THIS WEEK’S GLOBAL ANTI-SEMITISM REPORT
This week, the United Kingdom and Australia proscribed the entirety of Hamas and Hezbollah as illegal terrorist organizations – erasing the distinction between their military and political wings. We welcome the Biden administration’s appointment of Aaron Keyak as the new Deputy U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism. Keyak will begin serving right away as the Acting Special Envoy until the new Special Envoy is confirmed by the Senate.
In a historic verdict against hate in the U.S., the organizers of the deadly white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017 were found liable for the violence that occurred, awarding $25 million to injured counter-protesters. The event had begun with a tiki-torch march where participants chanted, “Jews will not replace us.”
Project Aladdin, a cultural initiative supported by UNESCO with the aim of countering Holocaust denial and promoting intercultural dialogue, sent a delegation to Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. With support from both countries’ leaders, plans for partnership were developed to promote intercultural relations and to overcome hate and intolerance.
Just days after the UK outlawed the political wing of Hamas, a Palestinian terrorist affiliated with its political wing dressed up as an orthodox Jew and opened fire on Jewish civilians. The East Jerusalem school teacher murdered a young man and injured several others. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority continued to incite against Israelis by exploiting World Children’s Day to repeat its libel that Israel deliberately targets, and even murders Palestinian children.
Fabio Meroni, a far-right anti-Vaccine Italian lawmaker, referred to Holocaust survivor and lifetime Senator Liliana Segre, who has publicly supported Italy’s vaccination campaign, by the number that was tattooed on her arm while she was interred at Auschwitz. Elsewhere in Europe, antisemitic expressions were present this week at anti-vaccine protests in Austria, The Netherlands, and Belgium.
In a modern-day blood libel, a British student was assigned course material that blamed American police violence on “Zionist tactics.” Following the UK Labour Party leader’s proclamation against anti-Zionist antisemitism, two more party members and a union leader were placed under investigation or expelled for antisemitism. In the U.S., a Jewish man was assaulted and had his yarmulke stolen in Manhattan, and a Jewish community center in Ohio was the recipient of a bomb threat.
In observance of Thanksgiving, this week’s shorter global report highlights 32 new media reports of antisemitic incidents. The total includes 14 (43.8%) from the far-right, 10 (31.3%) from the far-left, 4 (12.5%) with Islamist motivations, and 4 (12.5%) unidentifiable in nature.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
TOP ANTISEMITISM SPECIAL ENVOYS FROM AROUND WORLD COMING TOGETHER AT 2021 KYIV JEWISH FORUM
With antisemitism on the rise, more countries and international organizations are looking for ways to take action to fight back. A growing number of special envoys dedicated to combating antisemitism at the national and transcontinental levels have been appointed. On December 16th, 2021, a distinguished lineup of such officials will take part in a special panel discussion — titled “Antisemitism and Hate Speech: Today’s Challenges” — on the second day of the virtual 2021 Kyiv Jewish Forum. This distinguished gathering will feature: Prof. Irwin Cotler, Canada’s Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism; Katharina von Schnurbein, European Commission Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism and Fostering Jewish Life; Fernando Lottenberg, Organization of American States Commissioner to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism; Shuli Davidovich, Head of the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Bureau for World Jewish Affairs and World Religions; and Elan S. Carr, Former U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism.
NEW VIDEO GAME AIMS TO REVAMP HOLOCAUST EDUCATION FOR YOUNGER GENERATION
With the number of Holocaust survivors dwindling by the day, the need for innovation in the realm of educating future generations about the Nazi genocide is only getting more urgent. This was the challenge Los Angeles-based video game director Luc Bernard decided he must tackle. And now, after a decade of starts and stops, his educational video game about the Holocaust — “The Light in the Darkness” — is set to launch on Xbox and Windows 10 next year as a free-to-play title. “People complain about the lack of knowledge about the Holocaust and the rise of antisemitism, but nobody is offering any solutions, which is what this game does,” Bernard — who was born in France and raised in the United Kingdom — told the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM). “Maybe we need to try something a bit new.”
HELP FIGHT ANTISEMITISM ON GIVING TUESDAY: MEET THE COMBAT ANTISEMITISM MOVEMENT
JURY ORDERS ORGANIZERS OF ANTISEMITIC CHARLOTTESVILLE RALLY TO PAY $26M IN DAMAGES
By DENISE LAVOIE
A jury ordered 17 white nationalist leaders and organizations to pay more than $26 million in damages over the violence that erupted during the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017. After a nearly monthlong civil trial, the jury deadlocked on two key claims but found the white nationalists liable on four other claims in the lawsuit filed by people who suffered injuries during the two days of demonstrations. The verdict, though mixed, is a rebuke to the white nationalist movement, particularly for the two dozen individuals and organizations accused in a federal lawsuit of orchestrating violence against African Americans, Jews and others in a meticulously planned conspiracy.
MAN ACCUSED OF SNATCHING YARMULKE, MAKING ANTISEMITIC COMMENTS IN LOWER MANHATTAN
By CBSNewYork Team
According to police, a stranger approached a 34-year-old man on the corner of Broadway and West Third Street and grabbed the man’s yarmulke off his head. When the victim told the stranger to give it back, the man threw the yarmulke back to him and made an antisemitic statement before running off.
BOMB THREAT INVESTIGATED AT YOUNGSTOWN, OH JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER
By Mike Gautner
Authorities are investigating a bomb threat emailed to the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown. JCC Executive Director Denise Wolf informed center members that the threat was included in an email via the center’s website contact form. According to Wolf, the JCC’s security team along with local authorities canvassed the building and determined that there was no credible threat.
LABOUR EXPELS COUNCILLOR WHO SAID CLAIMS OF ANTISEMITISM GIVEN ‘PRIVILEGED’ STATUS
By LEE HARPIN
A Labour councillor who told activists that allegations of antisemitism were given a “privileged” status over other racism claims has been expelled from the party over her support for a banned organisation. Jo Bird, an elected representative on the Wirral, Merseyside, confirmed she had been expelled from Labour. The Jewish Voice for Labour member had been charged in August with speaking at events organised by the Labour Against The Witch-hunt (LATW) group, which was proscribed by the party the previous month, in an attempt to tackle the denial and downplaying of anti-Jewish racism. She attacked the earlier expulsion of the activist Marc Wadsworth as “unfair”, and said “due process” should be known as “Jew process.”
OTHER WORLD NEWS
ITALIAN ANTI-VAX LAWMAKER REFERS TO HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR BY NUMBER INKED ON HER ARM
By TOI STAFF
A far-right anti-vaxxer Italian lawmaker provoked outrage when he referred to a prominent Holocaust survivor by the number tattooed on her arm by the Nazis. Fabio Meroni, a councilor from the northern Lombardia region, posted the remarks about lifetime senator and survivor Liliana Segre, 91, who has publicly supported the country’s vaccination campaign. The number was tattooed onto her skin at the Auschwitz concentration camp when. “All that was missing [in the debate about vaccines] was her… 75190,” Meroni wrote in a Facebook post attacking Segre for recently saying that vaccination is the only way out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘I’M BEING TREATED LIKE A CRIMINAL’ SAYS POLISH CATHOLIC PRIEST FACING DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS AFTER SPEAKING OUT AGAINST ANTISEMITISM
By Ben Cohen
An outspoken Catholic priest and professor at one of Poland’s leading universities will face a disciplinary hearing later where he will be asked to justify his comments excoriating a colleague who promoted the infamous antisemitic “blood libel.” Fr. Alfred Wierzbicki — a professor at the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin — will appear before a university disciplinary committee to answer the allegation that he “violated the duties of a teacher in the church faculty of a Catholic university” by vociferously condemning antisemitism, homophobia and racism in a series of interviews with the Polish media.
THE MIDDLE EAST
TERRORIST REPORTEDLY DISGUISED AS ORTHODOX JEW AS HE KILLS ONE IN JERUSALEM SHOOTING
By Josh Kaplan
One man was shot dead and another three injured after a terrorist opened fire in Jerusalem’s old city. The attacker was shot dead by Israeli police, who responded in just 32 seconds. A Hamas spokesman has claimed credit for the attack, saying that the shooter, Fadi Abu Shehadam, a resident of East Jerusalem, was one of the group’s leaders based in the Shuafat refugee camp. Minister for Public security Omer Bar-Lev attended the site of the attack and confirmed that the man was a member of Hamas and said that the attacker was disguised as an orthodox Jew.
STUDENT HANDED ‘BLOOD LIBEL’ COURSE MATERIAL ON VIOLENT ‘ZIONIST’ TACTICS USED BY US POLICE
By Mathilde Frot
A distressed Jewish undergraduate at the University of London has said her tutor gave her reading material promoting the “antisemitic blood libel” that American police are using violent “Zionist” tactics against black people. Chloe Santaub, 20, showed the JC a text that she was handed on her politics course at London Institute in Paris (ULIP) – which stated that “Zionist law enforcement tactics like tear gas and rubber bullets” were being used against activists in San Diego, having been “tested on Palestinians by Israel and deployed on black and brown bodies by the United States.” Ms Santaub said that the material “promoted the antisemitic blood libel by directly implicating Israelis and Jews in American police violence.”
THE LATEST BATTLEGROUND IN THE WAR OVER WHETHER COLLEGES ARE SAFE FOR JEWS: HUNTER COLLEGE IN NEW YORK CITY
By BEN SALES
A pro-Israel organization filed a federal complaint alleging a “pervasively hostile campus climate for Jewish students” at the New York City school and its Silberman School of Social Work, in particular. The complaint made on behalf of students by the California-based StandWithUs, filed with the federal Department of Education, was made under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination in federally funded programs. The complaint lists a series of alleged antisemitic incidents that it says the administration has not responded to adequately, including a disruptive anti-Israel protest during a Zoom class in May.
ANALYSIS & OP-EDS
STUDIES & STATISTICS
SURVEY SHOWING THAT NEARLY HALF OF GERMAN CITIZENS HAVE NEVER HAD CONTACT WITH JEWS CAUSES WORRY AMONG JEWISH LEADERS
By Algemeiner Staff
A survey commissioned to mark the 1,700th anniversary of the Jewish presence in Germany has discovered that nearly half of German citizens say they have never had any contact with Jews or Jewish life. Conducted on behalf of the Hanns Seidel Foundation and the Orthodox Rabbinical Conference of Germany (ORD), the purpose of the survey was to gauge awareness among non-Jews of Jewish religion and culture, as well as Jewish contributions to German life. Close to one in two respondents — 46 percent — said they had never had any personal contact with a Jewish person or with Jewish life more broadly, with just 16.6 percent saying that they had Jewish friends or acquaintances. About 100,000 Jews presently live in Germany.
GOVERNMENT & POLICY
BRITAIN TO CRIMINALIZE SUPPORT FOR HAMAS
By CNAAN LIPHSHIZ
Anyone in the United Kingdom who expresses support for the Palestinian political party Hamas or its militant wing could soon be hit with a prison sentence of up to 14 years. The U.K. already considers the group’s military wing a terrorist group. British Interior Secretary Priti Patel said that parliament will add the designation to Hamas’ political wing, erasing a distinction that the British Jewish community has criticized for over 20 years. “Hamas has significant terrorist capability, including access to extensive and sophisticated weaponry, as well as terrorist training facilities,” Patel said in a statement. “That is why today I have acted to proscribe Hamas in its entirety.”
AARON KEYAK APPOINTED AS BIDEN’S DEPUTY ANTISEMITISM ENVOY
By JACOB KORNBLUH
Aaron Keyak, the San Francisco native who served as Jewish outreach director during President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, has been appointed as the State Department’s deputy envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism. The appointment comes amid a political fight over the Biden Administration’s pick for the top global antisemitism role. Deborah E. Lipstadt, the renowned Holocaust historian, was nominated as antisemitism envoy in July, but Republicans have delayed her confirmation over critical tweets she wrote about Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, a member of the foreign relations committee. The deputy role does not require Senate confirmation, so Keyak, 36, will serve as the acting envoy on antisemitism until Lipstadt is either confirmed or rejected.
PROJECT ALADDIN DELEGATION RECEIVED BY BAHRAIN, UAE LEADERS
Project Aladdin, a cultural initiative under the patronage of UNESCO with the aim of countering Holocaust denial and promoting intercultural dialogue, sent a delegation to Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. The delegation was received by the leadership, ministers, heads of institutions and think tanks and civil society leaders working to promote intercultural relations and overcome hate and intolerance. In Bahrain, the delegation was was received at the Royal Palace by King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. King Hamad shared with the delegation a number of initiatives aimed at promoting tolerance. He also gave his blessing for plans for partnerships between Project Aladdin and Bahraini institutions, such as the King Hamad Global Center for Peaceful Coexistence.
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.