TAU report| Anti-Semitism: “Good” news and bad in 2015
Tel Aviv University’s Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry just released its 2015 worldwide analysis of anti-Semitism. Read the entire report here. The executive summary is below.
The feeling with which the year 2015 ended was one of fear and concern, among Jews and non-Jews alike, especially in Europe. Waves of immigrants shook the continent, and terror took a terrible toll in human lives and brought up heavy questions and doubts regarding the ability of democracies to defend themselves and their citizens. The Jewish communities and Jews as individuals feel threatened by the influx of refugees on the one hand, and the increase in the right wing parties’ electoral power as a result, on the other. On the one hand, recent developments brought down the number of violent anti-Semitic cases perpetrated against Jews and Jewish sites, and on the other the nature of the violent cases have become more cruel, and the growing variety of verbal and visual anti-Semitic expressions, mainly on social media, became more brutal and insulting. An attempt to explain these seemingly contradicting tendencies is therefore required.
The number of violent antisemitic incidents worldwide decreased quite dramatically during 2015, especially after the first months of the year, in comparison to 2014: The Kantor Center team monitored 410 violent cases during 2015, compared to 766 in 2014, a decrease of approximately 46%. While this is the lowest number in the recent decade, it should be taken in consideration that 2014 was a very difficult year, especially due to the Protective Edge operation during the summer, and that the number of violent cases in 2015 is more or less equal to that of 2011, and that, compared to 2013, the decrease in 2015 is about 26%.
The decrease is most notable in the modus operandi in all its variations, especially the use of weapons (a decrease of over 60%) and arson (decrease of over 50%), and in weaponless cases, threats and vandalism as well. Regarding targets, the most notable decrease is in cases perpetrated against synagogues (by about 70%!) and individuals by close to 50%), as well as against schools and community centers, and the highest numbers of registered incidents was perpetrated against cemeteries and memorials.
It should be noted that these numbers are the result of the specific monitoring and analysis system developed by the Kantor Center team, which has been working together on these issues for more than twenty years now, and are based on the various reports sent to us by our contact persons in the world at large. The specific criteria (anti-Semitic motivation, and no exaggeration or diminishing of the severity of the situation, counting a multi-event as one case) are the basic reason for the differences that might occur between these numbers and those released by other monitoring communities and institutes.