September 15, 2021
THIS WEEK’S GLOBAL ANTI-SEMITISM REPORT
Ahead of Yom Kippur, Pope Francis spoke out against rising antisemitism, saying the “threat of antisemitism still lurking in Europe and elsewhere…is a fuse that must not be allowed to burn…” Four more countries – Greece, Belgium, Slovenia, and Slovakia, have said no to Jew-hatred at the highest levels of international relations by withdrawing from the UN’s 20th anniversary of the World Conference Against Racism (Durban IV), bringing the total to twenty countries.
This week marked the first anniversary of the Abraham Accords, which has begun transforming diplomatic, economic, interfaith and people-to-people ties throughout the Middle East and beyond. The Accords have inspired a new generation of grassroots activism in the movement to combat antisemitism.
Meanwhile, French police arrested the ringleader of a violent gang assault against a yarmulke-wearing man in Lyon, and police in Toronto arrested a man with a swastika tattoo for committing a third antisemitic assault in just two months. The man had put a woman in a headlock after asking if she was Jewish and giving a Hitler salute.
Police increased patrols in the Minneapolis area, after a synagogue received a threat of violence following the desecration of a local Jewish cemetery. The Jewish cemetery in Ioannina, Greece was vandalized for the second time in the past month, and graffiti blaming Jews for 9/11 was found at Michigan State University and in Toronto. A high school in the U.S. state of Georgia opened an investigation after two swastikas and “Hail Hitler” were drawn inside the building.
The city council of Burlington, Vermont withdrew a pro-BDS resolution over antisemitism concerns. Dutch Covid-19 protesters who were dressed in Nazi uniforms staged a mock arrest of a person wearing a yellow star, an unfortunate example of the growing trend of Holocaust trivialization.
This week’s global antisemitism report highlights 31 new media reports of antisemitic incidents. The total includes 14 (45.2%) from the far-right, 5 (16.1%) from the far-left, 4 (12.9%) with Islamist motivations, and 8 (25.8%) unidentifiable in nature. The report this week is shorter in observance of the Jewish High Holidays.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
COVID-19 PROTESTS FUEL SPREAD OF HOLOCAUST TRIVIALIZATION IN WESTERN EUROPE, NORTH AMERICA
The growing normalization of Holocaust trivialization — largely in Western Europe and North America — is an alarming phenomenon that the CAM Information Hub detected earlier this summer and has been closely monitoring since. This trend is mainly, but not exclusively, linked to rhetoric employed by critics of health measures implemented by governments to fight the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic. The most commonly-seen manifestation is the appropriation of the Holocaust-era “Judenstern” (“yellow Star of David”) as a protest symbol.
CALL FOR ACTION: COMBAT THE SPREAD OF THE ‘QUI?’ MOVEMENT ACROSS FRANCE
The rapid spread of the “Qui?” movement across France this past summer is an extremely concerning phenomenon being monitored by the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) considering the immediate threat it poses to the safety of French Jews.
SYNAGOGUE THREAT, CEMETERY VANDALISM SHAKE TWIN CITIES JEWISH COMMUNITY
By LONNY GOLDSMITH AND LEV GRINGAUZ
A suburban Minneapolis synagogue closed in the early hours of Friday morning after receiving “a specific threat of violence” — about one day after 32 headstones were knocked down at a nearby Jewish cemetery. Although local officials do not believe at this time that the two incidents are linked, their timing and close proximity has prompted worry among Jews in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area during the High Holidays. Read Here
BURLINGTON, VT BDS RESOLUTION TO BE WITHDRAWN AS SPONSOR CITES CONCERNS ABOUT ANTISEMITISM
By ASAF SHALEV
The sponsor of a bill that would have made Burlington, Vermont, the first city in America to divest from Israel is withdrawing his legislation, citing concerns that it would promote antisemitism. Councilmember Ali Dieng, who sponsored the resolution, said that he would withdraw it and refer the resolution for reconsideration at the council’s racial equity committee. The city’s Jewish mayor also publicly expressed concerns about the resolution. Read Here
ARIZONA GOP STATE SENATOR LIKENED COVID VACCINES TO THE HOLOCAUST, TWEETED A SWASTIKA AND TOLD A JEWISH GROUP TO ‘LEARN YOUR HISTORY’
By JEROD MACDONALD-EVOY
AT ANTI-ARMS RALLY, REINSTATED LABOUR PARTY MEMBER CHANTS FOR ISRAEL’S DESTRUCTION
A member of the British Labour Party who was recently reinstated after being suspended last year was reported to the party again after chanting for Israel’s destruction. Labour councillor Sam Gorst joined former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at an anti-arms rally on Sept. 11 and was filmed chanting “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” which calls for the genocide of Israel. Read Here
UNKNOWN PEOPLE BROKE THE WINDOW OF THE SYNAGOGUE IN MANNHEIM
By Eli Nahum
During an inspection tour early, police patrols at the synagogue in Mannheim heard a thud on the back of the building. It turns out that a stranger smashed the pane of a window with a blunt object. During the subsequent search, the police officers found a witness who claims to have observed the crime. He explains that he saw a 20-year-old perpetrator with black curly hair and sweatpants with white stripes.
TORONTO POLICE ARREST ‘SWASTIKA MAN’ FOR THIRD ANTISEMITIC ATTACK IN TWO MONTHS
By Algemeiner Staff
A Toronto resident dubbed “Swastika Man” after being photographed with the Nazi symbol drawn on his chest is in the custody of police, charged with a third antisemitic assault in the space of two months. Michael Park, 32, appeared in court over an incident involving a woman who was waiting on a Toronto subway platform. Park’s victim, Sarah Gillis, said that he approached her while she sat waiting for a train, asking her twice whether she was a Jew and gave a Nazi salute. Park abruptly grabbed Gillis, who is not Jewish, forcing her into a headlock before another man intervened, pulling him off.
FRENCH COPS ARREST RINGLEADER OF VIOLENT ASSAULT ON JEWISH MAN IN LYON
By Algemeiner Staff
Police in the French city of Lyon have arrested the ringleader of an antisemitic attack on a Jewish man wearing a kippa. The unnamed man was set upon by a gang of five assailants as he walked through the Guillotière district of Lyon. The ringleader, who is reported to be a minor, allegedly called the victim a “dirty Jew.” After the victim remonstrated against the insult, he was punched and kicked by the gang. Police officers who had been attending to a separate incident nearby arrived at the scene and arrested the ringleader
OTHER WORLD NEWS
AT DUTCH COVID PROTEST, MEN DRESSED AS NAZIS MOCK ARREST OF PARTICIPANT WEARING YELLOW STAR
By CNAAN LIPHSHIZ
Several men dressed like Nazis were seen pretending to arrest a man wearing a yellow star as part of a rally against COVID-19 measures in the Netherlands. Saturday’s incident in Urk, near Amsterdam, was the latest among the hundreds of rallies worldwide in which protesters have drawn what they regard as parallels between the persecution of Jews by Nazis to rules meant to curb the spread of the virus. But the protest in Urk was unusual because of its theatrics and the fact that it happened where the Nazis actually rounded up Jews at gunpoint.
CRUDELY ANTISEMITIC BOOKS SOLD OUTSIDE WARSAW CHURCH AS TOP POLISH LEADERS ATTEND BEATIFICATION CEREMONY OF REVERED CATHOLIC FIGURES
By Ben Cohen
Piles of antisemitic literature with titles such as “Scum and the Jews in Today’s Poland” were prominently on sale outside Warsaw’s main church, as top Polish and Vatican political and religious leaders gathered inside for the beatification ceremony of two much-revered Catholic figures. Wojciech Karpieszuk, a journalist, wrote a first person account of his reaction to the books he saw on sale, stressing his profound unease at the lack of any protest from the thousands of worshipers who were attending the beatification.
JEWISH CEMETERY IN IOANNINA VANDALIZED FOR THE SECOND TIME IN UNDER A MONTH
By Greek City Times
THE MIDDLE EAST
LOCAL GEORGIA SCHOOL BOARD CONFIRMS INVESTIGATION OF ‘HAIL HITLER’ GRAFFITI SCRAWLED IN BATHROOM OF HIGH SCHOOL IN COBB COUNTY
By Dion J. Pierre
The Cobb County School Board in Marietta, Georgia is investigating the daubing of antisemitic graffiti on a bathroom wall of Alan C. Pope High School. Several students, who have since been identified and interviewed by school officials, graffitied “Hail Hitler” and two swastikas on a quadrant of wall tiles above a row of urinals. A Cobb County District spokesman called the vandalism “unacceptable” and said, “The principal has engaged with community groups who have been affected by this student behavior, and all applicable District policy and law will be applied.”
ANALYSIS & OP-EDS
GOVERNMENT & POLICY
IN HUNGARY, POPE SAYS ANTISEMITISM ‘FUSE’ MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO BURN
Pope Francis called for vigilance against a rise in antisemitism, saying during a brief trip to Hungary this was a “fuse that must not be allowed to burn.” More than half a million Hungarian Jews were killed in the Holocaust, which destroyed a once-vibrant culture across the country. “I think of the threat of antisemitism still lurking in Europe and elsewhere,” the pope said in an ecumenical meeting in Budapest with leaders of other Christian religions and Jews. “This is a fuse that must not be allowed to burn. And the best way to defuse it is to work together, positively, and to promote fraternity,” he said.
U.N. AMBASSADORS HAIL ‘NEW REGION’ IN MARKING ABRAHAM ACCORDS’ ANNIVERSARY
By Melissa Weiss
United Nations ambassadors from the U.S., Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Bahrain gathered at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York for an event commemorating the first anniversary of the signing of the Abraham Accords. In the months following the Accords’ signing last fall, Morocco and Sudan also reached normalization agreements with Israel. Addressing the roughly 70 attendees, mostly ambassadors representing other countries at the United Nations and Jewish communal leaders, Israel’s Ambassador to the U.N. Gilad Erdan called the agreement “the best representation of practicing tolerance and living in peace with our neighbors.”
FROM POLITICIANS TO PEOPLE, HOW THE ABRAHAM ACCORDS SET IN MOTION GRASSROOTS PEACEBUILDING
By Tamara Zieve
For Asher Fredman, the historic signing of the Abraham Accords between Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates one year ago enabled him to put to the test a long-held belief of his: that peace would rise from the ground up, from bringing people together. But until August 2020, when the Abraham Accords were announced, he had never had a conversation with anyone from the Gulf. At that moment Fredman had the thought: “We have an incredible opportunity here to realize this idea we’ve been talking about, this vision that we’ve been discussing for years.” He immediately got to work, investing time and effort into building and developing connections between the three countries.
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, 330 organizations and 341,000 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.