June 3, 2022
THIS WEEK’S GLOBAL ANTISEMITISM REPORT
U.N. Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief Dr. Ahmed Shaheed published an eight-point action plan for governments to combat rising antisemitism. Shaheed noted, “antisemitic attitudes have seemingly grown more prevalent among people who do not hold extremist views, and antisemitic discourse of several varieties has become increasingly normalized.”
Alongside the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, President of Colombia Iván Duque announced his country’s endorsement of the IHRA working definition of antisemitism, becoming the third Latin American country to do so. Meanwhile, 28 U.S. senators called for a 50% increase in the budget for the U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism, citing spiking rates of antisemitism globally.
The office of the IKAR synagogue in Los Angeles was defaced with swastikas, and an arson in Brooklyn appears to have been motivated by antisemitism after firefighters found swastikas spray-painted inside the building.
Toronto police arrested a man with a weapon who threatened a Jewish school while yelling “kill Jews,” and a California man was arrested for threatening to kill, with antisemitic invective, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. German police meanwhile, arrested a man for running a publishing house that distributed Nazi propaganda.
After discovering multiple derogatory references to “sayanim,” the Arabic word for Zionists, on social media, French prosecutors are now considering an antisemitic motive in the murder of an elderly Jewish man in Lyon. Rene Hadjaj, 89, was killed after being pushed from the 17th floor of his apartment building by his neighbor, a crime eerily similar to the 2017 murder of French Jewish grandmother Sarah Halimi.
The Press Council of South Africa expelled a South African Jewish outlet after it refused to apologize for describing a pro-BDS caricature as antisemitic, and in alarming modern use of the age-old antisemitic blood libel, the extreme anti-Zionist group JVP published a cartoon depicting Israeli soldiers drinking the blood of Palestinians.
This week’s global antisemitism report highlights 21 new media reports of antisemitic incidents. The total includes 12 (57.1%) from the far-right, 4 (19.1%) from the far-left, 3 (14.3%) with Islamist motivations, and 2 (9.5%) unidentifiable in nature.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
OFFICE OF LOS ANGELES SYNAGOGUE IS TARGETED IN ANTISEMITIC ATTACK
By GREGORY YEE
Officials with Ikar, a prominent Los Angeles synagogue, confirmed that their office was targeted in an antisemitic attack. Swastikas were scratched onto the office’s windows. “Fortunately no one was present or physically harmed,” the statement says. “We have alerted the relevant authorities and we are taking all measures to keep our staff and community safe.” The synagogue’s officials called the incident distressing but “unfortunately not surprising,” noting an uptick in antisemitic acts. The incident comes days after a rented truck bearing antisemitic messages made its way down Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood and Beverly Hills.
ARSON FIRE IN BROOKLYN MAY HAVE BEEN ANTISEMITIC CRIME, NYPD SAYS
By Tina Moore
A Brooklyn fire was intentionally set and is being investigated as a hate crime — after red swastikas were found spray-painted on a wall, officials said. The FDNY was called to a smoke condition at 374 Myrtle Ave. an FDNY spokesman said. The hateful symbols were discovered in a first-floor hallway after the flames were doused — along with a discarded can of red spray paint, an NYPD spokeswoman said. There were no injuries in the blaze, she said. The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating.
LABOUR COUNCILLOR INVESTIGATED OVER TWEETS ‘GROSSLY INSULTING’ TO LEEDS JEWISH COMMUNITY
By Leeds Live
A new Labour councillor is under investigation after “grossly” offensive historical tweets were uncovered. Councillor John Garvani was elected onto Leeds City Council to serve the Horsforth ward earlier this month. A pair of tweets dating, which appear to have been posted from his account, were flagged up to the council’s Labour leadership team on. Conservative councillor Dan Cohen said the posts were antisemitic and had caused “disgust” and “distress” within the city’s Jewish community, of which he is a member.
GERMANY: POLICE ARREST SUSPECT ACCUSED OF SPREADING NAZI PROPAGANDA
The German federal prosecutor’s office arrested a suspected member of a right-wing extremist criminal organization for spreading antisemitic and Nazi ideology. German national Matthias B. was taken into custody in Röderaue in the eastern state of Saxony. Authorities raided his property as well as the homes of three other suspects. The four individuals are suspected of belonging to an extremist criminal group that runs a publishing house known as “Der Schelm,” the statement said. The prosecutor’s office said the group committed sedition and used the publishing house to disseminate Nazi propaganda. The suspects allegedly distributed extreme far-right books and had storage rooms stocked with several thousand texts that were printed abroad.
TORONTO POLICE ARREST MAN WHO THREATENED YESHIVAH, YELLED ‘KILL JEWS’
Toronto Police Service arrested a man who allegedly threatened Jewish students at the Yeshiva Gedolah of Toronto. According to the Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, a delivery man yelled that he wanted to kill Jews. The Yeshiva World reported that “an IDF veteran who now serves as a cook in the yeshivah approached the man and ordered him to leave, only for the suspect to respond by punching him in the face. The cook quickly tackled the man and pinned him down until police arrived.” Police discovered a weapon on the suspect, who was arrested and faces several charges. He has since been released.
AFTER UNEARTHING SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS, FRENCH PROSECUTORS NOW SUSPECT ANTISEMITISM IN ELDERLY JEW’S DEATH
By CNAAN LIPHSHIZ
Prosecutors in France are considering antisemitism as a possible factor in the death of an elderly Jewish man in Lyon, who police initially said had died in a dispute unconnected to his religion. The Tribune Juive Jewish paper reported on the development of the May 17 death of Rene Hadjaj, who was found dead after falling from the 17th floor of his apartment building. He was 89. Police arrested a 51-year-one neighbor, Rachid Kheniche, in connection with the incident. Kheniche and Hadjaj knew each other and had an altercation that ended with Hadjaj’s death, prosecutors said. Police introduced antisemitism as a possible motive after seeing social media posts by Kheniche. Kheniche had made multiple derogatory references to “sayanim,” the transcription in French of the Arab-language word for Zionists, on social media in recent years.
OTHER WORLD NEWS
SOUTH AFRICAN JEWISH OUTLET ‘EXPELLED’ FROM PRESS GROUP AFTER REPORTING ON ‘ANTISEMITIC’ CARTOON
By Shiryn Ghermezian
The Press Council of South Africa (PCSA) expelled a South African Jewish outlet after it refused to apologize for describing a pro-BDS caricature as antisemitic. The original complaint against the Jewish paper was filed on behalf of the SA BDS Coalition who created and published the political cartoon on their social media pages. In November 2020, the SAJR published an article titled “Antisemitic Clover cartoon is BDS’s sour ‘last gasp.’” At the time, Israel’s Central Bottling Company was set to take over the dairy company Clover Industries. The caricature encouraged South Africans to boycott Clover, and was described by the SAJR as displaying a “greedy, overweight giant of a man eating a pile of money while the ‘man on the street’ is drawn as a small, insignificant figure sitting in front of an empty plate.” The image was captioned, “Greedy bosses connected to apartheid Israel. Blood curdling milk [and cheese, yoghurt, etc.]. Every reason to boycott Clover!” according to SAJR.
YEMEN’S RIVAL GOVERNMENT SET TO BECOME LATEST TO CRIMINALISE RELATIONS WITH ISRAEL
YEMEN’s rival government appears to become the latest to criminalise relations with Israel, with its parliament planning to pass a law reaffirming the country’s solidarity with the Palestinian people. Prime Minister Abdulaziz bin Habtoor, who heads the Houthi rebel-backed administration, said Palestine remains the principle issue of the Muslim world and said the Bill would soon be passed. “We stand by the side of the Palestinian nation and their struggle in the face of Israeli threats to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound and the occupied al-Quds [Jerusalem] city,” he said. Speaking to Lebanese media organisation Al Mayadeen, Mohammed al-Bukhaiti said the ban would be a step towards ending Tel Aviv’s illegal occupation of Palestine.
WARWICK UNI SAY THEY WILL INVESTIGATE ANY COMPLAINTS AFTER PROFESSOR’S ZIONISM CLAIM
By LEE HARPIN
Warwick University will investigate complaints of antisemitism after a sociology professor repeatedly compared people who support the existence of a Jewish state to Nazis during a talk on relations between Israel and India. Virinder S Kalra told the audience at an event organised by the Institute for Palestinian Studies of “the links between the fascists and Nazis and the relationship with Zionists”. Acting as moderator at the 26 May lecture delivered by the author Amrit Wilson, the Warwick academic quoted a Facebook comment which said: “It is important to point out the Zionists were the only group that broke the Jewish boycott of the Nazis.” He added there were “many links between Israeli far-right and neo-fascist white supremacists united in the hatred of Muslims all over Europe in the West broadly.”
JEWISH COMMUNITY COUNCIL OF VICTORIA SLAMS ANTISEMITIC GRAFFITI AT UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE
By AJN STAFF
Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV)has slammed graffiti at the University of Melbourne that says “F**k Zionism” as “truly disappointing”. “The University of Melbourne Student Union made an entirely fair decision to rescind the racist and odious resolution that had previously passed,” it said. “For students to react by vandalising university property with vulgar slogans is truly disappointing. “Just as other national groups have the right, under international law, to self-determination, so too do the world’s Jews.”
ANALYSIS & OP-EDS
STUDIES & STATISTICS
AMERICANS ARE NOT PAYING ATTENTION TO THE BOYCOTT ISRAEL MOVEMENT, SURVEY FINDS
By RON KAMPEAS
A Pew Research Center survey found that American adults are just not paying attention to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. A whopping 84% of adults surveyed said they have heard “not much” or “nothing at all” about the movement. Only 5% of the surveyed adults — who were of diverse religious backgrounds — knew “some” about it, and only 2% strongly support it.
GOVERNMENT & POLICY
UN SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR PUBLISHES EIGHT-POINT ACTION PLAN FOR GOVERNMENTS TO COMBAT RISING ANTISEMITISM WORLDWIDE
United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief Dr. Ahmed Shaheed has published a new eight-point action plan for governments and other stakeholders worldwide to combat rising antisemitism. The plan is a follow-up to the historic 2019 report authored by Shaheed that identified “violence, discrimination and expressions of hostility motivated by antisemitism as a serious obstacle to the enjoyment of the right to freedom of religion or belief.” Shaheed noted, “Antisemitism remains a persistent and serious global problem, with a range, scale and depth that has continued to expand. “While a substantial proportion of antisemitic incidents are committed by individuals affiliated with or influenced by extremist movements, antisemitic attitudes have also seemingly grown more prevalent among people who do not hold extremist views, and antisemitic discourse has become increasingly normalized,” he added.
U.S. SENATORS CALL FOR 50% FUNDING INCREASE FOR ANTISEMITISM ENVOY
By Marc Rod
Citing rising levels of global antisemitism, 28 senators joined a new letter calling for a 50% increase in the budget for the State Department’s special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism as part of the 2023 appropriations process. The lawmakers — 27 Democrats and one Republican, Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) — signed a letter, led by Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), to leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on state, foreign operations and related programs, calling for $1.5 million in funding for the office, up from the $1 million it currently receives. The letter highlights spiking rates of antisemitism globally and argues that the additional funding would “support the Special Envoy’s efforts to improve the safety and security of at-risk Jewish communities, combat online radicalization, ensure public officials and faith leaders condemn antisemitic discourse and strengthen judicial systems in their prosecution of antisemitic incidents.”
THE DETROIT CHURCH FOUNDED BY ANTISEMITE FATHER COUGHLIN HOSTS AN EVENT ON JEWISH-CATHOLIC RELATIONS
By ANDREW LAPIN
Nancy Gietzen needed to see if the plaque was still there. She made her way to the National Shrine of the Little Flower, the Catholic church where the Jewish educator had been a substitute teacher until discovering how the parish had memorialized its founder, Father Charles Coughlin. The Shrine held an event titled “The Jewish-Catholic Relationship: Past, Present, and Future,” a series of historical lectures co-sponsored by the Archdiocese of Detroit and the local Jewish Community Relations Council. Jews and Catholics alike filed into the pews to hear two academics, one Jewish and one Catholic, discuss the history of relations between the two faiths, most of it revolving around Catholic antisemitism. The choice of venue was deliberate.
The Combat Antisemitism Movement is a global coalition engaging more than 360,000 people and 450 organizations from a diverse array of religious, political, and cultural backgrounds in the common mission of fighting the world’s oldest hatred. We act collaboratively to build a better future, free of bigotry, for Jews and all humanity.