ADL reports ‘dramatic surge’ in anti-Jewish violence

Cnaan Liphshiz

When a Turkish owner of a cafe near the Belgian city of Liege puts up a poster that welcomes dogs but not Jews, that’s a sign of the times.

And when an on-duty doctor refuses to treat a 90-year-old Jewish woman from Antwerp and refers her to Gaza instead, that, too, is the kind of news that encapsulates a larger reality.


Such incidents, well publicized in the international media, suggest how Muslim immigration has lifted Europe’s post-Holocaust taboos and in turn loosened inhibitions for many educated Europeans. But behind those headline grabbers are countless smaller incidents that, though they seldom makes the news, are very much part of the daily grind of anti-Semitism in Europe and elsewhere.

Some of these less noted incidents appeared in a report published Wednesday by the Anti-Defamation League. Titled “Violence and Vitriol,” the report offers a snapshot of anti-Semitic attacks in Europe and elsewhere in the wake of Israel’s recent operation in Gaza. The report covers incidents in over 15 countries, including Australia, Canada and several Latin American nations.

“There was a dramatic surge in violence against Jews and Jewish institutions around the world during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge,” ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said.

The list — ranging from firebombs hurled at a synagogue in the German city of Wuppertal to the beating of a Moroccan rabbi in Casablanca as retribution for Israel Air Force strikes – aims to “illustrate but do not fully document the hatred of Jews displayed thousands of miles away from Israel and Gaza,” the ADL wrote.

In the United Kingdom that hatred manifested itself in the placing of pro-Palestinian messages on two synagogues, including one that read “child murderers” in Kingston on July 30. Earlier that month in Manchester, anti-Israel protesters returning from a rally drove through Broughton Park while shouting and swearing at Jewish pedestrians with slogans that included “Heil Hitler.”

A pattern “continued and metastasized” during the operation, the ADL wrote. “Hamas fired missiles from Gaza; Israel’s military responded; Jews around the world were attacked, this time in even greater numbers.”

The pattern also included what scholars of anti-Semitism call Holocaust inversion: The portrayal of Israel as equivalent to Nazi Germany. This tendency was prominent in Latin American countries.

In Venezuela, lawmaker Adel El Zabayar claimed on state television on July 14 that relations between international Zionism and Nazism were established long before the creation of the State of Israel, and that a high-ranking official of Hitler’s government had visited Israel to support the creation of the future Jewish state.

And in Chile — where the Jewish community of Santiago received numerous death threats and where an Orthodox Jew was chased on the street and called a murderer —  one protester was seen carrying a sign accusing Israel of being worse than the Nazis, the ADL reported.

Cnaan Liphshiz is JTA’s news and features correspondent in Europe.