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Israeli Study Shows Rise in Anti-Semitism

  • Robert Berger

The report attributed the surge in anti-Semitic acts to the Gaza War in January of 2009. Israel's invasion of the Gaza Strip and the high Palestinian casualty toll sparked outrage and demonstrations around the world. At least 1,300 Palestinians were killed and hundreds of homes destroyed in the 22-day Israeli invasion of Gaza.

As Israel commemorates the Holocaust, a new study shows a surge in anti-Semitism.

An Israeli report shows that 2009 had the most anti-Semitic acts since monitoring of such incidents began 20 years ago. According to the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism, the number of violent incidents totaled 1,129 last year compared to 559 in 2008.

The study was published on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, a memorial for the six-million Jews killed by the Nazis during World War II.

The report attributed the surge in anti-Semitic acts to the Gaza War in January of 2009. Israel's invasion of the Gaza Strip and the high Palestinian casualty toll sparked outrage and demonstrations around the world.

At least 1,300 Palestinians were killed and hundreds of homes destroyed in the 22-day Israeli invasion of Gaza.

Robert Wistrich is a professor of European and Jewish History at Hebrew University here in Jerusalem. He says the new form of anti-Semitism is anti-Zionism.

"All kinds of new pretexts can serve to ignite anti-Semitism, particularly through anti-Israel feeling, through anti-Zionism; and above all it is Israel that has become the obsession of the anti-Semites," Wistrich said.

The report said that Muslim and left-wing activists have joined forces to demonize Israel on college campuses in the United States and Europe.

"One of the extraordinary paradoxes is that the very places of learning where you expect to educate, to enlighten, in many cases they have become a kind of fountain for anti-Semitism, wrapped up of course in their anti-Israel human-rights rhetoric," Wistrich said.

The study found the highest number of violent anti-Semitic incidents was in Britain, which was followed by France. There were 374 incidents in Britain in 2009, more than triple the number in 2008.

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