The past week saw a troubling spate of physical assaults targeting Jews worldwide, raising safety concerns ahead of the High Holiday season. In London, England, a man wearing traditional Muslim garb attacked random Jewish passersby in four separate incidents, including one in which an elderly victim was hospitalized. Also in London, occupants of a vehicle hit a Jewish pedestrian with a beverage can and verbally harassed him.
In Cologne, Germany, a kippah-wearing Jewish teenager had his nose and cheekbone broken by a group of ten assailants in a public park. In Aventura, Florida, a Jewish father was hit in the face at a hotel pool after confronting a man who had called a woman a “dirty Jew.” In Sirmione, Italy, a kosher hotel owner was beaten and called a “dirty Jew” by a neighboring hotel proprietor.
In three German cities – Dortmund, Osterholz-Scharmbeck, and Weimar — “Stolpersteine” Holocaust memorial bricks were vandalized or stolen. In Blackpool, England, Jewish graves were toppled, and in Krakow, Poland, a Holocaust memorial was defaced with slogans praising Hitler. Neo-Nazi graffiti was spray painted on a synagogue in Toronto, Canada and the Balkans’ largest synagogue in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Hackers disrupted an online shiva ceremony for a Brazilian Jewish educator, threatening to “enter synagogues and kill everyone,” and a British-Palestinian journalist said that “what happened in Kabul Airport will repeat itself at Ben Gurion Airport.”
With the continued normalization of Holocaust trivialization, the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain thankfully canceled a course comparing Gaza to Auschwitz. This trend is sadly continuing at school board and city council meetings, in political discourse, and at anti-COVID-19 vaccination protests around the world. In one shocking case, community members gave a Nazi salute and shouted “Heil Hitler” at Jewish and Black school board members in Michigan who spoke in favor of a mask mandate.
Meanwhile, Bulgaria became the twelfth country to announce that it will not participate in the UN event marking 20 years since the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, over its antisemitic content. In an important step for combating antisemitism in the US state of Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey signed a bipartisan law mandating Holocaust education for all students in the state.