The Fight Against the Virus of Antisemitism

It is dispiriting to acknowledge that  the virus of antisemitism survives, has been increasing, and cannot be stamped out completely.  The sad conclusion, from recent studies, is that antisemitism, a malignant form of racism, still infects populations throughout the world, in spite of efforts by official and non-official bodies to confront bigots and to inoculate people against the disease. The antisemitism is global: murders in synagogues in Pittsburgh and in Sweden, attacks on kosher restaurants in Paris, physical violence against civilians in the streets of London and New York.

 What has become increasingly distressing is the availability and prominence of social media companies to provide opportunities for antisemitic expressions from their platforms, and for hostile obsession with and hostility towards the State of Israel. The issue has in recent years become more troublesome. Antisemitism has been openly and commonly expressed by individuals and groups of all kinds: general racists; far-right and neo-Nazis open, believers in the perpetuation of Adolf Hitler, and direct in their hatred of Jews; far-left, Marxists, and post-colonialists, critical of Israeli policies but using antisemitic stereotypes; radical  Islamists; and pro-Palestinians .

 What is now evident and needs more attention by officials is the propounding of antisemitism by bigots using the “dark web,” the invisible part of the internet available only through special software. The dark web, with programs and sites that have provided platforms for antisemitism allows almost complete anonymity and invisibility and thus shelters extremists who cannot be prosecuted or forbidden in any way. It provides an opportunity to spread extremism. It is very much larger than the surface web, and more dangerous.  The extent   of its antisemitic activity is difficult to penetrate.

Antisemites, as well as pro-Palestinian groups and some international organizations, supposedly concerned to promote and protect human rights, have in recent weeks been particularly malicious in presenting a false equation. Despite the horror of the activities of Vladimir Putin their priority has been their obsession with the State of Israel. They are annoyed that more attention is being paid to the Russian aggression against Ukraine than to the evils of Israel.  For them, the relentless bombardment and killings of civilians, and the plight of millions of Ukrainian refugees should have attracted less attention than the evils of Israel.

The findings of the new study presented in the report of the Center for Study   of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University, based on information from around the world, are disturbing.  The study indicates a dramatic increase in the number of antisemitic incidents in the U.S., the UK, Canada, and other countries. The increase stems from four different sources.  First, the protagonists do not come from a single ideology or belief system but may come from either the far-right and the far-left political movements.  Secondly, the increase in manifested in social networks, which in alarming fashion spread the disease.  Thirdly, conspiracy theories of the impact of Jews have thrived during the lockdowns due to the pandemic that have kept people at home. A main theory is that Covid-19 was engineered and spread by Jews and by Israel for financial and other reasons. A fourth reason is the pro-Palestinian animosity and the antisemitic incidents connected with the continuing conflict between Israel and Hamas terrorists in Gaza. It is noticeable, according to UN figures, there was a surge in incidents in May 2021 when 261 people were killed in Gaza and 14 in Israel.

It is also apparent that antisemitic  utterances and incidents emanate from  different types of personalities, from the envious for religious or economic reasons or simply bigoted prejudice, from white supremacy groups, the Goyim Defense League, from minorities resenting the prominence of Jews, from those swallowing false images and stereotypes of Jews, from fashionable persons in the media, theatrical and film professions and sports. Ignorance is the spur to the animosity of these bigots.

It is important to survey the dramatic rise of antisemitism in some countries.

In the U.S., the number of antisemitic incidents reached an all-time high, a total of  2,717 incidents of assault, harassment, and vandalism, an increase   of 34% from previous year. The Anti-Defamation League, ADL, states this is the largest number on record since it began keeping records  in 1979.   

The number of anti-Jewish hate crimes recorded in New York and Los Angeles, was almost double that of the previous years.  Antisemitic protests took place in a number of U.S. cities, and Jews, one of whom was the chaplain, a Jew, of the NYPD, were physically beaten in the streets.

The NYPD recorded 214 crimes (126 in 2020), and the LAPD  recorded 79 (40 in 2020).   According to the survey of the American Jewish Committee, AJC,  2.6% of American Jews said they had  been the  victims   of antisemitic  physical attacks  in the previous   five years. The Anti-Defamation League, ADL, recorded a significant increase in white supremacist antisemitic propaganda.

In France, the number of antisemitic incidents increased by almost 75%.  Surveys record 589 incidents in 2021. In the UK the Community Service Trust recorded 2,255 antisemitic incidents in 2021, an increase of 34%, and a rise of 78% in physical assails  against Jews. In Canada, fourth largest Jewish community in the world, reports are that a 40 year record has been set  in assaults, 61 in May 2021, against Jews. In Germany, there was an increase of 29% of antisemitic incidents, 3,028 in all.  

Graphic credit: Quinn Dombrowsk CC BY-SA 2.0 license

If you experience technical problems, please write to