THIS WEEK’S GLOBAL ANTI-SEMITISM REPORT
In the aftermath of the hostage-taking at Congregation Beth Israel in Texas, CAM is urging civic leaders to stop the widespread incitement that fueled Malik Faisal Akram’s attack. Akram, an Islamist radicalized in England, flew across the Atlantic and entered the synagogue to demand the release of convicted terrorist and ardent antisemite Aafia Siddiqui – believing American Jews had the power to secure her release.
To ensure Jews are safe from extremist violence, antisemitic tropes propagated by all extremists, including Islamists, must be condemned. Just as the Tree of Life attack in Pittsburgh was a wake-up call against far-right antisemitism, so is the Congregation Beth Israel attack against Islamist antisemitism.
CAM continues to monitor and condemn Islamist antisemitic incitement, which is an urgent threat to Jewish communities and we will continue to work with our partners to combat it.
CAM partner American Muslim & Multifaith Women’s Empowerment Council (AMMWEC) President Anila Ali said “Muslim community leaders must step up to help ensure these attacks stop. Silence is complicity — and we cannot stay silent about a climate of antisemitism tolerated by some Muslim leaders.”
Ali referenced Zahra Biloo, a director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) — who in a recent speech said, “We need to pay attention to the Zionist synagogues,” and described “polite Zionists” as “your enemies.” “Labeling mainstream Jews as ‘enemies’ creates the conditions for violence,” Ali noted. “Muslim leaders must insist upon zero tolerance for both overt and the thinly-veiled antisemitism.
In other news, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution proposed by Israel calling on all states to fight Holocaust denial, distortion, and antisemitism, especially on social media. Iran was the only country to speak against the resolution.
The University of Arizona and Florida State University cut ties with the Middle East Studies Association amid debate over its support of the BDS Movement. Meanwhile, flyers tying Jews to anti-vaxxers were left at seven Los Angeles area elementary schools.
Police are searching for a woman in Brooklyn who spat on and threatened to kill Jewish children while saying, “Hitler should’ve killed you all.”
During an MLK Day sermon less than 48 hours after the Texas synagogue attack, Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II, a leader of the Presbyterian Church USA, accused Israel of enslaving Palestinians, while holding American Jews responsible.
This week’s global antisemitism report highlights 44 new media reports of antisemitic incidents. The total includes 24 (54.6%) from the far-right, 7 (15.9%) with Islamist motivations, 7 (15.9%) from the far-left, and 6 (13.6%) unidentifiable in nature.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
COMBAT ANTISEMITISM MOVEMENT CALLS FOR GREATER SECURITY FOR JEWISH INSTITUTIONS AFTER TEXAS SYNAGOGUE HOSTAGE-TAKING
The Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) has called on U.S. law enforcement officials and leaders to provide greater security for synagogues and Jewish institutions after the hostage situation at Congregation Beth Israel in Texas. “The attack on a synagogue during Saturday morning services, usually the best attended time of the week for Jewish worshippers, is clearly an attack on Jews and requires concerted action from U.S. law enforcement officials and political leaders,” CAM CEO Sacha Roytman Dratwa said. “There can be no compromise on this issue, Jews and Jewish institutions require better security and protection.”
THE CAM GUIDE TO IDENTIFYING HOLOCAUST TRIVIALIZATION
While Holocaust trivialization is not a new phenomenon, its worldwide surge during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has underscored the urgency to address and combat it effectively. So what is Holocaust trivialization exactly and how can it be identified? In essence, it is the misappropriation of imagery, symbols, language, and historical facts related to the Holocaust — the systematic persecution and industrial-scale extermination of the Jewish people by Nazi Germany and its allies during World War II — in discussions on unrelated issues that are inherently incomparable to the unique horrors inflicted on Jews by the Nazis.
COMBAT ANTISEMITISM MOVEMENT URGES ACTION TO END ANTISEMITIC INCITEMENT THAT CREATED CLIMATE FOR TEXAS SYNAGOGUE ATTACK: ‘WORDS MATTER’
In the aftermath of the alarming hostage-taking incident at Congregation Beth Israel in Texas, CAM urges civic leaders to stop the widespread antisemitic incitement that fueled Malik Faisal Akram’s attack. “U.S. President Joseph Biden correctly spotlighted Akram’s ‘antisemitism and anti-Israeli comments’ and insisted that American society ‘won’t tolerate this,’” said CAM CEO Sacha Roytman-Dratwa. “While law enforcement works to ensure synagogues are protected from violence, civic leaders need to make sure Jews are safe from incitement. This requires honestly tackling the ideology and atmosphere of hate that inspired Akram.” “Civic leaders, reporters, and faith leaders cannot be afraid to hold accountable propagators of bigotry whether they are on the far-right, the far-left, or radical Islamists,” added Roytman-Dratwa. “If we fail to, violence follows.”
HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS DEMAND ACTION AS ONLINE DATA REPORT IDENTIFIES MORE THAN 60 MILLION TRIVIALIZATION ENGAGEMENTS
Ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, CAM has released a comprehensive internet monitoring data report revealing the scope of the rising trend of Holocaust trivialization — including comparisons of the Nazi genocide to the Covid-19 pandemic. The study — conducted by Buzzilla, an online and social media monitoring agency — scanned online content over a two-year period (January 2020-December 2021) from social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, as well as other news websites, forums and blogs, and user comments on media portals, in six languages, including English, Spanish, French, Italian, Arabic and Hebrew. By isolating specific word combinations, the scan identified more than 60 million online engagements (posts, comments, reactions, shares, etc.) in which the Holocaust and the Covid-19 pandemic were tied together.
TEXAS SYNAGOGUE ATTACK COVERAGE
ALL HOSTAGES AT TEXAS SYNAGOGUE FREED IN SWAT TEAM RESCUE OP
A gunman who took four hostages during Shabbat services at a Texas synagogue on Saturday morning is dead and all the hostages are free following a SWAT team operation. The 11-hour standoff took place at Congregation Beth Israel, a Reform Jewish shul located in Colleyville, Texas, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. “The SWAT situation in Colleyville is resolved and all hostages are safe,” a Colleyville Police Department statement said. “Prayers answered,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted. “All hostages are out alive and safe.” During negotiations with police, the man demanded the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a convicted Islamist terrorist jailed at a federal prison in Fort Worth. The four hostages included the congregation’s Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker.
POLICE SEARCHING FOR WOMAN WHO SHOUTED ANTISEMITIC STATEMENT AT CHILDREN IN BROOKLYN
By Katherine Lavacca
Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a woman who shouted an antisemitic statement at children. The woman approached an 8-year-old boy and two other children outside of a building on Avenue P. She then shouted, “Hitler should’ve killed you all. I’ll kill you. I know where you live.” And spit on the boy. The woman turned around and walked along Avenue P toward Kimball Street. Police say the woman is approximately in her 20’s about 5’3″ with long black straight hair.
“BLACKBURN MUSLIM COMMUNITY” FACEBOOK PAGE REPORTEDLY CALLS FOR ALLAH TO “BLESS” DEAD TEXAS SYNAGOGUE ATTACKER “WITH THE HIGHEST RANKS OF PARADISE”
By Campaign Against Antisemitism
Following the confirmation that the dead British man who attacked Congregation Beth Israel in Texas was 44-year-old Malik Faisal Akram, the “Blackburn Muslim Community” Facebook page has reportedly prayed for “the Almighty” to “bless him with the highest ranks of Paradise” in a now-deleted post.
TOP GERMAN ART SHOW EMBROILED IN ANTISEMITISM ROW OVER PARTICIPATION OF PRO-BDS ORGANIZATIONS
By Ben Cohen
One of the world’s leading festivals of modern art was embroiled in a row over antisemitism, linked to the participation of organizations that advocate for a comprehensive boycott of Israel. The supervisory board of the Documenta festival was examining allegations from a local activist group, the Kassel Alliance Against Antisemitism, that two of the participating organizations actively support subjecting Israel to a campaign of BDS. The Bundestag passed a motion in May 2019 that decried the BDS campaign as antisemitic and urged the government to regard organizations advocating Israel’s elimination, or a boycott of Israel, as ineligible for state funding.
THE UNITED CHURCH ANGERS CANADIAN RABBIS WITH ITS NEW PROPOSED MIDEAST POLICY
By CJN Daily
Six organizations representing Canadian rabbis issued a strong statement condemning the United Church of Canada for its new proposal to adopt a harder stance against Israel. The 23-page document supports teaching about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and labels Israel and Palestine with the same settler-colonial framework applied to Indigenous Canadians and early British settlers. Plus, the church wants to not recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
‘THEY ARE LYING’: FRENCH PARLIAMENTARY INQUIRY INTO ANTISEMITIC MURDER OF SARAH HALIMI ENDS IN DISARRAY
By Ben Cohen
A French parliamentary inquiry into the case of a Jewish woman murdered in her own home by an antisemitic intruder ended in disarray, as members of the committee openly disagreed with each other over its conclusions. The inquiry into the case of Sarah Halimi was launched last year in the wake of the decision of France’s highest court to excuse her assailant, Kobili Traore, from a criminal trial. However, tensions within the committee came to a head when three MPs refused to vote in favor of the final draft of the report by rapporteur Florence Morlighem of the ruling LREM Party.
OTHER WORLD NEWS
NORWEGIAN KILLER BREIVIK BEGINS PAROLE HEARING WITH NAZI SALUTE
Mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik gave a Nazi salute as he arrived in court for a parole hearing to decide if he should be released. Breivik killed 77 people in Norway’s worst peacetime atrocity in July 2011, subsequently spending more than a decade behind bars. He killed eight with a car bomb in Oslo, then shot 69 at a Labor Party youth camp, primarily teenagers. In a makeshift court, Breivik made a white supremacist sign with his fingers before raising his right arm in a Nazi salute. He also carried signs, printed in English, including one that said, “Stop your genocide against our white nations.”
THE MIDDLE EAST
IRAN URGES UN MEMBER STATES TO REJECT ISRAELI RESOLUTION ON FIGHTING HOLOCAUST DENIAL
By JACOB MAGID
Speaking immediately after Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan introduced a General Assembly resolution aimed at combating Holocaust denial, Iran’s representative calls on member states not to support the measure. The Iranian representative claims Israel “routinely attempts to exploit the suffering of Jewish people in the past as cover for the crimes it has perpetrated over the past seven decades against the regional countries.” “My delegation fully disassociates itself from the draft resolution,” the Iranian diplomat says.
FLYERS TYING JEWS TO ANTI-VAXXERS FOUND AT SANTA MONICA SCHOOLS
By Aaron Bandler
A slew of flyers that seem to be accusing Jews of being tied to the anti-vaccine movement were found at multiple schools in Santa Monica. The Los Angeles Times reported that the flyers were emblazoned with a red-and-green Star of David and the word “anti-vaxxer” on them and urged people to report anti-vaxxers to a phone number with a Kentucky area code. The Times texted the number, and then received a text back saying the number is the Safer Tomorrow Organization’s “Anti Vax Reporting Headline.” The flyers were found at Grant Elementary School, McKinley Elementary School, Roosevelt Elementary School, Edison Language Academy, Will Rogers Academy, John Adams Middle School and Lincoln Middle School.
UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA, FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY END MESA TIES AMID ISRAEL BOYCOTT DEBATE
By Dion J. Pierre
Florida State University and an academic center at the University of Arizona have declined to renew membership in the Middle Eastern Studies Association (MESA), amid questions over whether the group’s movement toward an academic boycott of Israel could violate state or university policies. At MESA’s annual meeting in December, 93 percent of voting members present resolved to direct leadership “to give effect to the spirit and intent” of the BDS campaign against Israel. A vote to ratify it will be held for MESA’s 2,800 members as early as this month.
ANALYSIS & OP-EDS
STUDIES & STATISTICS
‘NOTHING COMPARES TO THIS’: SURVIVORS DENOUNCE ONLINE ‘TRIVIALIZATION’ OF HOLOCAUST FOUND IN STUDY
By Benjamin Kerstein
A comprehensive study of Holocaust trivialization online revealed over 60 million online incidents that compared the Holocaust to the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting calls from a group of survivors to treat such rhetoric as a form hate speech. The study, commissioned by the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) and conducted by monitoring agency Buzzilla, studied online content from January 2020 to December 2021 on major social media platforms, websites, blogs, forums, and comment sections in English, Spanish, French, Italian, Arabic, and Hebrew.
27% OF RELIGIOUS HATE CRIMES IN SWEDEN TARGET ITS TINY JEWISH COMMUNITY
By CNAAN LIPHSHIZ
Antisemitic incidents accounted for 27% of all religious hate crimes in 2020 in Sweden, where Jews make up 0.1% of the population. Hate crimes against Muslims, who make up at least 8% of the population, accounted for 51% of the hate crimes against religious groups, according to a Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention report. Anti-Christian hate crimes accounted for 11% of hate crimes targeting religious groups. In absolute numbers, 170 antisemitic hate crimes and 328 anti-Muslim crimes were documented in 2020.
GOVERNMENT & POLICY
BIDEN AFTER TEXAS SYNAGOGUE ATTACK: ‘WE WILL STAND AGAINST ANTISEMITISM’
By AGENCIES and JACOB MAGID
US President Joe Biden vowed to stand against antisemitism and extremism as he sent a message of support to members of a synagogue in Texas who were held for hours at gunpoint. “Let me be clear to anyone who intends to spread hate — we will stand against antisemitism and against the rise of extremism in this country. I am grateful to the tireless work of law enforcement at all levels who acted cooperatively and fearlessly to rescue the hostages,” Biden said. “We are sending love and strength to the members of Congregation Beth Israel, Colleyville, and the Jewish community,” Biden said.
UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY ADOPTS RESOLUTION AGAINST HOLOCAUST DENIAL
The UN General Assembly adopted a non-binding resolution proposed by Israel calling on all states to fight Holocaust denial and antisemitism, especially on social media. The text was co-sponsored by 114 of the 193 countries that make up the UN. The resolution “rejects and condemns without reservation any denial of the historicity of the Holocaust, in whole or in part”. The text “urges all Member States to reject without reservation any denial or distortion of the Holocaust as a historical event.” The resolution urges UN members to “develop educational programs that will instill in the minds of future generations the lessons of the Holocaust in order to help prevent acts of genocide,” and calls on them and companies operating social networks “to take active steps to combat antisemitism and Holocaust denial or distortion.”
US MUSLIM LEADER CALLS FOR ‘HONEST RECKONING’ WITH ISLAMIST ANTISEMITISM AFTER TEXAS SYNAGOGUE ATTACK
Following Saturday’s hostage-taking incident at a synagogue in Texas, the head of a prominent U.S. Muslim organization is calling for an “honest reckoning” with Islamist antisemitism. “We are relieved that the crisis at the synagogue ended with all hostages safe, and we are devastated that once again a Jewish house of worship has been attacked. Jews everywhere deserve to live in safety — and Muslim community leaders must step up to help ensure these attacks stop,” American Muslim & Multifaith Women’s Empowerment Council (AMMWEC) President Anila Ali stated. She added, “silence is complicity — and we cannot stay silent about a climate of antisemitism tolerated by some Muslim leaders. Just as the Tree of Life Synagogue attack forced American society to confront far-right antisemitism, the Congregation Beth Israel attack requires an honest reckoning with demonization promoted by Islamist extremists.”
‘AN ATTACK ON JUDAISM IS AN ATTACK ON EVERY RELIGION’: MUSLIM WORLD LEAGUE DENOUNCES TEXAS SYNAGOGUE HOSTAGE-TAKING
The Muslim World League (MWL) — the Saudi-based NGO that promotes moderate Islam and tolerant principles — has voiced strong condemnation of last Saturday’s hostage-taking incident at a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas. MWL Secretary-General Sheikh Dr. Mohammed al-Issa said, “Houses of worship should never become targets for violence. Nor should individuals ever have to fear for their safety for peacefully worshiping their Creator.” “An attack on Judaism is an attack on every religion,” the statement declared. “Every faith has an unwavering and natural right to peaceful coexistence.” “The MWL remains steadfast in its support to our Jewish brothers and sisters, and sees the importance of cooperation between our faiths as critical to advancing a more tolerant and harmonious world,” it added.
The Combat Antisemitism Movement is a non-partisan, global grassroots movement of individuals and organizations, across all religions and faiths, united around the goal of ending antisemitism in all its forms. Since its launching in February 2019, 360 organizations and 355,000 individuals have joined the Combat Antisemitism Movement by signing the campaign’s pledge. The CAM Pledge draws upon the IHRA international definition of antisemitism and its list of specific behaviors used to discriminate against the Jewish people and the Jewish State of Israel.