2021: The most antisemitic year of the last decade, more than ten incidents every day

January 23, 2022 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Ahead of  International Holocaust Remembrance Day and the Fight Against Antisemitism on the 27th of January, the World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency have published their annual antisemitism report of 2021, and the statistics are not encouraging.

The average number of antisemitic incidents reported in 2021 was more than ten incidents per day. However, the actual number of incidents is significantly higher, since many incidents are not reported by the victims out of fear, and due to the lack of surveillance and prosecution of local authorities and law enforcement agencies. The main incidents were vandalism and destruction, graffiti, and desecration of monuments, as well as propaganda. Incidents of physical and verbal violence accounted for less than a third of all antisemitic incidents. According to the statistics, this is the most antisemitic year in the last decade, but at the same time, this year no Jew in the world has been murdered on antisemitic grounds.

The report also shows that there is a correlation between the occurrence of current and calendric events around the world and the rise in the number of antisemitic incidents. In 2021 we saw a sharp increase in the number of antisemitic incidents that occurred during the month of May. This month included Jerusalem Day, Shavuot, Al-Quds Day, Eid al-Fitr and Nakba Day; As well as a number of significant topical events concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including the Tiktok terror in Jerusalem, the public debate over Sheikh Jarrah, riots in the mixed cities in Israel and at the height of the month, Operation Guardian of the Walls.

Moreover, during the month of May most European countries lifted their Covid lockdown, releasing tensions growing below the surface after months of being confined at home. Already in 2020, the pandemic caused an increase in the number of antisemitic incidents, which was mainly expressed in the digital space, but as soon as it was possible to move around the public space again, antisemitism took to the streets. Many demonstrations against the Covid vaccines and restrictions included Holocaust motifs, such as the yellow star, as well as antisemitic conspiracy theories accusing Jews as spreaders of the pandemic to control the world. These accusations were aimed at Jews in key positions, such as the CEO of Pfizer and others. The use of these symbols has created a worrying phenomenon called “trivialization of the Holocaust”, whose main purpose it is to diminish the dimensions of the Holocaust and its historical uniqueness and importance.

The European continent is leading in the number of antisemitic incidents that took place in 2021, with close to 50% of all antisemitic incidents taking place in its territory. It is followed by North America, in which the United States leads with about 30% of antisemitic incidents. The most surprising this year were Canada and Australia, where there was a dramatic increase in the number of antisemitic incidents reported in 2021, compared to the previous year. These two countries, which are not usually on the “List of Red Countries” for antisemitism, are now on the list.

In the United States, New York recorded a 100% increase in the number of antisemitic incidents this year with 503 incidents in 2021, compared to 252 in 2020. According to official Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) data in the first six months of 2021 (January-June) there was a 59.2% increase in the number of antisemitic incidents compared to the same period in the previous year. The UK recorded a 49% increase in the first six months of the year (January-June 2021), with 1,308 incidents versus 875 in the same period in 2020. Austria also recorded a double number of incidents in the first half of the year (562 incidents between January and June 2021, compared to 257 in the same period in 2020). In Germany, 1,850 antisemitic incidents were recorded between January and October 2021 (10 months), compared to 1909 cases reported in all of 2020 (12 months). In states that were formerly associated with East Germany (Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, and Saxony), the number of antisemitic crimes has steadily and significantly increased over the past four years (580 crimes in 2021, compared to 330 in 2017). In Berlin itself, in the first half of 2021, 522 antisemitic events were recorded, with an increase of about 27% compared to 2020, with 410 recorded incidents in the first half of the year. In contrast, the declining trend in the number of antisemitic incidents in Russia has continued, according to reports from the local Jewish community, although the ability to provide sufficient documentation is not readily accessible.

Raheli Baratz-Rix, Head of the Department for Combating Antisemitism and Enhancing Resilience at the World Zionist Organization said:”antisemitism is not a new term, but a term that reinvents itself. Jewish communities around the world face the challenges of a rising and ever-changing antisemitism. The resilience of the Jews is measured by their determination and strength, standing together as a community in the face of these challenges. Despite the grim statistics, this year we have also seen a little light emanating in various forms, such as the adoption of the IHRA working definition of antisemitism by many countries, Holocaust education laws passed, laws passed to prevent the use of Holocaust symbols, and of course in the war on BDS.”

She added: “it is the duty of every country to provide its citizens with security and to protect them in every event that takes place on its land, including the Jewish community. At the same time, the State of Israel will always continue to be an anchor for every Jew who desires it.”

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