Minister of Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett on Sunday presented the Ministry’s 2016 Annual Antisemitism Report to the cabinet. The report shows two conflicting trends, a decrease in violent anti-Semitics attacks, and an increase in anti-Semitic propaganda and rhetoric, especially on the internet and social media, which is playing an increasingly conspicuous role in disseminating anti-Semitic content and incitement.
The report focused on the need to legally redefine anti-Semitism so it includes “alt anti-Semitism”. Alt anti-Semitism refers to anti-Semitism masquerading as merely anti-Israel.
The report cites the BDS (Boycott, Divest and Sanctions) movement as the prime purveyor of alt anti-Semitism. “In the guise of opposing Israel’s policies, the movement in reality promotes a virulently anti-Israeli agenda, aimed at delegitimizing Israel’s right to exist, and fomenting an anti-Jewish atmosphere, especially on university campuses”. Most of the groups disseminating alt anti-Semitism are from the radical left.
The report referred to a recent document written in collaboration with the Kantor Center for European Jewry examining the issue of the BDS within the legal framework of anti-discrimination and anti-semitism laws along with international, European and specific state legal systems.
“The Anti-Semitism Report was written with the insight that the atmosphere of boycott against Israel creates a hostile and violent climate for Jews in the Diaspora, and therefore has to be defined as anti-Semitic,” argued the report.
The report recorded a 137 percent increase of anti-Semitic incidents in Germany (461 incidents in 2016 reported compared to 194 in 2015). Most of these came from the traditionally anti-Semitic German extreme right, which has gained unprecedented public support in the wake of the refugee crisis. In the UK there was a 62 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents, the majority from the right wing.
France’s attempts to combat anti-Semitism have proven successful, with a decrease of 65 percent decrease in anti-Semitic incidents. This shows that when a government is determined to address the problem it can achieve results.
In the United States, there was an increase of 45 percent of anti-Semitic cases on campuses, along with twice as many events cancelled by of Jewish students organizations compared to the previous year.
The increase of anti-Semitic statements made by politicians is part of the overall trend of the strengthening of both the extreme nationalist-populist right, and the radical globalist left.
Jacob Haguel, Deputy Chairman of the World Zionist Organization, responded to the data at the cabinet meeting: “The handwriting was and still is on the wall – many Diaspora Jews are afraid to reveal their religion, they believe that the anti-Semitic incidents in their countries have become commonplace and are not reported,” he argued.
“And what’s more severe: Blurring the lines between criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism inevitably leads to an increase in anti-Semitism around the world,” Haguel stated.