’s children”), pointing out similarities between Christianity, Islam and

Judaism, has - according to teachers - been reported to be fairly successful in schools with a

high percentage of immigrants. Along with this, teachers in some schools have reported that a

generally increased vigilance against racist and anti-Semitic expressions has been successful

in curbing such sentiments. The Swedish Committee against anti-Semitism has been writing

articles and arranging a series of seminars in different cities and towns. The seminars were

called “Stereotyping immigrants, Jews and Muslims in media and debate” and got a very

good response in the evaluations. The Samordningskommittén for Europaåret mot rasism i

Sverige (Swedish Commission against Racism and Xenophobia), established in 1996 by

Mona Sahlin, former vice-premier of Sweden, continues to organise seminars and support

anti-racist projects.

                                               

99 Carlo Balestri, Racism, Football and the Internet, on behalf of the EUMC by Unione Italiana Sport per Tutti,

Vienna 2002 (see http://www.eumc.eu.int/publications/football/index.htm).

100 See http://www.united.non-profit.nl/pages/rep02mrt.htm.

101 See http://www.united.non-profit.nl/pages/act02n9.htm; http://www.united.non-profit.nl/pages/info02n9.htm.

 

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In order to do justice to the current development of anti-Semitism within the Muslim

population in Europe, other ways of dismantling prejudices must also be developed. One

important component is intercultural and inter-religious exchange (see Belgium: Jewish-

Muslim meeting; Germany: inter-religious dialogue; the Netherlands: organised meeting

between CIDI youth group and the youth organisation of the Moroccan association Tans).

Also of importance are clear statements from leading personalities in the Muslim community

(see country report on Denmark: “Hate of the Jews is not Islamic”; United Kingdom:

Condemning the desecration of a synagogue; Germany: protest by the Turkish Association

Berlin-Brandenburg against “playing with anti-Semitism”), which are explicitly directed

against anti-Semitism and radical Islamic forms of animosity towards Jews. The educational

information campaigns within Muslim groups, such as on the theme “to burn a synagogue is

like burning a mosque”, have encouraged people to talk again and have improved solidarity

between the different communities in this field. Thus, the gesture of a local Muslim group in

Aubervilliers (a northern suburb of Paris) is particularly symbolic: it lent its school bus to a

Jewish school of the same area after its buses were destroyed during an attack.102

Beyond inter-religious dialogue, the spontaneous or organised mobilisation of civil society

against the far right has reaffirmed the Republic of France’s common values. Such reactions

have at least reminded us that the fight against racism, xenophobia and discrimination remains

a common struggle (see country report on France).

Further research

Many of the issues raised above have specific implications for further research.  In particular

we recommend that research studies should be carried out on anti-Semitic incidents in various

fields - for example, sport, entertainment, public service provision - and placed in an overall

European context in order to establish a comparative perspective on their occurrence.  As

stated earlier, a major difficulty with attempting to gain an overview of anti-Semitic incidents

is the general problem of under-reporting.  To help to overcome this problem it would be

helpful to have a programme of victim studies across the different Member States. Another

observation has been that the way that the European press draws on and perpetuates anti-

Semitic stereotypes has not yet been subject to systematic research analysis. This is another

area where research studies should be implemented in order to fill a gap.

Concluding remarks

The public expects from the police, state security agencies and also monitoring offices rapid

results and from scientific research bodies a short and precise assessment of the prevailing

situation. But unfortunately, there are no patent remedies and quick solutions available. Just

as there is no simple and clear solution for explaining anti-Semitic prejudices and stereotype

patterns, it is not possible to formulate a once and for all strategy, which is effective

everywhere. The strategies are always dependent upon specific situations and must react to

the specific national conditions. The individual Member States have to create necessary

framework conditions, which has already occurred in many cases, and coordinate these with

their European partners, not the least in the face of increasing globalisation - and this has also

already taken place in part. At the same time though, state sanctions, legislative regulations

and institutionalised monitoring can only then bite when they also lead to changes and the

dismantling of prejudices within society. This can only be successful when a re-thinking takes

                                               

102 See http://www.fogliolapis.it/news3.htm, Aubervilliers, 15 April 2002. The bus that takes Jewish children to

school in Aubervilliers has been attacked three times since 2001, The Boston Globe, 28 April 2002.

 

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place in society itself that is not directed only by the state. Initiatives from NGOs, religious

institutions, trade unions, educational institutions and, not the least, private initiatives

therefore assume an extremely important role in reaching as broad a spectrum of the public as

possible through dialogue and various actions. Besides initiating intercultural and inter-

religious dialogues, generating a greater sensitivity for terminology and themes belongs to

their most important tasks in working together with the media, as well as reminding

journalists of their public responsibility. The results of the study by Hans Bernd Brosius and

Frank Esser on the connection between media reporting and xenophobic violence against

foreigners can also be applied to anti-Semitism.103 Brosius and Esser established that a

connection between close-up reporting and violence towards foreigners exists, following the

mechanism that the more up to date and current the medial presence is, then the more likely it

is that reporting is structured more in a xenophobic form, setting off a rapid spiral of violence.

But this also means that journalists must be conscious of their influence on society and act

accordingly in a responsible way.

                                                

103 Hans Bernd Brosius and Frank Esser (1995), Eskalation durch Berichterstattung. Massenmedien und

fremdenfeindliche Gewalt, Opladen 1995

 

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4. Country Reports

Bringing together data on current or recent events poses special problems, mainly because in

most cases the results of investigations undertaken by state organs take a long time to become

available. In addition, the data collection takes place under severe time pressure, and scientific

studies covering the monitoring period are often yet to be presented.

Furthermore, the NFPs in the individual Member States are faced with very different starting

conditions as to the collation of data on anti-Semitic incidents. In Greece, Spain, Ireland,

Luxembourg, Portugal and Finland there is neither a specific recording of anti-Semitic

incidents by the police or responsible state security agencies, nor NGOs, which specialise in

the collection of such data. In these countries the information comes almost exclusively from

Jewish organisations and the media. In other countries, such as Denmark, France, Italy, the

Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom, no data from state agencies was available at

the time this report was compiled (data collated by state agencies is mostly published

annually, in the second half of the following year); however, at the same time there exist

networks of NGOs in these countries which deal with racism and anti-Semitism and, besides

the aforementioned data sources, collect and provide information. Finally, there are countries,

like Germany and Austria, in which state agencies record and classify anti-Semitic crimes

according to specific categories; here, too, there are also numerous NGOs and research

institutions dealing with racism and anti-Semitism.

In addition, with the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith and the American Jewish

Committee there are organizations, which monitor anti-Semitic incidents worldwide,

commission polls on current public opinion and media analyses, and immediately publish

(reports, Internet) their findings. The Stephen Roth Institute (Tel Aviv) and the Institute of

Jewish Policy Research (London) also compile national reports on anti-Semitism covering

almost all EU Member States, whereby these reports are naturally first published one or two

years later.

The data was collected essentially through the following methods:

- Inquiries at the police, state security agencies and ministries of the interior

- Interviews with or questions posed by telephone/in writing to Jewish organisations

- Inquiries at NGOs which have specialised in monitoring racism and anti-Semitism

- Analysis and evaluation of the media (newspapers, TV)

- Research on the Internet

- Evaluation of research studies, media analyses, opinion polls.

A detailed description of sources used can be found in the Annex “Reporting institutions and

data sources”.

For this Synthesis Report, the Center for Research on Anti-Semitism (CRA), Berlin, unified

and supplemented the submitted NFP reports. Furthermore, the attempt was made to balance

out the different evaluations provided by the NFPs on anti-Israeli prejudices. Some NFPs

have not classified anti-Israeli prejudices as anti-Semitic, whereas others have very precisely

distinguished between a criticism of Israel that is not to be evaluated per se as anti-Semitic

and anti-Israeli stereotypes which clearly utilise anti-Semitic prejudices. In compiling the

Synthesis Report the CRA was able to draw on surveys, data and some media and Internet

sources published after the deadline for submitting the NFP reports. These sources provided

additional information on the individual countries. Furthermore, to be able to identify trends

 

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and developments over time, the CRA studied materials on anti-Semitic incidents prior to

2002 for the individual countries. Based on anti-Semitism reports up to 2001 and other

sources, the aim of this presentation was to provide a context for the evaluation of the

monitoring period.

Also the CRA had to compile reports for two countries on its own: neither the National Focal

Points from the Netherlands nor from the United Kingdom provided reports. The differing

length of the individual country reports mirrors not only the degree and frequency of anti-

Semitic attacks and prejudices in the individual countries (Belgium, Germany, France, the

Netherlands, the United Kingdom), but also the intensity of monitoring by institutional and

state agencies and the sensitivity towards anti-Semitic incidents.

Belgium104

Within the Belgian population (10.3 million; 55% Flemish, 33% Walloon) Jews represent a

minority of some 35,000, most of whom live in Antwerp and Brussels.

In recent years racism has been on the increase, both in terms of discrimination against

immigrants in general and against Arabs in particular. The Eurobarometer 2000 compiled by

the EUMC105 came to the conclusion that the attitudes towards ethnic and religious minorities

in Belgium show a more negative set of views than the EU average. Although racially

motivated attacks from extreme right-wing groups, resurgent since the 1990s, are in the first

instance directed against foreigners, running parallel to this is a strong increase in anti-Semitic

tendencies. In particular since the beginning of the “al-Aqsa Intifada” in the autumn of 2000,

the number of violent actions against Jews and Jewish institutions has increased, with the

suspected perpetrators mainly from Muslim and Arab communities, especially from those of

Maghreb origin which itself is most vulnerable to xenophobia106. But right-wing extremist

groups also used the situation for an “anti-Zionist” campaign.107 In addition, a certain

influence was exerted by legal proceedings started in June 2001, based on a law passed in

Belgium in 1993 that also enables criminal prosecution of crimes committed in foreign

countries. Survivors of the massacre in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila in 1982 used

this law to undertake legal proceedings against the then Defence Minister of Israel Ariel

Sharon for crimes against humanity. An Israeli inquiry had found that Sharon was indirectly

responsible, prompting his resignation. The attempted prosecution itself, but also the delaying

of a decision over many months,108 caused an international stir, not the least because Belgium

assumed the EU Presidency on 1 July 2001 and had the request seriously examined.109 On 26

June 2002 the court dismissed the charges.110

                                               

104 This report is based on a compilation by the Centre pour l'Egalité des Chances et la Lutte contre le

Racisme/Centrum voor gelijkheid van kansen en voor racismebestijding/Centre for Equal Opportunities and

Opposition to Racism (CEOOR).

105 See http://eumc.eu.int/publications/eurobarometer/EB2001.pdf

106 Out of the 350,000 Muslims living in Belgium, 125,000 come from Morocco.

107Antisemitism Worldwide 2000/1, Belgium, online report. See http://tau.ac.il/Anti-Semitism/annual-

report.html.

108 AP Television News 6 February 2002.

109 The Guardian online, 19 June 2001.

110 taz, 27 June 2002; Murray Gordon, The New Anti-Semitism in Western Europe, AJC, online, 12 August

2002, p. 2 (see http://www.ajc.org/InTheMedia/PublicationsPrint.asp.did=618 ).

 

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On 30 May, Reuters reported that a confidential Senate Report, based on evidence from the

State Security Service, stated that Belgium is a recruiting ground for Islamic militants.

Apparently, the Saudi-backed Salafi Movement has created some sort of religious “state

within Belgium.”111

1. Physical acts of violence

According to the current report of the American Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, since

11 September 2001 around 2000 anti-Semitic incidents have taken place, whereby no

distinction has been made between violent attacks and other forms.112 Already on 5December

2001, the Chief Rabbi of Brussels, Albert Gigi, was physically assaulted by a group of youths

in Anderlecht (Brussels). After shouting at him and his companion “dirty Jew” in Arab, they

followed them into the subway and one of them kicked the Rabbi in the face, breaking his

glasses.113 After the first graffiti appeared on Jewish shops in February 2002, demanding

“Death to the Jews”, the synagogue in the Anderlecht district of Brussels was severely

damaged by two Molotov cocktails in the night of 31 March / 1 April. In the following weeks

the attacks increased: on 17 April unknown persons set fire to a Jewish bookshop in Brussels

and on the following day the front window of a kosher restaurant were shattered by an air

rifle; during the night of 20 - 21 April 18 shots were fired at the façade of the synagogue in

Charleroi. During a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Antwerp on 1 April, which took place

near a Jewish area and in which ca. 2000 persons took part, front windows were shattered and

an Israeli flag burnt.

Between 15 May and 15 June 2002 the following attacks or violent acts against Jews have

been recorded. Compared with the attacks the month before, the number of incidents was

relatively low.

19 May: a group of Jewish youngsters aged 13 were threatened by a group of Arab youths at

the City Park. One of them menaced the Jewish youngsters with a mock rifle. The police

intervened and arrested the youth.114

25 May: a group of adolescent immigrants (around the age of 13) vandalized the restaurant of

the Maccabi Soccer Club belonging to the Jewish community of Antwerp. They spread anti-

Jewish slogans across the club walls, destroyed doors, windows and furniture. The youngsters

were caught by the police. After interrogation and an interview with their parents, they were

released.

28 May: a shop on the Frankrijklei, a major avenue in Antwerp, was smeared with the

following slogans: “Kill the juif. Laat ze lijden (let them suffer), fuck Belgium”.115

The Antwerp police have also gathered evidence of damage to bus stops, shops or public

buildings. In most cases these were graffiti of the SS insignia, the swastika and the Star of

David.

2. Verbal aggression/hate speech

Newspapers reported the following incidents:

                                               

111 The European Terrorism Review, July 2002; see also Likud of Holland, Brussels, Telegraph Group online, 4

June 2002.

112 Lawyers Committee for Humans Rights, Fire and Broken Glass. The Rise of Anti-Semitism in Europe,

Strasbourg, May 2002, p. 6 (see http://www.lchr.org/iJP/antisemitism_report.pdf), citing Ambrose Evans-

Pritchard, Jews Suffer Surge of Hate on Streets of Belgium, Daily Telegraph, 30 May 2002.

113 Anti-Semitic Assault on Rabbi in Belgium, in: Stephen Roth Institute, Anti-Semitism and Racism, update 6

December 2001.

114 Source: Forum of Jewish Organisations of Antwerp.

115 Same source.

 

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· On 19 April unknown persons smeared a Jewish shop in Brussels with slogans such as

“Dirty Jew” and “We will burn you”.

· In the second half of May an anonymous letter of anti-Semitic and revisionist character

was sent to a survivor of the concentration camps after this person had published an article

in a widely circulated public newsletter.

· In the second half of May 2002 an article of highly anti-Semitic nature was published in a

free journal published in the Charleroi region.

· On 3 June an anti-Semitic letter, originating in France, was sent to an individual in

Belgium.

· Racist and anti-Semitic slogans continue to belong to the repertoire of many football fans.

Internet

Websites of Belgian origin with racist and anti-Semitic texts have increasingly gone online in

recent times. The Centre for Equal Opportunity and Combating Racism was able to identify

82 Belgian sites, which spread such material. On 6 June a complaint about racism was

introduced at the CEOOR against Dyab Abou Jahjah, President of the Arabian European

League (AEL). His Internet site encourages hatred, discrimination and violence towards the

Jewish community. The complaint concerns a press statement in which the AEL urged people

to join a demonstration in Antwerp to be held on 8 June 2002. According to the League, this

demonstration has to take place in Antwerp since “the power (there) is in the hands of a

Zionist lobby and extreme right racists” and, furthermore, because “Antwerp represents the

bastion of Zionism in Europe” and is a city “where pro-Sharon gangs of Zionists are dictating

the rules”. Instead, Antwerp needs to become the “Mecca of pro-Palestinian action”.116

On 17 January the far left anti-globalisation website Indymedia Belgium relayed photographs

of three corpses of children who should have fallen victim of the supposed Israeli practice to

use bodies of Palestinians for organ theft.117

MediaJoel Kotek, professor at the Free University of Brussels refers to the one sided reports

on Israel in the Belgium media: ”Israel is portrayed by the Belgian media, notably “Le Soir”,

the most widely circulated French-language newspaper in Belgium, as well as by “Vif

l’Express”, its weekly supplement, as solely responsible for the violence which has shaken the

Middle East for almost two years. Frequently, in their forum pages and in letters to the editor,

Israelis are equated with Nazis and in more extreme publications anti-Semitic motifs appear

in anti-Israel propaganda.”118

3. Research studies

The survey commissioned by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in ten119 European

countries has collected information on “European Attitudes towards Jews, Israel and the

Palestinian-Israel Conflict” between 16 May and 4 June respectively between 9 and 29

September.120

                                               

116 These are a few of the statements of the press release on 6 June 2002, which can be found on the site of the

AEL League.

117 Joel Kotek, Antisemitic Motifs in Belgian anti-Israel Propaganda, in: Antisemitism Worldwide 2001/2 (see:

http://www.tau.ac.il/Anti-Semitism/asw2001-2/kotek.htm). This accusation seems to vary the age-old prejudice

of Jewish ritual murder in which the Jews were accused to slaughter Christian children in order to get their blood

for religious purposes.

118 Ibid.

119 In addition to the cited countries the survey include also Switzerland.

120 See http://www.adl.org/PresRele/ASInt_13/4118_13.asp and full text version at http://www.adl.org/

Anti_semitism/European_Attitudes.pdf; http://www.adl.org/anti_semitism/EuropeanAttitudesPoll-10-02.pdf

 

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European Attitudes towards Jews, Israel and the Palestinian-Israel Conflict

StatementBelgiumDenmarkFranceGermanyUnited

Kingdom

SpainItalyAustriaThe

Netherlands

Jews don´t care what

happens to anyone but

their own kind

25%16%20%24%10%34%30%29%15%

Jews are more willing

to use shady practices

to get what they want

18%13%16%21%11%33%27%28%9%

Jews are more loyal to

Israel than to this

country

50%45%42%55%34%72%58%54%48%

Jews have too much

power in the business

world

44%13%42%32%21%63%42%40%20%

Percent responding “probably true” to each statement / 500 respondents in each country

Taylor Nelson Sofres, margin of error +/-4.4% at 95% level of confidence

For Belgium a clear agreement emerged with anti-Semitic stereotypes. From the four

stereotypical statements presented, 39% of respondents agreed to at least two, 21% with at

least three and 6% with all four.  Fifty per cent of respondents agreed with the statement that

“Jews are more loyal to Israel than to this country”, a rate somewhat below the EU-average of

51%, and 38% agreed with the statement “Jews still talk too much about the Holocaust” (EU-

average: 42%).

4. Good practices for reducing prejudice, violence and aggression

Following the multi-religious meetings organised since 11 September 2001, the CEOOR

proposed an action plan, the implementation of which is still in the preparatory phase.

However, it has already been decided to create a website containing a list of associations

which subscribe to diversity and mutual respect and a set of pedagogical tools to improve and

foster interculturalism. There will also be a section on how to make a complaint about racism

to the CEOOR. Finally, there will be an index of key words and concepts, which will be

elaborated and explained in a language understandable by the general public.

5. Reactions by politicians and other opinion makers

Within the Belgian legal framework there are two laws dealing with the fight against anti-

Semitism, notably the general anti-racism law of 1981 and the law of the denial of the

Holocaust of March 1995.

· Immediately after the assault on the Brussels Chief Rabbi was made public in January

2002 and the debate in the Parliament, moderate forces within the Jewish community in

Brussels organised a meeting with Muslim leaders.121

· On 5 April 2002 a Round Table Conference was held on the initiative of the Belgian

Government with representatives from the social partners, the Jewish and the Muslim

communities, the Ligue des droits de l'Homme (League of Human Rights) and the Centre

for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism. After the attacks on a few synagogues

in Antwerp and Brussels different communities requested the Round Table Conference. A

common declaration was signed and commitments were made by the different actors to

undertake concrete measures in the near future.

· On 19 April 2002 the Belgian Interior Minister, Antoine Duquesne, made a joint

declaration with his colleagues from France, Spain, Germany and Great Britain on

                                               

121 Haaretz online, 1 February 2002.

 

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“Racism, Xenophobia and Anti-Semitism”. Given the background of international tension,

in particular in the Middle East, they characterised the racist and xenophobic violence as

an offence against freedom, democracy and human rights and pronounced European-wide

preventive measures and a coordination of the responsible agencies and offices.122 At the

Interministerial Conference for the Equal Opportunities Policy, which took place on 17

May 2002, a concrete action plan was introduced and approved by the Government.

Denmark123

The Jewish population (ca. 7000) in Denmark (total population: 5.3 million) is well integrated

socially and anti-Semitism is hardly visible, though the activities of right-wing extremist

groups and the election campaign, which focused on immigration policy in 2001, have

reinforced xenophobic attitudes.124 With the al-Aqsa Intifada violent anti-Israeli

demonstrations and heated debates broke out from October 2000, “which included anti-

Semitic manifestations”.125 These initiatives come from extreme leftist groups and militant

Islamist activists. As in most of the other EU Member States, the climax of the public debate

lay prior to the monitored period in March-April 2002, while the monitored period itself was

calmer for the Jewish community in Denmark. It appears that there have been very few (if

any) physical attacks and few reported incidents of direct verbal abuse.

1. Physical acts of violence

PET has no reports of anti-Semitic attacks in the monitoring period, neither of a physical or

verbal nature, nor of incidents of graffiti, vandalism, etc. in the monitoring period. However

in August the Copenhagen synagogue was vandalized and anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on its

walls.126The Jewish Community in Denmark, which systematically registers all anti-Semitic

incidents in Denmark, reported the following incidents: two Arabs harassed the President of

the Jewish Community. During the period in question the Jewish Community received at least

8 reports from members who had been spat upon or otherwise harassed on the street by

Moslems. A mother, who wished to remain anonymous, reported that Palestinians who knew

her son from school had beaten him on the street. The boy required medical attention at the

local hospital. On 21 April 2002, a Danish Jewish shop owner in the “Nørrebro” district of

Copenhagen was attacked by a gang of Palestinian youths near his shop. The gang beat him

                                               

122 For the declaration see the press release presented by the German Federal Interior Ministry, Pressemitteilung

des Bundesministeriums des Inneren (Germany), 19 April 2002.

123 This report is based on the compilation by Naevet for Etnisk Ligenstilling/The Danish Board for Ethnic

Equality.

124 That anti-Semitism is not a central issue in Denmark is shown that besides the Danish Civil Security Service

(PET) - as they collect data on “racially motivated” crime in Denmark - information only otherwise comes from

Jewish organisations. The following institutions and organisations have been consulted: the Jewish Community

(Det Mosaiske Trossamfund) (http://www.mosaiske.dk), which is the official representative of the Jewish

community in Denmark; “Maichsike-hadas” (www.machsike-hadas.subnet.dk ) - an Orthodox Jewish

Community in Copenhagen; Chabad (http://hjem.get2net.dk/chabad/) - a broad organization promoting Jewish

awareness; JIF Hakaoh (http://www.hakoah.dk ) - a Jewish sports club (via Carolineskolen); Carolineskolen

(www.carolineskolen.dk) - the main Jewish school located in Copenhagen; Progressive Jewish Forum

(http://pjf.5u.com/); the Danish Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies; the Israeli Embassy.

Other sources: daily newspapers and the Internet were used to identify homepages with anti-Semitic content.

125 Antisemitism Worldwide 2000/1, online, Denmark. (see http://www.tau.ac.il/Anti-Semitism/annual-

report.html).

126 Murray Gordon, The New Anti-Semitism in Western Europe, American Jewish Committee, online,

publications, p.12 (see http://www.ajc.org/InTheMedia/ Publications.asp.did=618&pid=1412).

 

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and stabbed him with a knife.127 On 13 June 2002, a member of the Jewish Community’s

Board reported the eighth incident of malicious damage to his automobile.

2. Verbal aggression/hate speech

Direct threats/abuse

Rabbi Yitzchok Lowenthal, director of Chabad Denmark, reports that between 15 May and 15

June 2002 he was shouted at 5-6 times by young men with Arab background. Similarly, a few

friends of the Rabbi were verbally assaulted on the street. A student at the Jewish school

(Carolineskolen) was afraid to go home after being repeatedly threatened by young men of

Arab background at the bus stop. A Jewish man on a bus reported that a gang of young people

of presumable Arab descent yelled at him and told him what they would do to “the Jews”.

On 21 May 2002, the mother of a student at Byens Skole in the Valby district of Copenhagen

went to the police because Muslim students from the neighbouring Vigerslev Allé Skole had

threatened her son. A teacher at the boy’s school had to smuggle him out the back door on 17

May when a gang of Arabs showed up to beat him.128

Indirect threats

In April the Islamic political organisation, Hizb-ut-tahrir, distributed flyers on the street