Antisemitism in Europe
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Part of Jewish history
Antisemitism (prejudice, hatred of, or discrimination against Jews for reasons connected to their Jewish heritage), has experienced a long history of expression since the days of ancient civilizations, with most of it having originated in the Christian and pre-Christian civilizations of Europe.
While it has been cited as having been expressed in the intellectual and political centers of ancient Greece and the Roman Empire, the phenomenon received greater institutionalization within European Christianity following the dissolution of the ancient Jewish center of power in Jerusalem, resulting at times in the forced segregation of Jewish populations residing in various parts of the continent and restrictions on their participation in the public life of European society.
In the 20th century, anti-Semitism during the reign of fascist regimes such as Nazi Germany resulted in the death and dislocation of the majority of Europe's Jewish population.
In the post-Cold War era, a New antisemitism in Europe has coalesced. The new anti-Semitism emanates from the far-right, the political left, and a growing Muslim population within European nations. A statistical analysis shows that 150 million people across Europe have "serious anti-Semitic" or "demonic view of Israel".
- 1 In the Roman Empire
- 2 In the Middle Ages
- 3 In Europe in the new era
- 4 Modern and the racial antisemitism
- 5 The Holocaust
- 6 After 1945
- 7 In the 21st century
- 8 By country
- 8.1 Armenia
- 8.2 Austria
- 8.3 Belgium
- 8.4 Denmark
- 8.5 Estonia
- 8.6 France
- 8.7 Germany
- 8.8 Greece
- 8.9 Hungary
- 8.10 Italy
- 8.11 Latvia
- 8.12 Netherlands
- 8.13 Norway
- 8.14 Poland
- 8.15 Russia and the Soviet Union
- 8.16 Slovenia
- 8.17 Spain
- 8.18 Sweden
- 8.19 Switzerland
- 8.20 Ukraine
- 8.21 United Kingdom
- 9 See also
- 10 References
In the Roman Empire
In the Middle Ages
Antisemitism in Europe in the Middle Ages was largely influenced by the Christian belief that the Jewish people were collectively responsible for the death of Jesus, through the so-called blood curse of Pontius Pilate in the Gospels.
On many occasions, Jews were also accused of the ritual murder of Christian children in what were called blood libels. The first known blood libel was the story of William of Norwich (d. 1144) whose murder sparked accusations of ritual murder and torture by the local Jews.
Another aspect of medieval anti-Semitism was the many restrictions imposed on the Jews. As such, Jews were excluded from many occupations because of the fear of competition with the local population. The Jews were limited to settle in specific parts of the cities known as ghettos and were forbidden to own land. Jews were also ordered to wear distinguished clothing or signs (such as badges) since the 1215 Fourth Lateran Council. Some Jews managed to avoid this by bribing the local authorities.
Another cause for the persecution of Jews was the Black Death which devastated Europe in the 14th century. Jews were scapegoated for the plague and accused of poisoning the wells. As a result, many Jewish communities in western Europe were destroyed in a wave of violence. in 1348 and in 1349 the same fate came to the Jews of Strasbourg.
Persecutions against Jews were widespread during the Crusades when a number of communities, especially on the Rhine and the Danube, were massacred. In other places such as England (1290) and France (1396) the Jews were expelled. The greatest expulsion of Jews was in Spain (1492) and Portugal (1496) where Jews were ordered to convert to Christianity or to leave the country within a couple of days.
In Europe in the new era
The Renaissance, Enlightenment and imperialist eras led to a series of increasingly xenophobic and non-religious expressions of anti-Semitic phobias and outrages in the continent, even as much of the continent had experienced significant political reformations. By the time that a number of republican and other non-monarchical systems were established, romantic ethnic nationalism, xenophobic Orientalism,
In western Europe Jews were largely limited by the local monarchs especially as a consequence of the growing fear of competition with the local merchants due to the fact that the main occupation of Jews was commerce and banking. Notable examples are the limitation of the number of Jews allowed to settle in Breslau issued by Frederick II of Prussia in 1744, and the banishment of Jews from Bohemia by the archduchess of Austria Maria Theresa, who later also stated that Jews had to pay for their staying in the country.
With the development of the banking system and the need of rulers for financing their growing state apparatus the term "court jew' was issued in some western Europe states. The court jews were businessmen and bankers who received privileges from the sovereign and acted as their treasurers and tax collectors.
In many cases the court Jews obtained significant power as the "right hand" of the sovereign, in other cases the court Jews were blamed in the financial problems of the states or when the sovereign lost his power. One notable court Jew was Joseph Süß Oppenheimer, (1698 –1738) the financial planner for Duke Karl Alexander of Württemberg in Stuttgart. Oppenheimer was executed after the death of the Duke and his story was used later on by the Nazi propaganda.
Most of Europe's Jewish population was concentrated in central and eastern Europe within the borders of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Jews of Poland had been granted an unprecedented degree of religious and cultural autonomy since the Statute of Kalisz in 1264, which was ratified by subsequent Kings of Poland and the Commonwealth. Nevertheless the Cossack uprising of Bohdan Khmelnytsky in Polish-controlled Ukraine (1648) devastated many Jewish communities and approximately 200,000 Jews were massacred, expelled or sold as slaves by Khmelnytsky's Tartar allies.
Following the Partitions of Poland by Russia, Prussia and Austria at the end of the 18th century, most Polish Jews found themselves under Russian rule. In order to restrict the Jews from spreading throughout the Russian Empire and to protect Russian merchants from competition, the Pale of Settlement was established in 1772 by the empress of Russia Catherine II, restricting Jews to the western parts of the empire with the exception of number of Jews who received permission to live in major cities, such as Kiev and Moscow.
Modern and the racial antisemitism
In the end of the 19th century a new type of antisemitism had begun to develop in Europe- the racial antisemitism which developed as part of the development of the nationalism and the effects of the industrial revolution. The main idea of the racial antisemitism, as presented by racial theorists such as Joseph Arthur de Gobineau, is that the Jews are a distinct and inferior race compared to the European nations. The emphasis was on the Non-European origin and culture of the Jews, meaning they were beyond redemption even if Jews converted to Christianity. Therefore, the modern antisemitism emphasized the hatred of the Jews as a race and not only the Jewish religion.
Another part of the modern antisemitism in Europe was the conspiracy theory of Jewish world economic domination as presented in the antisemitic hoax "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" which was first published in Russia in 1903. This theory was strengthened by the leading part Jews, like the Rothschild family had played in the European banking system.
The rise of modern antisemitism together with the rise of nationalism and the nation state had brought a wave of antisemitism as Jews struggled to gain their rights as equal citizens. In Germany this brought up the Hep-Hep riots in 1819 when the Jews of Bavaria were attacked for claiming their civilian rights.
One of the most famous incidents of the 19th century was the Dreyfus affair, when a French officer of Jewish origin, Alfred Dreyfus, was accused in high treason. The trial had sparked a wave of antisemitism in France, and eventually Dreyfus was found innocent of the charges in 1906. The affair greatly inspired Theodor Herzl.
Nevertheless, in eastern Europe religious antisemitism remained at large due to the fact that the industrial revolution less affected those areas. During the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century a number of pogrom had occurred in Russia, sparked by various variables such as antisemitic political movements, the murder of the Tsar Alexander ii in 1882 and blood labels about Jews killing Christian children. The most famous blood label was the Beilis Trial that took place in Kiev in 1903 when a local Jew was found innocent from the accusations of killing a Christian boy.
The pogroms in 1881 and after the first Russian revolution of 1905 caused thousands of Jewish lives and more than 1 million immigrated to America. The Russian revolution of 1917 and the civil war that came afterwards sparked a new wave of pogroms against the Jews as nationalist militias and regular armies fought over the control of the country. The casualties from the pogroms were estimated in tens of thousands dead.
The Holocaust was the most significant event in the modern Jewish and world history and one of the most vast genocides humanity had ever known with 6 million Jews murdered by the Nazis, approximately 2/3 of all European Jews.
By the early 20th century, the Jews in Germany were the most integrated in Europe. The situation changed in the early 1930s after the German loss in World War I and the economic crisis of 1929 which resulted with the rise of the Nazis and their explicitly anti-Semitic program. Hate speech which referred to Jewish citizens as "dirty Jews" became common in anti-Semitic pamphlets and newspapers such as the Völkischer Beobachter and Der Stürmer. Additionally, blame was laid on Jews for having caused Germany's defeat in World War I (see Dolchstosslegende).
Anti-Jewish propaganda expanded rapidly. Nazi cartoons depicting "dirty Jews" frequently portrayed a dirty, physically unattractive and badly dressed "talmudic" Jew in traditional religious garments similar to those worn by Hasidic Jews. Articles attacking Jews, while concentrating on commercial and political activities of prominent Jewish individuals, also frequently attacked them based on religious dogmas, such as blood libel.
The Nazi antisemitic program quickly expanded beyond mere speech. Starting in 1933, repressive laws were passed against Jews, culminating in the Nuremberg Laws which removed most of the rights of citizenship from Jews, using a racial definition based on descent, rather than any religious definition of who was a Jew. Sporadic violence against the Jews became widespread with the Kristallnacht riots, which targeted Jewish homes, businesses and places of worship, killing hundreds across Germany and Austria.
With the Nazi invasion to Poland in 1939 and the beginning of World War ii the Nazis began the final solution of the Jews in Europe. The Jews were concentrated in ghettos and later sent to concentration and death camps where they were murdered. In the occupied territories of the USSR Jews were murdered in mass numbers by death squads with the help of local population. This practice was later replaced by gassing the Jews in the death camps, the largest of them was Auschwitz.
With the end of World War II in 1945, the surviving Jews began to return to their homes although many chose to emigrate to the United States, Great Britain, and British-controlled Palestine. In many ways, the antisemitism of the Nazi regime was continued in different guises. Claims of blood libel and persecution of Jews continued, in part due to fear that the returning Jews would attempt to reclaim property stolen during the Holocaust or expose the true nature of the assistance given by the local population in the previously Nazi-occupied territories. One culminating example was the Kielce pogrom, which occurred in 1946 in Poland when citizens violently attacked Jews based on a false accusation of the kidnapping of a Christian child.
The postwar period also witnessed a rise in antisemitic feeling in the USSR. In 1948, Stalin launched the campaign against the "rootless cosmopolitan" in which numerous Yiddish-language poets, writers, painters and sculptors were killed or arrested. Also, in the Doctors' Plot issued between 1952 and 1953, a number of Jewish doctors were arrested and accused of attempting to murder leading party leaders. There were also assumptions, made by modern historians such as Edvard Radzinsky, that Stalin planned to deport the Jewish population of the USSR to exile in Kazakhstan or Siberia.
After the foundation of Israel and the escalation of the Israeli-Arab conflict, a new kind of antisemitism began to emerge in Europe as a part of the anti-imperialist struggle of the extreme left. The criticism against Israel as a conquering imperial power and the solidarity between the extreme left and the Palestinian struggle led to a perceived connection between European Jews and Zionism. In some cases, this connection resulted in attacks on the Jewish communities in Western Europe. One example is the German leftist terrorist group "Revolutionary Cells" whose members participated in hijacking the Air France Flight 139 in 1976 (Operation Entebbe) as well as the planned assassination of the head of the German Jewish community, Heinz Galinski and famous Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal. During those years, the antisemitic attacks from various neo-Nazi groups and the flourishing of antisemitic conspiracy theories continued throughout western Europe.
In the 21st century
Antisemitism has increased significantly in Europe since 2000, with significant increases in verbal attacks against Jews and vandalism such as graffiti, fire bombings of Jewish schools, desecration of synagogues and cemeteries. Those incidents took place not only in France and Germany, where antisemitic incidents are the highest in Europe but also in countries like Belgium, Austria, and the United Kingdom. In those countries, physical assaults against Jews including beatings, stabbings and other violence, increased markedly, in a number of cases resulting in serious injury and even death. Moreover, the Netherlands and Sweden have also had consistently high rates of antisemitic attacks since 2000.
This rise in antisemitic attacks is associated on the one hand with the Muslim anti-Semitism (described below) and on the other hand with the rise of far-right political parties as a result of the economic crisis of 2008. The number of anti-Semitic political parties in European parliaments rose from 1 to 3 during 2012 and a survey in 10 European countries revealed high levels of anti-Semitic attitudes. In June, Greece's neo-Nazi party, Golden Dawn, won 21 seats in parliament. In November, the radical Svoboda (Freedom) party of Ukraine captured more than 10% of the popular vote, giving electoral support to a party well known for its anti-Semitic rhetoric. They joined the ranks of Jobbik, an openly anti-Semitic party, in the Hungarian parliament. This rise in the support for far right ideas in western and eastern Europe has resulted in the increase of antisemitic acts, mostly attacks on Jewish memorials, synagogues and cemeteries but also a number of physical attacks against Jews.
In Eastern Europe anti-Semitism in the 21st century continued in a similar scale of the 1990s. The dissolution of the Soviet Union and the instability of the new states has brought the rise of nationalist movements and the accusation against Jews for the economic crisis, taking over the local economy and bribing the government alongside with traditional and religious motives for antisemitism (blood libels for example). Most of the antisemitic incidents are against Jewish cemeteries and building (community centers and synagogues). Nevertheless there were several violent attacks against Jews in Moscow in 2006 when a neo-Nazi stabbed 9 people at the Bolshaya Bronnaya Synagogue, the failed bomb attack on the same synagogue in 1999, the threats against Jewish pilgrims in Uman, Ukraine and the attack against a menorah by extremist Christian organization in Moldova in 2009.
Europeans are concerned about anti-Semitism because, historically, societies with a large degree of anti-Semitism are self-destructive. Furthermore, the Jews of Europe have generally aligned themselves with Europe's democratic elite, a class whose future is uncertain according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. This is one reason why First Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans said that the issue of European anti-Semitism was more important than many economic, financial, and market issues facing Europe.
Anti-Semitism within Europe's Muslim population
The failure of assimilation of Muslim immigrants communities in Europe together with economic and social problems and the spread of fundamentalist ideas among the Muslim youth in Europe has led to radicalization inside the Muslim communities and especially among the youth. This, together with the escalation of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict and the failure of the Oslo peace process, the Jews in Europe were more and more perceived as promoters and favorers of pro-Israeli ideas. Thus, the line that exists between antisemitism and anti-Zionism sometimes became blurry.
A number of studies conducted among the Muslim youth in various western European countries have showed that Muslim children have far more anti-Semitic ideas than Christian children- in 2011 Mark Elchardus, a Belgian sociologist, published a report on Dutch-language elementary schools in Brussels. He found that about 50 percent of Muslim students in second and third grade could be considered anti-Semites, versus 10% of others. In the same year Unther Jikeli published his findings from the 117 interviews he conducted with Muslim male youngsters (average age 19) in Berlin, Paris and London.. The majority of the interviewees voiced some, or strong anti-Semitic feelings. They expressed them openly and often aggressively.
A large number of violent antisemitic attacks in Europe were done by Muslims- the murder of 4 Jews in Toulouse in 2012 by Mohammed Merah, the 1982 attack on the Jewish Goldenberg restaurant in Paris that was carried out by Arab terrorists, the kidnapping and murder of the French citizen Ilan Halimi in 2006 by a Muslim gang and the antisemitic riots in Norway in 2009 are a few examples to this phenomenon.
Eastern Europe was less affected by the rise of Islamic antisemitism because of much smaller numbers of Muslims living in the area. Nevertheless, in areas and countries populated by Muslims, such as the Caucuses there had been an increase in antisemitism as a result of the Israeli-Arab conflict such as the attempt to assassinate a Jewish teacher in Baku in 2012.
Public opinion polls
The summary of a 2004 poll by the "Pew Global Attitudes Project" noted, "Despite concerns about rising antisemitism in Europe, there are no indications that anti-Jewish sentiment has increased over the past decade. Favorable ratings of Jews are actually higher now in France, Germany and Russia than they were in 1991. Nonetheless, Jews are better liked in the U.S. than in Germany and Russia."
According to 2005 survey results by the Anti-Defamation League, antisemitic attitudes remain common in Europe. Over 30% of those surveyed indicated that Jews have too much power in business, with responses ranging from lows of 11% in Denmark and 14% in England to highs of 66% in Hungary, and over 40% in Poland and Spain. The results of religious antisemitism also linger and over 20% of European respondents agreed that Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus, with France having the lowest percentage at 13% and Poland having the highest number of those agreeing, at 39%.
According to a poll conducted by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in 2012, anti-Semitic attitudes in ten European countries remain at "disturbingly high levels", peaking in Eastern Europe and Spain, with large swaths of the population subscribing to classical anti-Semitic notions such as Jews having too much power in business, being more loyal to Israel than their own country, or "talking too much" about what happened during the Holocaust. In comparison with a similar ADL poll conducted in 2009, several of the countries showed high levels in the overall level of anti-Semitism, while other countries experienced more modest increases:
- Austria: Experienced a slight decrease to 28 percent from 30 percent in 2009.
- France: The overall level of antisemitism increased to 24 percent of the population, up from to 20 percent in 2009.
- Germany: antisemitism increased by one percentage point, to 21 percent of the population.
- Hungary: The level rose to 63 percent of the population, compared with 47 percent in 2009.
- Poland: The number remained unchanged, with 48 percent of the population showing deep-seated antisemitic attitudes.
- Spain: Fifty-three percent (53%) percent of the population, compared to 48 percent in 2009.
- United Kingdom: antisemitic attitudes jumped to 17 percent of the population, compared to 10 percent in 2009.
A 2006 study in the Journal of Conflict Resolution found that although almost no respondents in countries of the European Union regarded themselves as antisemitic, antisemitic attitudes correlated with anti-Israel opinions. Looking at populations in 10 European countries, Charles A. Small and Edward H. Kaplan surveyed 5,000 respondents, asking them about Israeli actions and classical anti-Semitic stereotypes. The surveys asked questions about whether people thought that the IDF purposely targets children or puts poisons the Palestinian water supplies.
The study found that "people who believed the anti-Israel mythologies also tended to believe that Jews are not honest in business, have dual loyalties, control government and the economy, and the like." The study found, anti-Israel respondents were 56% more likely to be anti-Semitic than the average European.
Antisemitism in Armenia has primarily resulted from Israel's reluctance to recognize the Armenian Genocide due to its close ties with Turkey, a subject which many Armenians believe Jews and Israel should relate and be sympathetic to, since both share a similar national history and fate. Excluding the aforementioned, Armenian and Jews relations have historically been benevolent, respectful, and at times, competitive/rivaling.
In April 1998, Igor Muradyan, a famous Armenian political analyst and economist, published an antisemitic article in one of Armenia's leading newspapers Voice of Armenia. Muradyan claimed that the history of Armenian-Jewish relations has been filled with "Aryans vs. Semites" conflict manifestations. He accused Jews of inciting ethnic conflicts, including the dispute over Nagorno-Karabagh and demonstrated concern for Armenia's safety in light of Israel's good relations with Turkey.
In 2002, a book entitled National System (written by Romen Yepiskoposyan in Armenian and Russian) was printed and presented at the Union of Writers of Armenia. In that book, Jews (along with Turks) are identified as number-one enemies of Armenians and are described as "the nation-destroyer with a mission of destruction and decomposition." A section in the book entitled The Greatest Falsification of the 20th Century denies the Holocaust, claiming that it is a myth created by Zionists to discredit "Aryans": "The greatest falsification in human history is the myth of Holocaust.... no one was killed in gas chambers. There were no gas chambers." A speaker at the event also suggested the book should be distributed in schools in order to "develop a national idea and understanding of history." The event was marked with public accusations that Jews were responsible for the Armenian Genocide.
Similar accusations were voiced by Armen Avetissian, the leader of the nationalist Armenian Aryan Order (AAO), on 11 February 2002, when he also called for the Israeli ambassador Rivka Kohen to be declared persona non grata in Armenia for Israel's refusal to give the Armenian massacres of 1915 equal status with the Holocaust. In addition, he asserted that the number of victims of the Holocaust has been overstated.
In 2004, Armen Avetissian expressed extremist remarks against Jews in several issues of the AAO run The Armeno-Aryan newspaper, as well as during a number of meetings and press conferences. As a result, his party was excluded from the Armenian Nationalist Front.
Shortly after, during a prime time talk show, the leader of the People's Party of Armenia and the owner of ALM television channel, Tigran Karapetyan, accused Jews of assisting Ottoman authorities in the 1915 Armenian Genocide. His interviewee, Armen Avetissian stated that "the Armenian Aryans intend to fight against the Jewish-Masonic aggression and will do what it takes to repress evil in its own nest." Speaking about Armenia's Jewish community Avetissian said that it consists of "700 of those who identify themselves as Jews and 50,000 of those whom the Aryans will soon reveal while cleansing the country of Jewish evil." The Jewish Council of Armenia addressed its concerns to the government and various human rights organizations demanding to stop promoting ethnic hatred and to ban ALM. However these demands were mostly disregarded.
On 23 October 2004, head of the Department for Ethnic and Religious Minority Issues, Hranoush Kharatyan, publicly commented on so-called "Judaist" xenophobia in Armenia. She said: "Why are we not responding to the fact that on their Friday gatherings, Judaists continue to advocate hatred towards all non-Judaists as far as comparing the latter to cattle and propagating spitting on them?" Kharatyan also accused local Jews of calling for "anti-Christian actions."
The Jewish Council of Armenia sent an open letter to President Robert Kocharian expressing its deep concern with the recent rise of antisemitism. Armen Avetissian responded to this by publishing yet another antisemitic article in the Iravunq newspaper, where he stated: "Any country that has a Jewish minority is under big threat in terms of stability." Later while meeting with Chairman of the National Assembly of Armenia Artur Baghdasarian, head of the Jewish Council of Armenia Rimma Varzhapetian insisted that the government took steps to prevent further acts of antisemitism. Avetissian was arrested on 24 January 2005. Several prominent academic figures, such as Levon Ananyan (the head of the Writers union of Armenia) and composer Ruben Hakhverdian supported Avetissian and called upon the authorities to release him. In their demands to release him they were joined by opposition deputies and ombudsman Larisa Alaverdyan as the authorities had arrested him for political speech.
In September 2006, while criticizing the American Global Gold corporation, Armenian Minister of Nature Protection Vardan Ayvazyan said during a press-conference: "Do you know who you are defending? You are defending kikes! Go over their [company headquarters] and find out who is behind this company and if we should let them come here!" After Rimma Varzhapetian's protests, Aivazian claimed he didn't mean to offend Jews, and that such criticism was intended strictly for the Global Gold company.
Recent vandalism by unknown individuals on Jewish Holocaust Memorial in central Yerevan was witnessed in one of the central parks of Armenian capital on 23 December 2007. A Nazi swastika symbol was scratched and black paint was splattered on the simple stone. After notifying the local police, Rabbi Gershon Burshtein, a Chabad emissary who serves as Chief Rabbi of the country's tiny Jewish community said "I just visited the memorial the other day and everything was fine. This is terrible, as there are excellent relations between Jews and Armenians." The monument has been defaced and toppled several times in the past few years. It is located in the city's Aragast Park, a few blocks north of the centrally located Republic Square, which is home to a number of government buildings.
Evidences for the presence of Jewish communities in the geographical area today covered by Austria can be traced back to the 12th century. In 1848 Jews were granted civil rights and the right to establish an autonomous religious community, but full citizenship rights were given only in 1867. In an atmosphere of economic, religious and social freedom, the Jewish population grew from 6,000 in 1860 to almost 185,000 in 1938. In March 1938, Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany and thousands of Austrians and Austrian Jews who opposed Nazi rule were sent to concentration camps. Of the 65,000 Viennese Jews deported to concentration camps, only about 2,000 survived, while around 800 survived World War II in hiding.
Antisemitism did not cease to exist in the aftermath of World War II and continued to be part of Austrian political life and culture with its strongest hold in the political parties and the media. Bernd Marin, an Austrian sociologist, has characterized antisemitism in Austria after 1945 as an ‘antisemitism without Jews’, since Jews constituted only 0.1 percent of the Austrian population. Antisemitism was stronger in those areas where Jews no longer lived and where previously practically no Jews had lived, and among people who neither have had nor have any personal contact with Jews.
Since post-war prejudice against Jews has been publicly forbidden and tabooed, antisemitism was actually 'antisemitism without antisemites', but different expressions to it were to be found in the Austrian polities. During the 80', the taboo against open expressions of explicitly antisemitic beliefs has remained, but the means of circumventing it linguistically have extended its boundaries in such a way that the taboo itself appears to have lost some of its significance. Anti-Jewish prejudices which had remained hidden began to surface and were increasingly found in public settings. Thus, verbal antisemitism was rarely expressed directly, but rather used coded expressions, which reflected one of the country's major characteristics - ambivalence and ambiguity toward its past.
Today the Jewish community of Austria consists of about 8,000 persons.
Contemporary antisemitism was reported from Serfaus during 2009 and 2010. Several hotels and apartments in the renown holiday resort have confirmed a policy of not allowing Jews on their premises. Bookings are tried to be detected in advance based on a racial profiling, and are denied to possible orthodox Jews.
Over a hundred antisemitic attacks were recorded in Belgium in 2009, a 100% increase from the year before. The perpetrators were usually young males of immigrant Muslim background from the Middle East. In 2009, the Belgian city of Antwerp, often referred to as Europe's last shtetl, experienced a surge in antisemitic violence. Bloeme Evers-Emden, an Amsterdam resident and Auschwitz survivor, was quoted in the newspaper Aftenposten in 2010: "The antisemitism now is even worse than before the Holocaust. The antisemitism has become more violent. Now they are threatening to kill us."
The behavior prompted by the 2012 local elections in the municipality of Schaarbeek impelled the president of the Coordination Committee of Jewish Organizations in Belgium, Maurice Sosnowski, to observe that "'candidates who belonged to the Jewish community were attacked for their affiliation' and the municipality saw a 'hate campaign under the pretext of anti-Zionism.'" Several other incidents occurred in 2012- in November Demonstrators at an anti-Israel rally in Antwerp rally chanted “Hamas, Hamas, all Jews to the gas." In October A synagogue in Brussels was vandalized by two unidentified male perpetrators who spray-painted “death to the Jews” and “boom” on the wall.
On May 24 (2014), four people were killed in a shooting outside of the Jewish Museum in Brussels in an anti-Semitic attack. The victims were an Israeli Jewish couple who visited the museum, a French volunteer in the museum and the museum's receptionist. Belgium launched a nationwide manhunt for the lone suspect in the shooting attack who fled the scene.
Antisemitism in Denmark has not been as widespread as in other countries. Initially Jews were banned as in other countries in Europe, but beginning in the 17th century, Jews were allowed to live in Denmark freely, unlike in other European countries where they were forced to live in ghettos.
In 1813, Denmark had gone bankrupt and people were looking for a scapegoat. A German antisemitic book, translated into Danish, provoked a flood of polemical articles both for and against the Jews.
In 1819 a series of anti-Jewish riots in Germany spread to several neighboring countries including Denmark, resulting in mob attacks on Jews in Copenhagen and many provincial towns. These riots were known as Hep! Hep! Riots, from the derogatory rallying cry against the Jews in Germany. Riots lasted for five months during which time shop windows were smashed, stores looted, homes attacked, and Jews physically abused.
However, during World War II, Denmark was very uncooperative with the Nazi occupation on Jewish matters. Danish officials repeatedly insisted to the German occupation authorities that there was no "Jewish problem" in Denmark. As a result, even ideologically committed Nazis such as Reich Commissioner Werner Best followed a strategy of avoiding and deferring discussion of Denmark's Jews. When Denmark's German occupiers began planning the deportation of the 8,000 or so Jews in Denmark to Nazi concentration camps, many Danes and Swedes took part in a collective effort to evacuate the roughly 8,000 Jews of Denmark by sea to nearby Sweden (see also Rescue of the Danish Jews).
2011, 2012, and 2013 averaged around 43 antisemitic incidents a year, that included Assault and physical harassment, threats, Antisemitic utterances and vandalism. In July 2014, during the Gaza War, there was an increase in antisemitic rhetoric as death threats were expressed against Jews in Denmark. In August 2014, the "Carolineskolen", a Jewish school, kindergarten and daycare complex in Copenhagen was vandalized, some windows were smashed and graffiti was sprayed on the school walls which referred to the ongoing conflict between the Israeli military and the militant group Hamas.
21st century trends
Despite the fact that a large majority of French people have favorable attitudes towards Jews, acts of anti-Jewish violence, property destruction, and racist language are a serious cause for concern. According to French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, “We have the old anti-Semitism ... that comes from the extreme right, but [a] new anti-Semitism comes from the difficult neighborhoods, from immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa.” The most intense acts of antisemitism are perpetrated by Muslims of Arab or African heritage. Before the attack on Charlie Hebdo and a kosher market in Paris, much of the French population appeared to stand idly by as the anti-Semitic attacks increased.
According to a 2006 poll by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, 71% of French Muslims have positive views of Jews, the highest percentage in the world. According to the National Advisory Committee on Human Rights, antisemitic acts account for a majority— 72% in all in 2003— of racist acts in France. 40% of racist violence perpetrated in France in 2013 targeted the Jewish minority, despite the fact that Jews represent less than 1% of the French population.
With the start of the Second Intifada, antisemitic incidents increased in France. In 2002, the Commission nationale consultative des droits de l'homme (Human Rights Commission) reported six times more antisemitic incidents than in 2001 (193 incidents in 2002). The commission's statistics showed that antisemitic acts constituted 62% of all racist acts in the country (compared to 45% in 2001 and 80% in 2000). The report documented 313 violent acts against people or property, including 38 injuries and the murder of someone with Maghrebin origins by far right skinheads.
About 7,000 French Jews moved to Israel in 2014. This was 1% of the entire French Jewish population and a record number since World War II. Conversations within the European Jewish community indicate that antisemitic attacks in France are the impetus for the high emigration figures. Valls expressed his concern about the trend: "If 100,000 French people of Spanish origin were to leave, I would never say that France is not France anymore. But if 100,000 Jews leave, France will no longer be France. The French Republic will be judged a failure."
21st century incidents
Ilan Halimi (1982 - 13 February 2006) was a young French Jew (of Moroccan parentage) kidnapped on 21 January 2006 by a group of youth called the Gang of Barbarians and subsequently tortured to death over a period of three weeks. The murder, amongst whose motives authorities include anti-Semitism, incited a public outcry in a France already marked by intense public controversy about the role of children of immigrants in its society.
On 19 March 2012, Mohammed Merah shot and killed three Jewish children and a rabbi at the Ozar Hatorah School in Toulouse, France. He was later killed during a raid by the French police on his house. Merah was also inspired by al-Qaeda. Following the murders, the Ozar Hatorah school was targeted by anti-Semitic hate mail and calls.
In July 2012, a French Jewish teenager wearing a "distinctive religious symbol" was the victim of a violent antisemitic attack on a train travelling between Toulouse and Lyon. The teen was first verbally harassed and later beaten up by two assailants. The French Jewish umbrella group, CRIF, called the attack “another development in the worrying trend of antisemitism in our country.”
Another incident in July 2012 dealt with the vandalism of the synagogue of Noisy-le-Grand of the Seine-Saint-Denis district in Paris. The synagogue was vandalized three times in a ten-day period. Prayer books and shawls were thrown on the floor, windows were shattered, drawers were ransacked, and vandalized the walls, tables, clocks, and floors. The authorities were alerted of the incidents by the Bureau National de Vigilance Contr L’Antisemtisme (BNVCA), a French antisemitism watchdog group, which called for more measures to be taken to prevent future hate crimes. BNVCA President Sammy Ghozlan stated that, "Despite the measures taken, things persist, and I think that we need additional legislation, because the Jewish community is annoyed."
In June 2014, Following the threats facing Jews in France, particularly arising from French-born jihadists returning after fighting in the civil war in Syria, French President Francois Hollande met with an international delegation of Jewish leaders. The French president outlined steps that have been taken to protect the Jewish community, especially Jewish schools, from attacks and growing anti-Semitism. He was quoted saying that: “We would like to set an example to the world in fighting anti-Semitism,” he said, but conceded the current situation — following a murderous attack by a French-born terrorist in Belgium — bespoke a “new, heavy context.”
In July 2014, dozens of young men protesting Israel's actions in Gaza (following the Protective Edge military operation) briefly besieged a Paris synagogue and clashed with security. At least three Jews were taken to the hospital as a result of the clashes that erupted between the protesters and young Jewish men who guarded the Don Isaac Abravanel Synagogue in Paris, a witness told JTA. The attackers splintered off an anti-Israel demonstration and advanced toward the synagogue when it was full. When the demonstrators arrived at the central Paris synagogue, the five police officers on guard blocked the entrance as the protesters chanted antisemitic slogans and hurled objects at the synagogue and the guards. Nearly 200 congregants were inside. The mob was kept away by men from the SPCJ Jewish security unit, the Jewish Defense League and Beitar, who engaged the attackers in what turned into a street brawl. Later, after rioters failed to burn the synagogue down, they instead burned cars and destroyed Jewish-owned properties in the a largely Jewish area of Sarcelles.
In December 2014, armed assailants broke into a suburban Paris residence of a Jewish couple, raped the woman while her husband was kept at bay, and robbed the couple. According to a friend of the victims, one of the assailants said the woman during the robbery "Tell us where you hide the money. You Jews always have money." Prime Minister of France Manuel Valls condemned the attack as vile and said that it demonstrated that the fight against antisemitism is a daily struggle. Valls also expressed support for the victims' families. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in a statement that the "antisemitic nature of the attack seems proven," saying that the assailants "started with the idea that being Jewish means having money."
In January 2015, a friend of the perpetrators of the Charlie Hebdo shooting, attacked a kosher market in a Jewish area of Paris and took those inside as hostages. He killed four hostages. The CRIF responded, "These French citizens were struck down in a cold-blooded manner and mercilessly because they were Jews.”
From the early Middle Ages to the 18th century, the Jewish settlers in Germany were subject to many persecutions as well as brief times of tolerance. Though the 19th century began with a series of riots and pogroms against the Jews, emancipation followed in 1848, so that, by the early 20th century, the Jews in Germany were the most integrated in Europe. The situation changed in the early 1930s with the rise of the Nazis and their explicitly antisemitic program. Hate speech which referred to Jewish citizens as "dirty Jews" became common in antisemitic pamphlets and newspapers such as the Völkischer Beobachter and Der Stürmer. Additionally, blame was laid on Jews for having caused Germany's defeat in World War I (see Dolchstosslegende).
Anti-Jewish propaganda expanded rapidly. Nazi cartoons depicting "dirty Jews" frequently portrayed a dirty, physically unattractive and badly dressed "talmudic" Jew in traditional religious garments similar to those worn by Hasidic Jews. Articles attacking Jews, while concentrating on commercial and political activities of prominent Jewish individuals, also frequently attacked them based on religious dogmas, such as blood libel.
The Nazi antisemitic program quickly expanded beyond mere speech. Starting in 1933, repressive laws were passed against Jews, culminating in the Nuremberg Laws which removed most of the rights of citizenship from Jews, using a racial definition based on descent, rather than any religious definition of who was a Jew. Sporadic violence against the Jews became widespread with the Kristallnacht riots, which targeted Jewish homes, businesses and places of worship, killing hundreds across Germany and Austria. The antisemitic agenda culminated in the genocide of the Jews of Europe, known as the Holocaust.
In 1998, Ignatz Bubis said that Jews could not live freely in Germany. In 2002, the historian Julius Schoeps said that "resolutions by the German parliament to reject antisemitism are drivel of the worst kind" and "all those ineffective actions are presented to the world as a strong defense against the charge of antisemitism. The truth is: no one is really interested in these matters. No one really cares."
In 2014, anti-Semitic activities in Germany prompted German Chancellor Angela Merkel led a rally in Berlin against anti-Semitism in Germany. In that same year, about 3,500 people rallied in front of the Frankfurt City Hall to protest against a wave of anti-Semitic incidents in Germany. A few hundred of the protesters were from the Kurdish-Israeli Friendship Association. According to the JTA, "Merkel expressed her support for the event in a letter."
The economic crisis in Greece was one of the main factors to the rise in the scope of antisemitic incidents and the rise of Greece's neo-Nazi party, Golden Dawn, which won 21 seats in parliament in 2012.
In recent years a number of events of vandalism has occurred throughout the country - in 2002, 2003 and in 2010, the Holocaust memorial in Thessaloniki was vandalized, in 2009 the Jewish cemetery in Ioannina was attacked several times and in the same year the Jewish cemetery in Athens was also attacked. In 2012 in Rhodes the city's Holocaust monument was spray-painted with swastikas.
Hungary was the first country after Nazi Germany that passed anti-Jewish laws. In 1939, all the Hungarian Jews were registered. In June 1944, Hungarian police deported nearly 440,000 Jews in more than 145 trains, mostly to Auschwitz. Ultimately, over 400,000 Jews in Hungary were killed during the Holocaust. Although Jews were on both sides of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, there was a perceptible antisemitic backlash against Jewish members of the former government led by Mátyás Rákosi.
Today, hatred towards Judaism and Israel can be observed from many prominent Hungarian politicians. The most famous example is the MIÉP party and its Chairman, István Csurka. In 2012, a survey conducted by the Anti-Defamation League found that 63% of the Hungarian population holds anti-Semitic attitudes.
Antisemitism in Hungary is manifested mainly in far right publications and demonstrations. Hungarian Justice and Life Party supporters continued their tradition of shouting antisemitic slogans and tearing the US flag to shreds at their annual rallies in Budapest in March 2003 and 2004, commemorating the 1848–49 revolution. Further, during the demonstrations held to celebrate the anniversary of the 1956 uprising, a post-Communist tradition celebrated by the left and right of the political spectrum, antisemitic and anti-Israel slogans were heard from the right wing, such as accusing Israel of war crimes. The center-right traditionally keeps its distance from the right-wing Csurka-led and other far-right demonstrations.
A 2012 survey by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), of five European countries in regards to antisemitism included Italy. Of those surveyed:
- 23% of Italians harbor strong antisemitic views
- 58% of Italians believe Italian Jews are more loyal to Israel than Italy.
- 40% believe that Jews have too much power in international financial markets, which is also defined as antisemitism by the European Union.
- 29% say Jews don't care about anyone but their own kind.
- 27% of Italians say that Jews are more willing than others to use shady practices to get what they want.
- 43% believe Jews still talk too much about the Holocaust.
On March 15, 2012, Italian police arrested a man who attempted to blow up a synagogue. According to ANSA English:
"police arrested a suspected terrorist who they believe may have been planning an attack on Milan's synagogue.
Police said they found evidence on the man's computer that he has conducted a thorough inspection of Milan's synagogue, with information on the security measures used and the police who guard the building. Investigators added that they had intercepted messages in which the man talked about a "jihad mission". They said he was identified as a suspect terrorist during monitoring of websites that feature forums and publish documents on the 'jihad'.
Two desecrations of Holocaust memorials, in Jelgava and in the Biķernieki Forest, took place in 1993. The delegates of the World Congress of Latvian Jews who came to Biķernieki to commemorate the 46,500 Jews shot there, were shocked by the sight of swastikas and the word Judenfrei daubed on the memorial. Furthermore, Articles of antisemitic content appeared in the Latvian nationalist press. The main topics of these articles were the collaboration of Jews with the Communists in the Soviet period, Jews tarnishing Latvia's good name in the West, and Jewish businessmen striving to control the Latvian economy.
The Netherlands has the second highest incidence of anti-Semitic incidents in the European Union. However, it is difficult to obtain exact figures because the specific groups against whom attacks are made are not specifically identified in police reports, and analyses of police data for anti-Semitism therefore relies on key-word searches, e.g. "Jew" or "Israel". According to Centre for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI), a pro-Israel lobby group in the Netherlands, the number of anti-Semite incidents reported in the whole of the Netherlands was 108 in 2008, 93 in 2009, and 124 in 2010. Some two thirds of this are acts of aggression. There are approximately 52 000 Dutch Jews.
According to the NRC Handelsblad newspaper, the number of anti-Semite incidents in Amsterdam was 14 in 2008 and 30 in 2009. In 2010, Raphaël Evers, an orthodox rabbi in Amsterdam, told the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten that Jews can no longer be safe in the city anymore due to the risk of violent assaults. "We Jews no longer feel at home here in the Netherlands. Many people talk about moving to Israel," he said. In 2013, the Dutch Center for Reports on Discrimination (CIDI) noted that there is more anti-Semitism on the Internet than ever before in its 17-year history.
In september 2013, Dutch politician Robbert Baruch was accused of using "Jews Tricks" in his campaign for the European Parliament  . In September 2014, a hostile rider on a motorized scooter almost hit a Dutch Jew walking down a street in the Hague because he was openly wearing a yarmulke (kippa), while other Muslim passersby called him a “cancer.” In October 2014, a Jewish man was advised by the authorities in the Hague not to host a sukkah at his own home during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot because it would offend Muslims and attract vandalism. He lived in an area of the Hague that currently has a large Islamic population, although it was originally a Jewish neighborhood. The Jewish man was verbally abused when he wore a yarmulke in public.
Jews were prohibited from living or entering Norway by paragraph 2 (known as the Jewish Paragraph in Norway) of the 1814 Constitution, which originally read, "The evangelical-Lutheran religion remains the public religion of the State. Those inhabitants, who confess thereto, are bound to raise their children to the same. Jesuits and monkish orders are not permitted. Jews are still prohibited from entry to the Realm." In 1851 the last sentence was struck out. Monks were permitted in 1897, and Jesuits not before 1956.
The "Jewish Paragraph" was reinstated 13 March 1942 by Vidkun Quisling during Germany's occupation of Norway, but was reversed when Norway was liberated in May 1945. During World War II there were 2,173 Jews in Norway and at least 775 of them were arrested, detained, and/or deported (765 died as a direct result of the Holocaust. After the war and following a legal purge, Quisling was convicted of high treason (including the unlawful change of the Constitution) and shot by a firing squad.
In 2010, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation after one year of research, revealed that anti-semitism was common among Norwegian Muslims. Teachers at schools with large shares of Muslims revealed that Muslim students often "praise or admire Adolf Hitler for his killing of Jews", that "Jew-hate is legitimate within vast groups of Muslim students" and that "Muslims laugh or command [teachers] to stop when trying to educate about the Holocaust".
Additionally that "while some students might protest when some express support for terrorism, none object when students express hate of Jews" and that it says in "the Quran that you shall kill Jews, all true Muslims hate Jews". Most of these students were said to be born and raised in Norway. One Jewish father also told that his child after school had been taken by a Muslim mob (though managed to escape), reportedly "to be taken out to the forest and hung because he was a Jew".
It was revealed in April 2012 that Johan Galtung, a Norwegian sociologist who pioneered the discipline of peace studies and conflict resolution, made anti-Semitic comments during public speeches and lectures. John Galtung is nicknamed "the father of peace studies." Galtung claimed that there was a possible link between the Mossad and Anders Behring Breivik. He also claimed that six Jewish companies control 96% of the media in the United States, a frequent statement made by anti-Semites. Galtung also claimed that 70% of the professors at the 20 most important American universities are Jewish, and recommended that people read the fraudulent anti-Semitic manuscript The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
In 1264, Duke Boleslaus the Pious from Greater Poland legislated a Statute of Kalisz, a charter for Jewish residence and protection, which encouraged money-lending, hoping that Jewish settlement would contribute to the development of the Polish economy. By the 16th century, Poland had become the center for the Jews in Europe and the most tolerant of all European countries regarding the matters of faith, although occasionally Poland also witnessed violent antisemitic incidents.
At the onset of the 17th century, tolerance began to give way to increased antisemitism. Elected to the Polish throne King Sigismund III of the Swedish House of Vasa, a strong supporter of the counter-reformation, began to undermine the principles of the Warsaw Confederation and the religious tolerance in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, revoking and limiting privileges of all non-Catholic faiths. In 1628 he banned publication of Hebrew books, including the Talmud. Acclaimed 20th-century historian Simon Dubnow, in his magnum opus History of the Jews in Poland and Russia, detailed:
- "At the end of the 16th century and thereafter, not one year passed without a blood libel trial against Jews in Poland, trials which always ended with the execution of Jewish victims in a heinous manner...." (ibid., volume 6, chapter 4).
In the 1650s the Swedish invasion of the Commonwealth (The Deluge) and the Chmielnicki Uprising of the Cossacks resulted in vast depopulation of the Commonwealth, as over 30% of the about 10 million population has perished or emigrated. In the related 1648-55 pogroms led by the Ukrainian uprising against Polish nobility (szlachta), during which approximately 100,000 Jews were slaughtered, Polish and Ruthenian peasants often participated in killing Jews (The Jews in Poland, Ken Spiro, 2001). The besieged szlachta, who were also decimated in the territories where the uprising happened, typically abandoned the loyal peasantry, townsfolk, and the Jews renting their land, in violation of "rental" contracts.
In the aftermath of the Deluge and Chmielnicki Uprising, many Jews fled to the less turbulent Netherlands, which had granted the Jews a protective charter in 1619. From then until the Nazi]deportations in 1942, the Netherlands remained a remarkably tolerant haven for Jews in Europe, exceeding the tolerance extant in all other European countries at the time, and becoming one of the few Jewish havens until 19th-century social and political reforms throughout much of Europe. Many Jews also fled to England, open to Jews since the mid-17th century, in which Jews were fundamentally ignored and not typically persecuted. Historian Berel Wein notes:
- "In a reversal of roles that is common in Jewish history, the victorious Poles now vented their wrath upon the hapless Jews of the area, accusing them of collaborating with the Cossack invader!... The Jews, reeling from almost five years of constant hell, abandoned their Polish communities and institutions...." (Triumph of Survival, 1990).
Throughout the 16th to 18th centuries, many of the szlachta mistreated peasantry, townsfolk and Jews. Threat of mob violence was a specter over the Jewish communities in Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth at the time. On one occasion in 1696, a mob threatened to massacre the Jewish community of Posin, Vitebsk. The mob accused the Jews of murdering a Pole. At the last moment, a peasant woman emerged with the victim's clothes and confessed to the murder. One notable example of actual riots against Polish Jews is the rioting of 1716, during which many Jews lost their lives. Later, in 1723, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Gdańsk instigated the massacre of hundreds of Jews.
On the other hand, despite the mentioned incidents, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was a relative haven for Jews when compared to the period of the partitions of Poland and the PLC's destruction in 1795 (see Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union, below).
After an assassination attempt on the life of Alexander III of Russia, in 1880s Russian Imperial forces begun to settle Russian-speaking Lithuanian Jews in Polish-speaking areas. Cultural conflict emerged between the Russian-speaking Jews supported by the Russian Empire, financially and politically, and the Poles.
Anti-Jewish sentiments continued to be present in Poland, even after the country regained its independence. One notable manifestation of these attitudes includes numerus clausus rules imposed, by almost all Polish universities in the 1937. William W. Hagen in his Before the "Final Solution": Toward a Comparative Analysis of Political Anti-Semitism in Interwar Germany and Poland article in Journal of Modern History (July 1996): 1-31, details:
- "In Poland, the semidictatorial government of Piłsudski and his successors, pressured by an increasingly vocal opposition on the radical and fascist right, implemented many anti-Semitic policies tending in a similar direction, while still others were on the official and semiofficial agenda when war descended in 1939.... In the 1930s the realm of official and semiofficial discrimination expanded to encompass limits on Jewish export firms... and, increasingly, on university admission itself. In 1921-22 some 25 percent of Polish university students were Jewish, but in 1938-39 their proportion had fallen to 8 percent."
While there are many examples of Polish support and help for the Jews during World War II and the Holocaust, there are also numerous examples of antisemitic incidents, and the Jewish population was certain of the indifference towards their fate from the Christian Poles. The Polish Institute of National Remembrance identified twenty-four pogroms against Jews during World War II, the most notable occurring at the village of Jedwabne in 1941 (see massacre in Jedwabne).
After the end of World War II the remaining anti-Jewish sentiments were skillfully used at certain moments by Communist party or individual politicians in order to achieve their assumed political goals, which pinnacled in the March 1968 events.
- "Between 1968 and 1971, 12 927 stateless Poles of Jewish nationality (the emigration had automatically deprived them of their Polish citizenship) left the country. Their official destination was Israel. The state had allowed them to go only if they would choose Israel as their destination. Yet in fact only 28% went there. Larger groups were also taken by Sweden, Denmark and the US, smaller amounts of people went to Italy, France, Germany, and Greate Britain."
These sentiments started to diminish only with the collapse of the communist rule in Poland in 1989, which has resulted in a re-examination of events between Jews and indigenous Christian Poles, with a number of incidents, like the massacre at Jedwabne, being discussed openly for the first time. Violent anti-semitism in Poland in the 21st century is marginal compared to elsewhere, but there are very few Jews remaining in Poland. Still, according to recent (7 June 2005) results of research by B'nai Briths Anti-Defamation League, Poland remains among the European countries (with others being Italy, Spain and Germany) with the largest percentages of people holding anti-Semitic views.
Anti-Semites in Poland have been appointed to crucial government and media positions. The former deputy chairman of Poland's state owned TV Network Piotr Farfal is a Polish neo-Nazi, "far-right political activist and a former editor-in-chief of the Polish skinhead magazine Front, which openly supports anti-Semitism." Polands former deputy prime minister and education minister Roman Giertych, who supported Farfals appointment, is also a leader of the far right and antisemitic League of Polish Families.
On 27 May 2006, Michael Schudrich, the chief rabbi of Poland became the victim of an antisemitic attack when he was assaulted in central Warsaw by a 33-year-old Polish neo-Nazi, who confessed to assaulting the Jewish leader with what appeared to be pepper spray. According to the police, the perpetrator had ties to Nazi organizations and a history of soccer-related hooliganism.
Russia and the Soviet Union
The Pale of Settlement was the Western region of Imperial Russia to which Jews were restricted by the Tsarist Ukase of 1792. It consisted of the territories of former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, annexed with the existing numerous Jewish population, and the Crimea (which was later cut out from the Pale). During 1881-1884, 1903–1906 and 1914–1921, waves of antisemitic pogroms swept Russian Jewish communities. At least some pogroms are believed to have been organized or supported by the Russian Okhrana. Although there is no hard evidence for this, the Russian police and army generally displayed indifference to the pogroms, for instance during the three-day First Kishinev pogrom of 1903.
During this period the May Laws policy was also put into effect, banning Jews from rural areas and towns, and placing strict quotas on the number of Jews allowed into higher education and many professions. The combination of the repressive legislation and pogroms propelled mass Jewish emigration, and by 1920 more than two million Russian Jews had emigrated, most to the United States while some made aliya to the Land of Israel.
One of the most infamous antisemitic tractates was the Russian Okhrana literary hoax, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, created in order to blame the Jews for Russia's problems during the period of revolutionary activity.
Even though many Old Bolsheviks were ethnically Jewish, they sought to uproot Judaism and Zionism and established the Yevsektsiya to achieve this goal. By the end of the 1940s the Communist leadership of the former USSR had liquidated almost all Jewish organizations, including Yevsektsiya.
Joseph Stalin's antisemitic campaign of 1948-1953 against so-called "rootless cosmopolitans", destruction of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee, the fabrication of the "Doctors' plot", the rise of "Zionology" and subsequent activities of official organizations such as the Anti-Zionist committee of the Soviet public were officially carried out under the banner of "anti-Zionism," but the use of this term could not obscure the antisemitic content of these campaigns, and by the mid-1950s the state persecution of Soviet Jews emerged as a major human rights issue in the West and domestically. See also: Jackson-Vanik amendment, Refusenik, Pamyat.
Stalin sought to segregate Russian Jews into "Soviet Zion", with the help of Komzet and OZET in 1928. The Jewish Autonomous Oblast with the center in Birobidzhan in the Russian Far East attracted only limited settlement, and never achieved Stalin's goal of an internal exile for the Jewish people.
Today, anti-Semitic pronouncements, speeches and articles are common in Russia, and there are a number of anti-Semitic neo-Nazi groups in the republics of the former Soviet Union, leading Pravda to declare in 2002 that "Anti-semitism is booming in Russia." Over the past few years there have also been bombs attached to anti-Semitic signs, apparently aimed at Jews, and other violent incidents, including stabbings, have been recorded.
Though the government of Vladimir Putin takes an official stand against antisemitism, some political parties and groups are explicitly antisemitic, in spite of a Russian law (Art. 282) against fomenting racial, ethnic or religious hatred. In 2005, a group of 15 Duma members demanded that Judaism and Jewish organizations be banned from Russia. In June, 500 prominent Russians, including some 20 members of the nationalist Rodina party, demanded that the state prosecutor investigate ancient Jewish texts as "anti-Russian" and ban Judaism — the investigation was actually launched, but halted amid international outcry.
First noticeable antisemitic movement dates back to 1496, when entire Jewish community in the territory of Carinthia and Styria was expelled due to the decree issued by of Emperor Maximilian I. He was under strong pressure of the local nobilities. The last of these evictions was issued in 1828 but restrictions on settlement and business remained until 1861.
Modern antisemitism emerged in Slovenia in the late 19th century, first among ultra-traditionalist Catholics, such as the Bishop Anton Mahnič. However, this was a still a cultural and religious antisemitism, and not a racist one. Racial antisemitism was first advanced in Slovenia by some liberal nationalists, like Josip Vošnjak. At the turn of the 20th century, antisemitism spread widely due to the influence of Austrian Christian Social Movement. The founder of Slovene Christian Socialism, Janez Evangelist Krek was fiercely antisemitic, although many of his followers were not. However, antisemitism remained a recognizable feature of conservative, ultra-Catholic and far right groups in Slovenia until 1945.
About 4,500 Jews lived in Slovene areas before the mass transportations to the concentration camps in 1941. Many of them were refugees from neighboring Austria, while the number of Slovenian Jews with Yugoslav citizenship was much lower. According to the 1931 census, the Jewish community in the Drava Banovina (the administrative unit corresponding to the Yugoslav part of Slovenia) had less than 1,000 members, mostly concentrated in the easternmost Slovenian region of Prekmurje. In the late 1930s, anti-Jewish legislation was adopted by the pro-German regime of the Yugoslav Prime Minister Milan Stojadinović, supported by also by the largest political party in Slovenia, the conservative Slovene People's Party. The party's leader, Dr. Anton Korošec had a strong antisemitic discourse, and was instrumental in the introduction of the numerus clausus in all Yugoslav universities in 1938.
The vast majority of Slovene Jewry perished in Auschwitz and other extermination camps. German forces kept deporting Slovene Jewry until 1945. Once noticeable Jewish community of Prekmurje has disappeared. Only individuals has returned, many of them immigrated to Israel right after 1945.
In 1954, the local Communist party destroyed the last standing synagogue in Slovenia - the synagogue of Murska Sobota, which had survived the two years of Nazi occupation between 1944 and 1945. Before the final destruction, the synagogue was robbed and burned by the members of the party.
After returning from the concentration camps, many Jews realized they have been dispropertied by the new Communist government. Jewish people have been automatically marked as an upper class, although the Nazis took most of the property. Jews who still owned houses or larger apartments were allowed to live in one room, the rest of their properties were owned by the Communist party. Some of the Jews who opposed this policy, were told "they are welcome to leave at any time". Jews were also told it's better for them to leave, if they want peace from OZNA.
During the Yugoslav socialist period, Jews were allowed to leave to Israel. However, if they decided to go, all their properties and any kind of their possession was automatically owned by the Communist party with no possibility of return. After the dissolution of Yugoslavia, some properties were returned to Jews. Many Jews who had immigrated from Slovenia to Israel said they are now too old and too tired to start the all process of return.
In the 1990s and 2000s (decade), antisemitism resurged in Slovenia, mostly linked to anti-globalisation and far left movements. Since 1990, antisemitic discourses in Slovenia have been predominantly linked to the left of the political spectrum, while they have been mostly absent from the right wing rhetoric. Interestingly, the Slovenian National Party, which has been described by many as chauvinistic, has not been antisemitic. On the other hand, antisemitic remarks have been frequent among left wing activists and commentators, as well as among the extra-parliamentary far right groups.
In January 2009, during the Gaza War, the exterior of the synagogue was defaced with antisemitic graffiti, including "Juden raus" and "Gaza". Although the synagogue is protected by security cameras, culprits were never found.
In January 2009, group of members of ruling Social democrats (former Communists party) demanded a boycott of Israeli products because of the Gaza war. Some called Jews "the worldwide spreaded mafia" and "we hope Jews are not asking us for a new Holocaust". Official statement by Social democrats was never made.
On 15 April 2009, Slovenian national radio-television published an article about Adolf Hitler where they wrote: "... 17 million people were killed automatically, among them probably 6 million Jews...." After being criticised about denying the number of Jewish victims, Slovenian radio-television changed the article. No official statement or explanation was made by RTV.
On 31 January, RTV made some controversial statements about Holocaust and Israel again, during the news. After showing the video of liberation of Auschwitz, TV reporter called the survived Jews "successor of the terror who abuses the innocent people in a ghetto called Gaza with excessive brutal force". They ended an article with a statement "when victim becomes a criminal." They also stated that Jews are abusing the meaning of Holocaust for political reasons.
Jews in Islamic-occupied Spain, Al-Andalus, were second-class dhimmis who were targeted in pogroms such as the 1066 Granada massacre. In 1492, via the Alhambra Decree, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella ordered the expulsion of an estimated 800,000 Jews from the country, and thus put an end to the largest and most distinguished Jewish community in Europe. The coercive baptisms eventually produced the phenomenon of the conversos (Marranos), the Inquisition, and statutes of “blood purity” five centuries before the race laws in Nazi Germany. From the end of the nineteenth century, Jews have been perceived as conspirators, alongside the notion of a universal Jewish conspiracy to control the world. Following the Soviet revolution and the founding of the Spanish Communist Party in 1920, such “anti-Spanish forces” were primarily identified with the “destructive communist virus,” often considered to be guided by the Jews.
During the Spanish Civil War, the alliance between Franco’s faction and Nazi Germany opened the way for the emergence of antisemitism in the Spanish Right. It was during the 1960s that the first Spanish neo-fascist and neo-Nazi groups appeared, such as CEDADE. Later on, the Spanish neo-Nazis attempted to use antisemitic discourse to explain the political transition to democracy (1976–1982) following the death of General Franco. It drew on the same ideas that had been expressed in 1931 when the Second Spanish Republic was proclaimed — that political turning points could be explained as the result of various “intrigues”. From 1948 until 1986, Israel was not recognized by Spain, and Israel and Spain had no diplomatic ties. In 1978, Jews were recognized as full citizens in Spain, and today the Jewish population numbers about 40,000 - 1 percent of Spain's population, 20,000 of whom are registered in the Jewish communities. The majority live in the larger cities of Spain on the Iberian Peninsula, North Africa or the islands.
Many of the prejudices cultivated during the Franco years persist in the twenty-first century. Derived from the fact that almost all Spaniards are Catholic, and Spain remains to this day one of the most homogeneous Western countries, Spanish Judeophobia reflects a national obsession with religious and ethnic unity which is based on the conception of an imaginary “internal enemy” plotting the downfall of the Catholic religion and the traditional social order.
In 2002, a telephone poll by the Anti-Defamation League which surveyed 500 Spaniards showed that a majority harbored some antisemitic views, including the belief that Diaspora Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their own countries, and 34% held strong antisemitic views.
After Germany and Austria, Sweden has the highest rate of antisemitic incidents in Europe. Though the Netherlands reports a higher rate of antisemitism in some years. A government study in 2006 estimated that 15% of Swedes agree with the statement: "The Jews have too much influence in the world today". 5% of the total adult population and 39% of adult Muslims "harbour systematic antisemitic views". The former prime minister Göran Persson described these results as "surprising and terrifying". However, the rabbi of Stockholm's Orthodox Jewish community, Meir Horden, said that "It's not true to say that the Swedes are anti-Semitic. Some of them are hostile to Israel because they support the weak side, which they perceive the Palestinians to be."
In early 2010, the Swedish publication The Local published series of articles about the growing anti-Semitism in Malmö, Sweden. In an interview in January 2010, Fredrik Sieradzki of the Jewish Community of Malmö stated that “Threats against Jews have increased steadily in Malmö in recent years and many young Jewish families are choosing to leave the city. Many feel that the community and local politicians have shown a lack of understanding for how the city’s Jewish residents have been marginalized.” He also added that "right now many Jews in Malmö are really concerned about the situation here and don’t believe they have a future here.” The Local also reported that Jewish cemeteries and synagogues have repeatedly been defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti, and a chapel at another Jewish burial site in Malmö was firebombed in 2009. In 2009 the Malmö police received reports of 79 anti-Semitic incidents, double the number of the previous year (2008). Fredrik Sieradzki, spokesman for the Malmo Jewish community, estimated that the already small Jewish population is shrinking by 5% a year. “Malmo is a place to move away from,” he said, citing anti-Semitism as the primary reason.
In March 2010, Fredrik Sieradzk told Die Presse, an Austrian Internet publication, that Jews are being "harassed and physically attacked" by "people from the Middle East," although he added that only a small number of Malmo's 40,000 Muslims "exhibit hatred of Jews." Sieradzk also stated that approximately 30 Jewish families have emigrated from Malmo to Israel in the past year, specifically to escape from harassment. Also in March, the Swedish newspaper Skånska Dagbladet reported that attacks on Jews in Malmo totaled 79 in 2009, about twice as many as the previous year, according to police statistics.
In October 2010, The Forward reported on the current state of Jews and the level of antisemitism in Sweden. Henrik Bachner, a writer and professor of history at the University of Lund, claimed that members of the Swedish Parliament have attended anti-Israel rallies where the Israeli flag was burned while the flags of Hamas and Hezbollah were waved, and the rhetoric was often antisemitic—not just anti-Israel. But such public rhetoric is not branded hateful and denounced.
Charles Small, director of the Yale University Initiative for the Study of antisemitism, stated that “Sweden is a microcosm of contemporary antisemitism. It’s a form of acquiescence to radical Islam, which is diametrically opposed to everything Sweden stands for.” Per Gudmundson, chief editorial writer for Svenska Dagbladet, has sharply criticized politicians whom he claims offer “weak excuses” for Muslims accused of antisemitic crimes. “Politicians say these kids are poor and oppressed, and we have made them hate. They are, in effect, saying the behavior of these kids is in some way our fault.”
Judith Popinski, and 86-year-old Holocaust survivor, stated that she is no longer invited to schools that have a large Muslim presence to tell her story of surviving the Holocaust. Popinski, who found refuge in Malmo in 1945, stated that, until recently, she told her story in Malmo schools as part of their Holocaust studies program, but that now, many schools no longer ask Holocaust survivors to tell their stories, because Muslim students treat them with such disrespect, either ignoring the speakers or walking out of the class. She further stated that "Malmo reminds me of the antisemitism I felt as a child in Poland before the war. “I am not safe as a Jew in Sweden anymore.”
In December 2010, the Jewish human rights organization Simon Wiesenthal Center issued a travel advisory concerning Sweden, advising Jews to express "extreme caution" when visiting the southern parts of the country due to an increase in verbal and physical harassment of Jewish citizens in the city of Malmö.
Two documentaries, one produced in 2013 and another in 2015, secretly filmed reporters walking around Malmo wearing a kippah. In the 2013 documentary, the reporter only received strange looks and giggles, but in the 2015 documentary, the reporter was physically assaulted and had to flee. The reporter also received insults such as "Jewish devil" and "Jewish shit."
There have been Jews in Ukraine since the Greek colonies of the Black Sea coast had their Jewish traders. Anti-semitism has existed since at least the time of the Rus Primary Chronicle. Leaders of the Ukrainian nationalists of OUN (b) made antisemitic statements during World War II. In Ukraine violence against Jews and antisemitic graffiti remains. Antisemitism has declined since Ukrainian independence in 1991.
As of 2014, 9 percent of the British population holds negative attitudes towards Jews. In 2004 the UK Parliament set up an all-Parliamentary inquiry into antisemitism, which published its findings in 2006. The inquiry stated that "until recently, the prevailing opinion both within the Jewish community and beyond [had been] that antisemitism had receded to the point that it existed only on the margins of society." It found a reversal of this progress since 2000. It aimed to investigate the problem, identify the sources of contemporary antisemitism and make recommendations to improve the situation.
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