Contemporary Global Anti-Semitism:A Report Provided to the United States CongressPDF version
U.S. Department of State
Tom Lantos, 1928-2008
May every conscience remember that anti-Semitism is always wrong and is always dangerous, may every voice speak out against anti-Semitism, and may all of us have the civic courage to take action against anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance whenever and wherever they arise.
"The Jewish people have seen, over the years and over the centuries, that hate prepares the way for violence. The refusal to expose and confront intolerance can lead to crimes beyond imagining. So we have a duty to expose and confront anti-Semitism, wherever it is found.”
President George W. Bush
“Gathered in this place we are reminded that such immense cruelty did not happen in a far-away, uncivilized corner of the world, but rather in the very heart of the civilized world.…The story of the [concentration] camps reminds us that evil is real, and must be called by its name, and must be confronted. We are reminded that anti-Semitism may begin with words, but rarely stops with words...and the message of intolerance and hatred must be opposed before it turns into acts of horror.”
Contemporary Global Anti-Semitism Report
Anti-Semitism is one of the oldest forms of malicious intolerance and violates the precepts of human dignity and equality that are fundamental to a free and peaceful society.
History has shown that wherever anti-Semitism has gone unchecked, the persecution of others has been present or not far behind.
Defeating anti-Semitism must be a cause of great importance not only for Jews, but for all people who value humanity and justice and want to live in a more tolerant, peaceful world. Together, we must continue our efforts to monitor and combat anti-Semitism in all of its forms wherever and whenever it occurs.
Gregg J. Rickman,
Table of Contents
Appendix One—Examples of Anti-Semitic Incidents
In response to rising anti-Semitism worldwide, including in some of the strongest democracies, the U.S. Congress passed the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004. On October 16, 2004, President George W. Bush signed the legislation into law (Public Law 108-332).
The Act requires the U.S. Department of State to document and combat acts of anti-Semitism globally. To advance these goals, the Act mandated a one-time report on anti-Semitic acts, which the U.S. Department of State submitted to the U.S. Congress in January 2005.
The Act also established within the U.S. Department of State an Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism. On May 22, 2006, Gregg Rickman was sworn in by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as the first Special Envoy.
The U.S. Department of State’s January 2005 Report on Global Anti-Semitism surveyed anti-Semitic incidents throughout the world. The annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices and the annual Report on International Religious Freedom include country-by-country assessments of the nature and extent of acts of anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic incitement. The Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism contributes to the anti-Semitism sections of these annual surveys, pursuant to the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act. Both reports have revealed that incidents of anti-Semitism have become more frequent in recent years.
Consistent with the U.S. Department of State’s commitment to assess and counter anti-Semitism, this report is provided to the U.S. Congress to further assess contemporary anti-Semitism by exploring anti-Semitic themes and practices.
This report is meant to be used as a resource for increasing understanding of and informing public discourse about contemporary forms of anti-Semitism and for shaping policies to combat anti-Semitism worldwide.
The U.S. Department of State prepared this report using information from U.S. Embassies, foreign government officials, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), Jewish and other religious leaders, journalists, roundtable discussions, published reports, Jewish communities, and victims of anti-Semitic crime.
The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Public Affairs provided editorial review.
This report focuses on the following three areas:
While the report describes many measures that foreign governments have adopted to combat anti-Semitism, it does not endorse any such measures that prohibit conduct that would be protected under the U.S. Constitution.
Because the mandate of the U.S. Department of State pertains to foreign countries, this report does not include a review of anti-Semitism within the United States, where anti-Semitism also remains a problem.
This report is not intended to be an exhaustive compendium of all global anti-Semitic incidents. Rather, illustrative examples are used to shed light on the adaptive phenomenon of contemporary anti-Semitism.
Over the last decade, U.S. Embassies and Consulates have reported an upsurge in anti-Semitism. This rise in anti-Semitism has been documented in the U.S. Department of State’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices and its annual Report on International Religious Freedom.
This same trend has been reported with concern by other governments, multilateral institutions, and world leaders. For example:
Since 2003, the 56-nation Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has convened six major forums addressing anti-Semitism, at which national leaders underscored their commitment to combat anti-Semitism at home and abroad. The OSCE Conference on Anti-Semitism held in Berlin in April 2004 culminated in the issuance of a declaration (“The Berlin Declaration”) that, “Recogniz[es] that anti-Semitism…has assumed new forms and expressions, which, along with other forms of intolerance, pose a threat to democracy, the values of civilization and, therefore, to overall security.” The Declaration also states, “unambiguously that international developments or political issues, including those in Israel or elsewhere in the Middle East, never justify anti-Semitism.”
The OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) notes in its 2006 annual report Hate Crimes in the OSCE Region: Incidents and Responses, “Anti-Semitic incidents and crimes continued to threaten stability and security in the OSCE region, remaining at high levels in terms of both frequency and intensity.”
In December 2006, The European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) published a Summary Overview of the Situation in the European Union 2001-2005, which documents an increase in anti-Semitism.
In the United Kingdom, an All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Anti-Semitism launched an investigation into anti-Semitism. The Inquiry produced a September 2006 report, which states: “It is clear that violence, desecration of property, and intimidation directed towards Jews is on the rise.”
In June 2007, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe issued Resolution 1563, which notes: “The persistence and escalation of anti-Semitic phenomena…[and that] far from having been eliminated, anti-Semitism is today on the rise in Europe. It appears in a variety of forms and is becoming relatively commonplace.”
This report is intended to provide a broad overview of the state of anti-Semitism globally. However, it is important to note the challenge of collecting this information, particularly in closed societies, as we must rely on reported anti-Semitic incidents. Thus, available statistics tend to reflect anti-Semitic incidents that occur in open, democratic countries that allow transparent monitoring of societal conditions such as anti-Semitism. In contrast, information about anti-Semitic incidents in closed societies is largely unavailable, particularly because nongovernmental groups and scholars reporting from closed societies risk persecution. Indeed, a major challenge in eradicating anti-Semitism is directly linked to that of promoting transparency and accountability in countries that are less than fully free. Finally, since statistics focus on actual attacks against Jews and facilities used by Jews, they do not capture more generalized anti-Semitic attitudes or restrictions, such as those reflected by anti-Semitic political cartoons, or anti-Semitic behavior in countries where there is not a significant Jewish population.
Finally, we note that the State Department’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices and International Religious Freedom Report (both of which are available at www.state.gov/g/drl) provide the most current, specific, country-by-country examples of reported anti-Semitic incidents.
Contemporary anti-Semitism manifests itself in both overt and subtle ways, both in places where sizeable Jewish communities are located and where few Jews live. Anti-Semitic crimes range from acts of violence, including terrorist attacks against Jews, to the desecration and destruction of Jewish property such as synagogues and cemeteries. Anti-Semitic rhetoric, conspiracy theories, and other propaganda circulate widely and rapidly by satellite television, radio, and the Internet.
Traditional forms of anti-Semitism persist and can be found across the globe. Classic anti-Semitic screeds, such as The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion and Mein Kampf, remain commonplace. Jews continue to be accused of blood libel, dual loyalty, and undue influence on government policy and the media, and the symbols and images associated with age-old forms of anti-Semitism endure. These blatant forms of anti-Semitism, often linked with Nazism and fascism, are considered unacceptable by the mainstream in the democratic nations of Western Europe, North America, and beyond, but they are embraced and employed by the extreme fringe.
Anti-Semitism has proven to be an adaptive phenomenon. New forms of anti-Semitism have evolved. They often incorporate elements of traditional anti-Semitism. However, the distinguishing feature of the new anti-Semitism is criticism of Zionism or Israeli policy that—whether intentionally or unintentionally—has the effect of promoting prejudice against all Jews by demonizing Israel and Israelis, and attributing Israel’s perceived faults to its Jewish character.
This new anti-Semitism is common throughout the Middle East and in Muslim communities in Europe, but it is not confined to these populations. For example, various United Nations bodies are asked each year on multiple occasions to commission investigations of what often are sensationalized reports of alleged atrocities and other violations of human rights by Israel. Various bodies have been set up within the UN system with the sole purpose of reporting on what is assumed to be ongoing, abusive Israeli behavior. The motive for such actions may be to defuse an immediate crisis, to show others in the Middle East that there are credible means of addressing their concerns other than through resort to violence, or to pursue other legitimate ends. But the collective effect of unremitting criticism of Israel, coupled with a failure to pay attention to regimes that are demonstrably guilty of grave violations, has the effect of reinforcing the notion that the Jewish state is one of the sources, if not the greatest source, of abuse of the rights of others, and thus intentionally or not encourages anti-Semitism.
Comparing contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis is increasingly commonplace. Anti-Semitism couched as criticism of Zionism or Israel often escapes condemnation since it can be more subtle than traditional forms of anti-Semitism, and promoting anti-Semitic attitudes may not be the conscious intent of the purveyor. Israel’s policies and practices must be subject to responsible criticism and scrutiny to the same degree as those of any other country. At the same time, those criticizing Israel have a responsibility to consider the effect their actions may have in prompting hatred of Jews. For example, at times hostility toward Israel has translated into physical violence directed at Jews in general. There was, for example, a sharp upsurge in anti-Semitic incidents worldwide during the conflict between Hizballah and Israel in the summer of 2006.
Governments are increasingly recognized as having a responsibility to work against societal anti-Semitism. But instead of taking action to fight the fires of anti-Semitism, some irresponsible leaders and governments fan the flames of anti-Semitic hatred within their own societies and even beyond their borders. Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has actively promoted Holocaust denial, Iran’s Jewish population faces official discrimination, and the official media outlets regularly produce anti-Semitic propaganda. The Syrian government routinely demonizes Jews through public statements and official propaganda. In Belarus, state enterprises freely produce and distribute anti-Semitic material. And in Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez has publicly demonized Israel and utilized stereotypes about Jewish financial influence and control, while Venezuela’s government-sponsored mass media have become vehicles for anti-Semitic discourse, as have government news media in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Elsewhere, despite official condemnation and efforts to combat the problem, societal anti-Semitism continues to exist. In Poland, the conservative Catholic radio station Radio Maryja is one of Europe’s most blatantly anti-Semitic media venues. The Interregional Academy of Personnel Management, a private institution in Ukraine commonly known by the acronym MAUP, is one of the most persistent anti-Semitic institutions in Eastern Europe. In Russia and other countries where xenophobia is widespread, such as some in Central and Eastern Europe, traditional anti-Semitism remains a problem. In France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere, anti-Semitic violence remains a significant concern. Recent increases in anti-Semitic incidents have been documented in Argentina, Australia, Canada, South Africa, and beyond.
Today, more than 60 years after the Holocaust, anti-Semitism is not just a fact of history, it is a current event. Around the globe, responsible governments, intergovernmental organizations, nongovernmental groups, religious leaders, other respected figures, and ordinary men and women are working to reverse the disturbing trends documented in this report. Much more remains to be done in key areas of education, tolerance promotion, legislation, and law enforcement before anti-Semitism, in all its ugly forms, finally is consigned to the past.
A widely accepted definition of anti-Semitism can be useful in setting the parameters of the issue. Such a definition also helps to identify the statistics that are needed and focuses attention on issues that policy initiatives should address.
The definition of anti-Semitism has been the focus of innumerable discussions and studies. The definition has evolved over the centuries depending upon the time, the place, and the circumstances.
According to the current edition of Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, which continues to use an 1882 definition, anti-Semitism is “hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group.” While the basic elements of this definition remain applicable, anti-Semitism is an adaptive phenomenon and continues to take on new forms. Efforts have been underway this past decade to determine an approach for collecting data on anti-Semitism that corresponds to its contemporary manifestations.
The European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC)—in close collaboration with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, international experts on anti-Semitism, and civil society organizations—began discussing a common approach to data collection on anti-Semitism. This effort led to the drafting of a Working Definition of Anti-Semitism. The EUMC’s working definition provides a useful framework for identifying and understanding the problem and is adopted for the purposes of this report:
“Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
Because the working definition is broad, the EUMC provides explanatory text that discusses the kinds of acts that could be considered anti-Semitic:
“Such manifestations [of anti-Semitism] could also target the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. Anti-Semitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used to blame Jews for 'why things go wrong.’ It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action, and employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.
Contemporary examples of anti-Semitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:
Examples of the ways in which anti-Semitism manifests itself with regard to the state of Israel taking into account the overall context could include:
The EUMC makes clear, however, that criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded in itself as anti-Semitic.
“My name is Daniel Pearl. I am a Jewish American from Encino, California. My father is Jewish. My mother is Jewish. I am Jewish.”
Daniel Pearl, February 2002, moments before he was beheaded by terrorists in Karachi, Pakistan.
Chapter One: Anti-Semitic Incidents
Over much of the past decade, U.S. Embassies worldwide have noted an increase in anti-Semitic incidents, such as attacks on Jewish people, property, community institutions, and religious facilities. Other governments, international institutions, and nongovernmental groups have documented similar trends, including the United Kingdom Parliament, the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), and Human Rights First.
Reinforcing these findings, in 2006 Tel Aviv University’s Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism, which produces the most comprehensive, global statistical analysis of anti-Semitic incidents, saw the highest number of physical, verbal, and visual manifestations of reported anti-Semitism since 2000. There were 593 cases of major anti-Semitic incidents registered worldwide (compared to 406 in 2005). The sharp increase included major attacks perpetrated with a weapon and intent to kill (19 compared to 15 in 2005) and serious incidents of violence and vandalism aimed at Jewish persons, property, and institutions (574 compared to 391 in 2005).
Geographic Breakdown of 593 Major Anti-Semitic Incidents Against Jewish Individuals and Facilities in 2006 (Based on Roth Institute Statistics):
Western Europe: 324 major incidents
North America: 103 major incidents
CIS and Baltic States: 80 major incidents
Oceania: 50 major incidents
Africa: 15 major incidents
Latin America: 11 major incidents
Eastern Europe: 10 major incidents
The Roth Institute’s statistics reflect anti-Semitic incidents chiefly against Jews and facilities used by Jews where they generally are allowed the freedom to live and express themselves—it does not capture more generalized anti-Semitic attitudes or restrictions. This explains why the Middle East is not listed. These statistics also need to be seen in the proper context. The Roth Institute receives information from a variety of reporting sources, including multinational and national NGOs, governmental organizations, and research institutes. Because open, democratic governments tend to allow NGOs to gather information freely about societal conditions and also are apt to report such information themselves, global statistics about anti-Semitic incidents are disproportionately skewed against Western democratic countries. Statistical analysis also is complicated by the fact that some countries record attacks against Jews as “hooliganism” or ordinary criminal attacks, without recording the anti-Semitic nature of a crime; thus, such attacks often are not reflected in national statistics. In addition, countries’ differing data collection methodologies complicate efforts to make accurate cross-country comparisons on anti-Semitic crimes.
According to the Roth Institute data, of the 593 major incidents (against Jews, schools, community centers, cemeteries, memorials, synagogues, and private property), the year 2006 also saw a sharp increase in the number of reported physical attacks on Jews—277 compared to 133 in 2005. Such assaults mostly took place in schools, at the workplace, and in streets near Jewish institutions, and usually were unplanned and opportunistic. While reports of desecration of cemeteries and memorials remained roughly on the same level as in 2005, 50% more schools and community centers were reported to be attacked, and 105 synagogues were reported damaged, compared to 64 in 2005.
In addition to increases in major incidents, such as serious violent attacks and cases of actual damage to property, a number of countries also experienced increases in overall anti-Semitic incidents, including non-violent incidents such as graffiti and verbal assaults.
Increases in Major and Non-Major Anti-Semitic Incidents in 2006
Increases in reported anti-Semitic incidents and expressions of anti-Semitism in 2006 took place in the following countries:
Descriptions of some of the major contemporary anti-Semitic incidents follow, including of terrorist attacks, violence, abuse, property damage, and cemetery desecration. The examples cited illustrate the wide-ranging and geographically diverse nature of some of the most easily identifiable acts of anti-Semitism.
Terrorist attacks and threats aimed at Jewish communities worldwide have been linked to Islamist terrorist groups, which, in the name of global jihad, have declared their intentions to attack Jews and Jewish targets. Some of the attacks also have been linked to state-sponsors of terrorism. Significant incidents include:
[Buenos Aires, July 18, 2006. Thousands of friends and relatives of the 85 victims of the bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center gather to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the most lethal contemporary anti-Semitic terrorist attack. (AP Photo)]
[Relatives of Murat Sahin, a Turkish man who was killed during the Neve Shalom Synagogue bombing, carry his photographs during a ceremony near the synagogue in Istanbul, Turkey, November, 15, 2006. Relatives and friends gathered to commemorate the 2003 suicide attack on the synagogue. (AP Photo)]
Even prior to these terrorist attacks, the Moroccan, Tunisian, and Turkish governments took very seriously their responsibilities to protect non-Muslim communities and have offered security and/or warnings of possible attacks to those communities. Since the attacks, they have increased their protective measures even further. Similarly, Argentina takes special steps to protect its Jewish community from attack.
Yet, despite security efforts by governments, there continue to be on-going reports of large-scale attacks planned against the Jewish community worldwide. In 2006, there were reports of a potential attack against a synagogue and other targets in Oslo, Norway and reports of an explosive device found outside a synagogue in Bastia, on the island of Corsica, France. These and other terrorist plots against Jewish entities were disrupted, but the fear of a terrorist attack is commonplace among Jewish populations around the world. Many Jewish communities, schools, museums, and synagogues have instituted high levels of security.
Worldwide anti-Semitic incidents include direct and violent attacks on Jews, sometimes leading to serious injury or death. In all of the following examples, the Jewishness of the victim was the reason for the attack.
[Rabbi Yitzak Kogan stands in the Chabad Bronnaya synagogue in downtown Moscow, the morning of January 12, 2006, the day after a man attacked congregants with a knife. Both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Foreign Ministry publicly condemned the attack. (AP Photo)]
[Ruth Halimi displays a photo of her son Ilan on February 23, 2006, a week after he was killed in an incident that revived concerns of anti-Semitism in France. (AP Photo)]
Verbal anti-Semitic abuse and intimidation of both Jewish individuals and institutions continues to be a societal problem in countries around the globe. While such abuse does not involve physical harm, it raises the level of anxiety within Jewish communities and frequently includes the threat of physical attack. The following are illustrative examples of such anti-Semitic acts.
In Buenos Aires, Argentina, on October 6, 2007, an Orthodox Jewish woman was walking near the Shoppin Abasto shopping center when a skinhead raised his hand in the Nazi salute and shouted: “You Jewish [expletive]! They should have done all of you in!”
While anti-Jewish discrimination in professional sports has become increasingly rare, incidents of anti-Semitic shouts, chants, and songs at soccer events continue to be reported over a wide geographic area.
In the United Kingdom, in late September 2007, Chelsea Chairman Bruce Buck claimed that Chelsea fans have been making anti-Semitic comments about the team’s new Jewish manager, Avraham Grant.
In Prague, Czech Republic, on August 17, 2007, Sparta Prague fans seeking to insult the opposing team chanted “Jude” (the German word for Jew) at its Champions League qualifying match against the Arsenal team from the United Kingdom.
In Poland, soccer fans of opposing teams have been known to call each other “Jew” as a term of abuse.
In Paris, France, on November 26, 2006, a mob of up to 300 men chased a French fan of the Tel Aviv soccer team after a game, shouting “dirty Jew” and “fat Jew,” while making Nazi salutes and other gestures; an undercover police officer shot and killed one of the assailants while protecting the fan.
In Pamplona, Spain, on November 25, 2006, Deportivo La Coruna fans yelled anti-Jewish slurs at the team’s Israeli goalkeeper Dudu Awate.
In Argentina, on November 21, 2006, during a soccer match, Defensores de Belgrano fans chanted anti-Semitic songs against Atlanta fans and players.
In Berlin, Germany, on September 26, 2006, VSG Altglienicke fans chanted, “Gas the Jews” and “Auschwitz is back” at Jewish soccer team TuS Makkabi Berlin.
In Italy, on July 11, 2006, neo-Nazis celebrating Italy’s World Cup victory in the Jewish quarter of Rome vandalized walls, doors, and vehicles with swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti.
Vandalism, which often is severe and premeditated, is another manifestation of anti-Semitism. With the exception of cases of anti-Semitic graffiti and minor vandalism, the governments concerned condemned and investigated all of the following acts.
In Kyiv, Ukraine, on October 31, 2007, the Simcha school, a Chabad institution, was damaged by arson. Four classrooms had serious damage but classes resumed within two days of the fire.
[Members of a Swiss fire brigade work at the Hekhal Hanes synagogue in Geneva, Switzerland, May 24, 2007. More than 40 firefighters were needed to extinguish the blaze, which was caused by arson. (AP Photo)]
[A Jewish community leader is about to enter the swastika-smeared door of the Vladivostok synagogue as the chief rabbi of Vladivostok and the Far Eastern Primorsky region points, March 2, 2007. (AP Photo)]
While it sometimes is difficult to distinguish random vandalism from vandalism which has a distinct anti-Semitic intent, cemetery desecration is a specific form of property damage often targeted at the Jewish community.
[An Italian carabinieri paramilitary police officer looks at one of the tombs damaged in a Jewish cemetery in Milan, Italy, May 16, 2006. About 40 tombstones in Milan’s Jewish cemetery were knocked over the prior evening. (AP Photo)]
“The crimes with which the Jews have been charged in the course of history—crimes which were used to justify the atrocities perpetrated against them—have changed in rapid succession. They were supposed to have poisoned wells. They were said to have murdered children for ritual purposes. They were falsely charged with a systematic attempt at the economic domination and exploitation of all mankind. Pseudo-scientific books were written to brand them an inferior, dangerous race. They were reputed to foment wars and revolutions for their own selfish purposes. They were presented at once as dangerous innovators and as enemies of true progress. They were charged with falsifying the culture of nations by penetrating the national life under the guise of becoming assimilated. In the same breath they were accused of being so inflexible that it was impossible for them to fit into any society.”
Albert Einstein in Collier’s Magazine, November 1938, immediately following Kristallnacht, the “night of broken glass.”
As noted in the EUMC Working Definition of Anti-Semitism, “anti-Semitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it often is used to blame Jews for ‘why things go wrong.’” The EUMC includes as contemporary examples of anti-Semitism: “Making mendacious, dehumanizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews as such or the power of Jews as a collective—such as…the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy or of Jews controlling the media, economy, government or other societal institutions.”
Anti-Semitism is at the root of numerous contemporary conspiracy theories, including the following examples of false claims.
Anti-Semitic conspiracy theories play to widespread hatreds and suspicions. The examples above did not arise spontaneously. In many cases, they have been deliberately concocted. An examination of each follows:
The first known appearance of the spurious claim that “4,000 Jews” or “4,000 Israelis” knew about the September 11, 2001 attacks beforehand was on Hizballah’s Al-Manar television on September 17, 2001. The commentator claimed that 4,000 Israelis who worked at the World Trade Center, “Remarkably, did not show up in their jobs” on September 11.
The 4,000 figure apparently came from an article entitled “Hundreds of Israelis missing in World Trade Center attack,” which appeared in the September 12 Internet edition of the Jerusalem Post. It stated, “The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem has so far received the names of 4,000 Israelis believed to have been in the areas of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon at the time of the attacks”—in other words, in New York City and Washington, DC.
This tentative estimate that 4,000 Israelis had been in two of the largest metropolitan areas of the United States in early September 2001 was then transformed into the false claim that 4,000 Israelis or Jews did not report for work at the World Trade Center on September 11. A further elaboration of this falsehood claims that Jews who worked at the World Trade Center had been warned by the Israeli foreign intelligence service, Mossad, not to go to work that day. A related false claim is that, two days before the attacks, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon supposedly cancelled a trip to New York City.
“Syria has documented proof of the Zionist regime’s involvement in the September 11 terror attacks on the United States …[That] 4,000 Jews employed at the World Trade Center did not show up for work before the attack clearly attests to Zionist involvement in these attacks.”
The Syrian ambassador to Iran, Turki Muhammad Saqr, at a conference held at the Iranian Foreign Ministry on October 24, 2001
The false belief that Israel and Jews were behind the September 11th attacks also was spread visually.
In the above cartoon, which appeared June 23, 2002 in Al-Watan Arabic daily newspaper in Qatar, Ariel Sharon is shown watching on the sidelines as an Israeli plane crashes into the World Trade Center, which spells the words “the peace.”
[Hundreds of female members of Jamat-e-Islami, a Sunni political and religious party, march October 6, 2001 in Islamabad, Pakistan. In the above photo, demonstrators carry a placard reading “Zionist=Terrorist.” The group condemned the terrorist attacks in the United States but blamed the action on Zionist terrorists rather than associates of Osama bin Laden. (AP Photo)]
The World Trade Center claim has been widely believed. An October 13, 2001 story in The Washington Post reported:
13% of Pakistanis questioned about the story of 4,000 Jewish survivors described it as a “rumor,” 71% thought it was a “possible fact,” and only 16% thought it was “baseless.”
The fact is, there was no mass absence of any group of people at the World Trade Center on September 11. An estimated 10 to 15% of the 2,071 occupants of the World Trade Center who died were Jewish, as attested to by the numerous funerals of World Trade Center victims at synagogues and temples.
The false claim that the October 2002 Bali bombing was caused by an Israeli “mini-nuke” was invented by Joe Vialls, an anti-Semitic Australian conspiracy theorist and self-styled “private investigator” who died in 2005. Vialls had a penchant for elaborate, bizarre conspiracy theories and unsubstantiated claims. The “mini-nuke” claim did not spread widely, although it was reported in the Indonesian press.
One week after the South and Southeast Asian tsunami in December 2004, a January 1, 2005 article by Mahmud Bakri in the sensationalist, nominally independent Egyptian newspaper Al-Usbu suggested that the tsunami had been caused by underwater U.S.-Israeli-Indian nuclear tests. The false claim was repeated in the press in Indonesia, Turkey, and elsewhere.
In the December 6, 2004 issue of Al-Usbu, Mustafa Bakri, Mahmud’s brother and the editor of Al-Usbu, falsely claimed that the United States and Israel had secretly collaborated to write and publish a book called The True Quran, which altered some Quranic verses. In fact, a book titled The True Furqan (Furqan is another name for Quran) has been written by evangelical Arab Christians in an attempt to convert Muslims to Christianity. The book’s translator, Dr. Anis Shorroush, states emphatically that none of the book’s authors has any connection with the U.S. Government or Israel.
A conspiracy theory from the 1930s, which still circulates, claims that U.S. founding father Benjamin Franklin warned that Jews are a “great danger” to the United States and should be “excluded by the Constitution.” The so-called “Franklin Prophecy” is a forgery that first appeared in 1934 in a pro-Nazi magazine in the United States. The distinguished historian Charles Beard debunked the forgery in 1935, noting:
“The phraseology of the alleged Prophecy is not that of the 18th century; nor is the language that of Franklin. It contains certain words that belong to contemporary [Nazi] Germany rather than America of Franklin’s period. For example, the word ‘homeland’ was not employed by Jews in Franklin’s time.”
The canards reviewed above appear to be 20th and 21st century variations on the classic conspiracy myth of The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, which asserts that Jews are inherently evil, manipulate world events for their own purposes, and dominate the world. This century-old Czarist forgery was exposed in 1921 as a fabrication, but it continues to be widely popular and influential around the world, including in bookstores throughout the Middle East, parts of Europe, and beyond.
[An image of an English-language edition of The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion. Published by the Islamic Propagation Organization in Tehran, Iran, 1985. (AP Photo)]
[This edition of The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion claims that the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were orchestrated by a Zionist conspiracy. The final chapter predicts the eventual destruction of the state of Israel. Authorized by the Syrian Ministry of Information and published in Damascus, Syria, 2005. (AP Photo)]
In fact, long passages of the Protocols were plagiarized, word-for-word, from a book published in 1864 titled Dialogues in Hell between Machiavelli and Montesquieu, a work of political satire that did not have an anti-Semitic theme but was written to discredit Emperor Napoleon III of France.
South Korean Comic Book Echoed Jewish Conspiracy Theories
In March 2007, a South Korean publisher agreed to pull a best-selling children’s book from stores after an international outcry about the anti-Semitic nature of many of the cartoons. The controversial book, written by a South Korean university professor, was one in a series designed to teach youngsters about other countries in comic book format. The series, “Distant Countries and Neighboring Countries,” sold more than 10 million Korean-language copies. The book on the United States recycles various Jewish conspiracy theories, such as Jewish control of the media, Jews profiting from war, and Jews causing the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center attacks. For example, one comic strip shows a newspaper, a magazine, a television, and a radio and is captioned, “In a word, American public debate belongs to the Jews, and it’s no exaggeration to say that [U.S. media] are the voices of the Jews.”
Another strip shows a man climbing a hill and then facing a brick wall inscribed with a Star of David and a STOP sign. The caption reads: “The final obstacle [to success] is always a fortress called Jews.” The author later acknowledged his mistake and pledged to write, “In a more responsible way.”
Conspiracy theories about alleged predominant Jewish power can have tremendous influence. In two polls commissioned by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which were released in May and July 2007, 60% of those polled in Hungary believe, “Jews have too much power in the business world.” This number was 53% in Spain, 49% in Poland, 42% in Italy, 41% in Switzerland, 37% in Austria, 36% in Belgium, 28% in France, and 21% in Germany. In the same poll, the statement “Jews have too much power in international financial markets,” was deemed as “probably true” by 68% in Spain, 61% in Hungary, 54% in Poland, 43% in Austria, 42% in Italy, 40% in Switzerland and Belgium, 28% in France, and 25% in Germany. Survey data about perceptions of Jewish power in the business world only are available for Europe; they are not available for the Middle East, where such attitudes are reflected in the government-sponsored media (see Chapter 4).
Holocaust Denial and Trivialization
According to the EUMC Working Definition of Anti-Semitism, contemporary examples of anti-Semitism include:
In addition, according to the EUMC, an example of how anti-Semitism manifests itself with regard to the State of Israel includes:
Efforts to deny or minimize the Nazi genocide against the Jews have become one of the most prevalent forms of anti-Semitic discourse. At its core, Holocaust denial relies upon—and furthers—the traditional anti-Semitic myth of a world Jewish conspiracy.
Holocaust deniers explicitly or implicitly reject that the Nazi government and its allies had a systematic policy of exterminating the Jews, killing between five and seven million Jews, and that genocide was carried out at extermination camps using tools of mass murder such as gas chambers.
The Nazis themselves were the first Holocaust deniers. Hitler and the bureaucrats in charge of implementing his plans for a “final solution to the Jewish question” went to great lengths to obscure their involvement and to destroy evidence of their crimes. Nevertheless, ample documentation, extensive survivor and eyewitness testimony, and other forms of evidence survived the Nazis’ attempts to cover-up the Holocaust.
Holocaust deniers often allege inconsistencies in the historic data and dispute the number of victims. For example, deniers note different recollections about the amount of time it took to kill people, claiming that the gas chambers and crematoria were incapable of processing the volume of victims in the alleged timeframe of the atrocities.
Initially, Holocaust deniers primarily were neo-Nazis interested in rehabilitating fascism and restoring the image of Nazi Germany; for such groups, Holocaust denial has an obvious appeal. The neo-Nazis then were joined by other right-wing groups, such as white supremacists, who were drawn to both fascism and anti-Semitism. The neo-Nazis and white supremacists share a belief that Jews invented the Holocaust for financial gain (reparations) and spread this “myth” of the Holocaust via their alleged control of the media.
In addition to outright Holocaust deniers, others trivialize the Holocaust and accuse the Jewish people of exaggerating it as justification for the creation of the State of Israel. The terms “Holocaust industry” and “Shoah business” have come into vogue among those who allege Jewish leaders use the Holocaust for financial and political gain.
For example, in the above image, a Jew is holding a gun labeled “the Holocaust” to a man’s head that is shaped like a globe. Another cartoon caption reads: “Robbery.”
A number of deniers have published articles or books trying to discredit well documented facts, historical research, and eye-witness accounts, all the while casting themselves as martyrs standing up to public opprobrium and censorship.
Denying the Holocaust is a crime in a number of European countries. For instance, Holocaust denial is illegal in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, and Switzerland. Such conduct cannot be criminalized in the United States. The U.S. Constitution protects freedom of expression and, generally, the government may not restrict expression based on its content regardless of the offensiveness of the underlying message.
British citizen David Irving, one of the most infamous deniers, was sentenced to three years in jail for remarks he made in Austria in 1989. At his 2006 trial, however, he admitted that the Nazis did use gas chambers. He said, “I made a mistake by saying there were no gas chambers.…I am absolutely without doubt that the Holocaust took place.” However, he later indicated that he no longer felt remorse for his Holocaust views. Irving is not the only person to have been prosecuted for Holocaust denial; Austria, Belgium, Germany, and France have prosecuted other deniers.
While Holocaust denial began in the 20th century with neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Europe and the United States, in the 21st century it also is found in the Middle East. The potent anti-Semitic assumptions upon which Holocaust denial is founded—primarily the myth of a world Jewish conspiracy—make it an attractive weapon for those seeking to demonize Jews and de-legitimize a major basis for the founding of the State of Israel.
Holocaust denial in the Middle East is a relatively new phenomenon. In the decades that followed the Nazi genocide, the accepted attitude toward the Holocaust in the Middle East had been to acknowledge its occurrence, but to assert that it did not justify the creation of Israel. This attitude appears to have changed. In July 1990, the Palestinian Liberation Organization-affiliated Palestinian Red Crescent published an article in its magazine Balsam claiming that Jews concocted, “The lie concerning the gas chambers.” Gradually, throughout the 1990s, Holocaust denial became commonplace in popular media in the Middle East, particularly in the Palestinian Authority. The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) documents how Syrian, Iranian, and Hamas officials have, since 2000, all made Holocaust denial statements. In 2002, the Zayed Center for Coordination and Follow-up, an Arab League think tank whose Chairman, Sultan Bin Zayed Al Nahayan, served as Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, hosted a Holocaust denial symposium in Abu Dhabi.
In recent years, some Western Holocaust deniers have turned to Muslim countries for help when facing prosecution at home, including Austrian Wolfgang Frohlich and Swiss citizen Jurgen Graf, who both have sought and were given refuge in Iran.
In Their Own Words:
“I want to make it clear to the West and to the German people, which is still being blackmailed because of what Nazism did to the Zionists, or to the Jews. I say that what Israel did to the Palestinian people is many times worse than what Nazism did to the Jews, and there is exaggeration, which has become obsolete, regarding the issue of the Holocaust. We do not deny the facts, but we will not give in to extortion by exaggeration.”
Hamas leader Khaled Mash’al, Al-Jazeera Television, July 16, 2007
“The Holocaust is the biggest institution of investment and trade in history…. The Jews suffered a Holocaust in Germany, and then they start a Holocaust for the Arabs as a compensation for what happened in Germany….”
Qatari journalist Raja An-Naqash, Al-Watan, March 6, 2006
“I agree wholeheartedly with [Iranian] President Ahmadinejad. There was no such a [sic] thing as the ‘Holocaust.’ The so-called ‘Holocaust’ is nothing but Jewish/Zionist propaganda. There is no proof whatsoever that any living Jew was ever gassed or burned in Nazi Germany or in any of the territories that Nazi Germany occupied during World War II. The Holocaust propaganda was started by the Zionist Jews in order to acquire worldwide sympathy for the creation of Israel after World War II.”
Saudi professor Dr. Abdullah Muhammad Sindi, interview with the Iranian Mehr News Agency, December 26, 2005
“First of all, this figure [six million Jews killed during the Holocaust] is greatly exaggerated.…The Zionist lobby and the Jewish Agency use this issue as a club with which they beat and extort the West.”
Iranian columnist for Tehran Times Dr. Hasan Hanizadeh, interview with Iranian Jaam-e Jam 2 TV, December 20, 2005
Under the leadership of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran has promoted Holocaust denial more than any other country. In a December 2005 declaration on live Iranian television, Ahmadinejad said that the Holocaust was a “fairy tale” promoted to justify Israel: “They have created a myth today that they call the massacre of Jews and they consider it a principle above God, religions and the prophets.”
In a conference on December 11-12, 2006, sponsored by the Iranian Foreign Ministry, a group of deniers suggested that the Holocaust was “a myth” and that its victims died from disease (see Chapter 4). Participants included several well known Holocaust deniers and revisionists, as well as leading Western white supremacists, but not a single Holocaust survivor nor any of the world’s recognized Holocaust experts. As Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said at the Conference, “If the official version of the Holocaust is thrown into doubt, then the identity and nature of Israel will be thrown into doubt.”
[Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad adjusts his headset during a government-sponsored conference on Holocaust, Tehran, Iran, December 12, 2006. The participants questioned whether the Holocaust took place. (AP Photo)]
Participants agreed to establish a World Foundation for Holocaust Studies in Tehran and appointed Mohammad-Ali Ramin, a political analyst and advisor to President Ahmadinejad, as the organization’s first secretary general. Participants also selected five Holocaust deniers and revisionists to form a central council to assist the secretary general.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry sponsored the Holocaust Denial conference despite UN General Assembly Resolution 60/7 (November 2005), which designates January 27 as an annual International Day of Commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust. UNGA Resolution 60/7 also rejects any denial of the Holocaust as an historic event, either in full or in part.
Many European and other world leaders condemned the Iranian government for holding the conference and for denying the Holocaust. The UN General Assembly also responded by passing resolution A/61/255 (January 2007), condemning denial of the Holocaust and urging UN member states to reject any and all denial of the Holocaust (see Chapter 7). German NGO groups organized a counter-conference at the same time as Iran’s Holocaust denial conference.
[An Egyptian cyclist rides past graffiti on an Alexandria street that declares: ‘Israel is like a cancer that should be cut out,’ June 12, 2002. The Jewish Star of David is linked to the Nazi swastika in the graffiti. (AP Photo)]
[A Palestinian boy plays by graffiti on a wall equating the Nazi swastika with the Star of David in the northern West Bank refugee camp of Balata, adjacent to the city of Nablus, March 29, 2004. (AP Photo)]
Drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis is increasingly commonplace, as illustrated by the frequent media images of Israel as a “Nazi-state” during the July-August 2006 conflict between Hizballah and Israel. For instance, in Greece on August 16, 2006, Eleftherotypia, the second-largest daily newspaper, published a cartoon depicting an Israeli soldier praying with a rifle emitting a swastika-shaped cloud of smoke.
Also in Greece, the LAOS political party’s weekly newspaper in 2006 accused the Israelis of genocide against the Lebanese people, and a July 15, 2006 editorial stated that if “the Jews continue this way, they will beat Hitler’s number of victims.”
In Syria, on April 26, 2007, the government-owned newspaper Teshreen, with the second-largest distribution in the country, published a cartoon depicting an Israeli telling a Nazi, “We are the same.”
In the United Kingdom in July 2006, Sir Peter Tapsell, a Tory Member of Parliament (MP), told the House of Commons that Israel’s actions against Hizballah in Lebanon were, “A war crime gravely reminiscent of the Nazi atrocity on the Jewish quarter of Warsaw.” In reply, Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett rejected his allegations entirely. In October 2006, another Tory MP, Andrew Turner, suggested to the House of Commons that Israel’s actions in, “attacking civilians from the air…were the tactics of the Nazis in 1939 and 1940….” In response to criticism, including from his fellow MPs, Turner later apologized for his comments.
“It is not anti-Semitic to criticize the policies of the state of Israel, but the line is crossed when Israel or its leaders are demonized or vilified, for example, by the use of Nazi symbols and racist caricatures.”
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, April 28, 2004, OSCE Conference on Anti-Semitism, Berlin, Germany
In addition to outright comparisons between Jews and Nazis, Holocaust terminology and symbols frequently are invoked for commercial purposes, diminishing the gravity of their meaning. In India, in October 2007, a new line of bedspreads called “The Nazi Collection” was promoted; the collection featured swastika decorations. The swastika had been a symbol of good luck in India well before the Nazis adopted it. However, the title of the collection revealed that the intent was to be provocative. On October 2, 2007, in response to protests from Jewish groups, the manufacturer agreed to recall the bedspreads and sent a written apology to the Indian Jewish Federation. In Croatia, in February 2007, a sugar company in Pozega produced and locally distributed sugar packets bearing an image of Adolf Hitler and containing jokes about Holocaust victims in concentration camps.
The use of the Nazi label to tar Jews in general and Israelis in particular trivializes the crimes committed against the Jews during the Holocaust.
2007 ADL Poll Results on the Holocaust
When asked whether “Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust,” the following percent responded “probably true”:
The Netherlands: 31%
United Kingdom: 28%
Public survey data about whether, “Jews still talk too much about…the Holocaust” only is available for Europe; it is not available for the Middle East, where such attitudes are reflected in the government-sponsored media (see Chapter 4).
“Anti-Zionism” in its most basic sense is opposition to “Zionism,” a worldwide Jewish movement that resulted in the establishment and development of the State of Israel. However, the term “anti-Zionism” now has many different meanings, and often is used as a synonym for anti-Semitism.
In contemporary discourse, those who use the terms “Zionism” or “Zionists” as a perjorative often assert that they have no problem with Jewish people; rather, it is the “Zionists” with whom they disagree.
Frequently, no distinction is made between “Zionists” and “Jews,” regardless of whether or not the Jews are Israelis, or whether or not the Jews support the policy of Israel. The two terms often are used interchangeably. Such “anti-Zionist discourse” often employs classic, demonic stereotypes of Jews.
Examples of Anti-Zionist Rhetoric that is Anti-Semitic
“Zionists have triggered this crisis. They’ve taken over the country and are now trying to arrange a salt crisis like they did before perestroika, when there were shortages of tobacco and washing powder. They do it all deliberately.”
A comment by an interviewee on the February 26, 2006 radio report on “panic-buying of salt in Moscow,” according to the transcript from Correspondents’ Report on Australia’s ABC radio station.
“Out of the country Zionist assassin Jews, you only encourage hate and resentment. Get out Marxists of Argentine faculties.”
Graffiti found on September 29, 2006, in nearly all of the men’s bathrooms of the Faculty of the Social Sciences at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“Jew Dogs” and “Zionists Get Out”
Graffiti found on August 6, 2006 in the Caracas neighborhood of Los Chorros, which houses the main Jewish Day School and the Jewish Community Center. The graffiti were signed by the Venezuelan Communist Party.
“In addition to distortion of history, the Zionist Warner Company is also pursuing cultural and political objectives by producing such a film which has a very shallow script. From the cultural point of view, the Zionists and the elements affiliated to the U.S. have tried to launch a propaganda front against ancient and historical roots of Iranians.”
Iranian commentary on Time-Warner Brother’s release of the Hollywood film “300,” as aired on March 13, 2007 by the IRINN television program. The film stirred negative reaction from the Government of Iran and Iranian media.
According to the EUMC Working Definition of Anti-Semitism, contemporary examples of anti-Semitism include accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or to the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own countries.
Throughout history, anti-Semitic detractors have accused Jews of dual loyalty. One of the earliest examples was the suspicion in parts of medieval Christian Europe (especially Iberia) that Jews were in league with some Muslim powers. Another example is the Dreyfus Affair, a scandal in France at the end of the nineteenth century involving a Jewish army officer who was falsely convicted of betraying French military secrets to Jewish interests.
According to Anti-Defamation League polls released in May and July 2007, many Europeans continue to question the loyalty of their Jewish fellow citizens. Approximately half of those surveyed believe that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their own country.
2007 ADL Poll Results on Perceptions of Jewish Loyalty to their Country
When asked whether, “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to this country,” the following percentage of respondents answered “probably true”:
The Netherlands: 46%
United Kingdom: 50%
Those who believe that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their own country tend to believe that Jewish lobbying groups and individual Jews in influential positions in national governments seek to bend policy toward Israel’s interests.
According to the EUMC Working Definition of Anti-Semitism, examples of the ways in which anti-Semitism manifests itself with regard to the State of Israel include using the symbols and images associated with classic anti-Semitism, such as blood libel, to characterize Israel or Israelis.
Perhaps the oldest-surviving anti-Semitic conspiracy theory is that of “blood libel,” or the allegation that Jews perform murders to gather blood for religious purposes. According to this myth, Jews needed Christian blood for the production of matzoh (unleavened bread consumed during the Jewish holiday of Passover).
Blood libel accusations against Jews date back to the ancient Greek author Apion. But it was in the Middle Ages that such accusations became common. The blood libel charge recurred throughout Europe in succeeding centuries, leading to substantial attacks against Jews. Blood libel charges now are fairly uncommon in Europe, but still occur:
In Russia, in January 2005, some 500 persons, including 20 State Duma members, publicly made a blood libel charge in a letter that accused Jews of participating in ritual murder of Christians. The letter was widely condemned by Russian Government and public leaders.
Today, the blood libel myth is common in the Middle East, where it often is spread via Arabic-language and Iranian newspapers, television, radio, websites, and books.
On February 8, 1991, at the UN Human Rights Commission, Syrian delegate Nabila Chaalan said, “We should like to urge all members of this Commission to read this very important work that demonstrates unequivocally the historical reality of Zionist racism.” The Syrian delegate held up the book The Matzah of Zion and quoted from the preface by then Syrian Minister of Defense Major-General Mustapha Tlass, which reads: “The Jew can...kill you and take your blood in order to make his Zionist bread....I hope that I have done my duty in presenting the practices of the enemy of our historic nation. Allah aid this project.”
For example, in Syria in 2003, a show entitled Al-Shattat, or Diaspora, was produced and shown on Hizballah’s Al Manar television station. In Al-Shattat actors graphically depict a Christian child being ritually murdered for his blood by Jews who discuss using the blood to make matzoh.
In Iran, a modern-day variation of this age-old blood libel accuses Israelis of stealing the body parts of Palestinian children, an idea popularized by a television series called Zahra’s Blue Eyes that first aired in December 2004 (see Chapter 4).
In Bahrain in June 2002, the independent newspaper Al-Wasat published a cartoon depicting a Jewish man impaling a swaddled infant on a spear, furthering the anti-Semitic blood libel that Jews kill children.
“Growing up as a child in Saudi Arabia, I remember my teachers, my mom and our neighbors telling us practically on a daily basis that Jews were evil, the sworn enemies of Muslims whose only goal was to destroy Islam. We were never informed about the Holocaust.
Later in Kenya, as a teenager, when Saudi and other Gulf philanthropy reached us in Africa, I remember that the building of mosques and donations to hospitals and the poor went hand in hand with the cursing of Jews. Jews were said to be responsible for the deaths of babies, epidemics like AIDS, for the cause of wars. They were greedy and would do absolutely anything to kill us Muslims. And if we ever wanted to know peace and stability we would have to destroy them before they would wipe us out. For those of us who were not in a position to take arms against the Jews it was enough for us to cup our hands, raise our eyes heavenward and pray to Allah to destroy them.”
Somalia-born former Dutch Member of Parliament, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, “Confronting Holocaust Denial,” International Herald Tribune, December 15, 2006
Traditional anti-Semitism—the overt demonization or degradation of Jews—continues to influence fringe extremist groups in Western Europe, North America, Australia, and other democratic societies. Nazi ideas of racial purity and segregation of different cultures, religions, and races still resonate among such groups. Such groups also have adopted anti-Zionist references and increasingly are exploiting modern technology, notably the Internet, to disseminate messages, build networks, and recruit new adherents (see Chapter 6). Traditional anti-Semitism also is prevalent in parts of Central and Eastern Europe and Russia, where xenophobic attitudes persist.
According to a June 2007 report by Human Rights First entitled, Anti-Semitism: 2007 Hate Crime Survey, in Eastern Europe and the Russian Federation, extreme nationalist political groups have adopted the language of nineteenth century anti-Semitism: “Sectors of the dominant Orthodox churches of the region, and certain Roman Catholic institutions, notably in Poland, have encouraged anti-Semitism and religious and ethnic chauvinism.” According to Human Rights First, a similar situation prevails in Ukraine and other neighboring states, such as Hungary.
The tactics of many anti-Semitic groups include the propagation of conspiracy theories, Holocaust denial, and the attribution to Jews of a satanic and “cosmic” evil. Traditional conspiracy theories claiming Jewish control of global financial systems, the media, the U.S. government, or Hollywood remain widespread. May and July 2007 Anti-Defamation League polls found that 39% of Polish respondents and 26% of Hungarian respondents, respectively, agrees that the Jews are responsible for the death of Christ.
Traditional anti-Semitism also has been subsumed by increasing xenophobia of a more general nature. For example, in Russia, where xenophobic, racial and ethnic attacks are widespread and on the rise, the primary targets of skinheads are foreigners and individuals from the North Caucasus; however, skinheads often express anti-Semitic sentiments as well. This broader attitude of intolerance within such xenophobic movements often can provide a haven for anti-Semitic views and activists.
[Members of the new extreme-right Magyar Garda (Hungarian guard) during their swearing-in ceremony in Budapest, Hungary, August 25, 2007. Magyar Garda members wear uniforms bearing a variation on the red-and-white Arpad Stripes associated with Hungary’s Nazi-aligned Arrow Cross party in power during World War II. (AP Photo)]
Traditional Anti-Semitism in Ukraine: A Case Study on MAUP
The Interregional Academy of Personnel Management, a private institution in Ukraine commonly known by the acronym MAUP, is one of the most persistent anti-Semitic institutions in Eastern Europe. MAUP, which receives significant funding from overseas, is a vocational college that claims to have more than 50,000 students enrolled at campuses in various branches throughout Ukraine and in Eastern Europe. It publishes a monthly journal, Personnel, and a weekly newspaper, Personnel Plus, which are the subjects of an ongoing criminal investigation by the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office. In 2007, MAUP accounted for nearly 90% of all anti-Semitic material published in Ukraine.
In an effort to clamp-down on MAUP’s extremist activities, in March 2006 the Government of Ukraine closed 7 affiliated schools out of approximately 50 across Ukraine, because of “unspecified licensing violations;” the Government of Ukraine closed down 30 more schools before the September 27, 2006 commemoration of the Babyn Yar massacre (the site of the death of 33,171 Jews at the hands of the Nazis in September 1941). In November 2006, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko issued a presidential order to the Security Service of Ukraine and Ministry of Science and Education to investigate manifestations of xenophobia at MAUP. In February 2007, following MAUP’s successful appeal to the Kyiv Commercial Court, the Ministry of Education was ordered to restore the licenses of 26 regional branches. In May 2007, the mayor of Kyiv responded to the opening of a MAUP bookstand selling anti-Semitic literature near the Babyn Yar massacre memorial site by closing it and promising to close other MAUP bookstands in the city. MAUP filed a lawsuit against the mayor for his order to remove the bookstand. At the end of 2007, this lawsuit still was pending.
“The most worrying discovery of this inquiry is that anti-Jewish sentiment is entering the mainstream, appearing in everyday conversations of people who consider themselves neither racist nor prejudiced.”
Labour MP Denis MacShane, Chair of the 2006 U.K. All- Party Parliamentary Inquiry Into Anti-Semitism, as quoted by The Guardian on September 7, 2006
While traditional anti-Semitism remains prevalent among extremist fringe groups and populations where xenophobic attitudes persist, “new anti-Semitism” commonly manifests itself in the guise of opposition to Zionism and the existence and/or policies of the state of Israel.
Traditional anti-Semitism, with its historic linkage to Nazism and fascism, tends to be overt and is considered unacceptable and illegitimate by much of the mainstream in Western Europe, North America, and beyond. In contrast, new anti-Semitism, characterized by anti-Zionist and anti-Israel criticism that is anti-Semitic in its effect—whether or not in its intent—is more subtle and thus frequently escapes condemnation.
According to the EUMC definition, regardless of the motive, anti-Zionist and anti-Israel criticism become anti-Semitic when they entail:
Motives for criticizing Israel may stem from legitimate concerns over policy, or from illegitimate prejudices. This report does not purport to ascribe motive to the various critics of Irsrael. However, disproportionate criticism of the Jewish State and/or Israelis and demonizing them as barbaric, unprincipled, selfish, inhumane, etc. is anti-Semitic and has the effect of causing global audiences to associate those bad attributes with Jews in general. Similar to the way that constant news coverage associating Muslims with terrorism, or blacks with crime, can have the effect of promoting anti-Muslim or anti-black prejudice, respectively, constant and disproportionate criticism of Israel can have the effect of promoting anti-Jewish prejudice.
Throughout the Middle East and in many Muslim communities in Western Europe and beyond, anti-Zionist rhetoric finds frequent and powerful expression especially in Arabic-language newspapers and magazines, on the radio, on television, via the Internet (see Chapters 4 and 6), and in sermons delivered in mosques.
[Lebanese protestors in Aukar northeast of Beirut, Lebanon, March 30, 2005, carry their national flag and a banner reading, “Zionist Governs the U.S. But Not us.” (AP Photo)]
While the distinguishing features of new anti-Semitism are anti-Zionist rhetoric and opposition to Israel, it often incorporates some classic elements of traditional anti-Semitism, such as drawing on the age-old anti-Jewish theory of blood libel (see Chapter 2) by depicting Israelis as bloodthirsty, or perpetuating the traditional conspiracy theory of undue and unseen Jewish influence (see Chapter 2), for example, by attributing U.S. policy to the influence of the “Zionist Lobby,” “Jewish-Lobby,” or “Pro-Israel Lobby”—terms that tend to be used interchangeably and to imply a Jewish conspiracy or disloyalty to their country. The adaptive nature of traditional anti-Semitism into new settings is reflected in the infusion into some Muslim communities of translated classic anti-Semitic works, such as The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion and Mein Kampf.
[A copy of Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf is prominently displayed by a book vendor at Istanbul’s main train station, March 18, 2005. According to The Guardian, in March 2005 the book was a bestseller in Turkey, reportedly selling over 100,000 copies in 2 months. (AP Photo)]
According to the EUMC’s Summary overview of the situation in the European Union 2001-2005:
“There has been some evidence to support the view that there is some link between the number of reported anti-Semitic incidents and the political situation in the Middle East…. Moreover, some of the data indicate that there have been changes in the profile of the perpetrators. It is no longer the extreme right which is seen as solely responsible for hostility towards Jewish individuals or property (or public property with a symbolic relation to the Holocaust or to Jews)—especially during the periods when registered incidents reached a peak. Instead, victims identified ‘young Muslims,’ ‘people of North African origin,’ or ‘immigrants’ as perpetrators.”
The EUMC concludes that in Europe: “Anti-Semitic activity after 2000 is increasingly attributed to a ‘new anti-Semitism,’ characterized primarily by the vilification of Israel as the ‘Jewish collective’ and perpetrated primarily by members of Europe’s Muslim population.”
Attitudes toward Jews in Selected Muslim Countries and Communities
In many Muslim countries, polling data is not always available. Information on sensitive societal attitudes is easier to collect in open, transparent societies, as reflected by the regular public opinion surveys on attitudes toward Jews in Western Europe (see Chapter 2). However, in the last several years, the Pew Global Attitudes Project has begun collecting data on attitudes toward Jews in Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Pakistan, and Turkey. Similar polling information does not exist for other Muslim countries, hindering our ability to compare data and make conclusions.
While each country is unique, available polling data also reveals that Muslims in Europe hold more unfavorable opinions of Jews than the general population. According to a spring 2006 survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Project:
[Indonesian Muslims participate in an anti-Israel rally in Solo, Central Java, Indonesia, April 27, 2007. Some demonstrators held placards demonizing Israel, such as the one in the photo that equates Israel with the devil. (AP Photo)]
Contemporary anti-Semitism is not unique to Muslims. A frequent manifestation occurs when anti-Israel rallies feature placards reading, “Death to the Jews—Death to Israel” and Stars of David emblazoned with swatiskas. Such placards are commonplace at anti-Israel rallies on every continent. Anti-Semitism also emanates from unprecedented coalitions, uniting groups that otherwise have little common cause. Activists attending a November 16-19, 2006 conference in Beirut organized by Hizballah and the Communist Party of Lebanon agreed in their final statement “to establish a worldwide network against the American-Zionist project which…target[s]…humanity.” According to the Brussels Tribunal, an international coalition of activists, the conference was attended by 400 people “from all over the world [representing] trade unions, anti-globalization, anti-war and anti-imperialist movements.”
In May 2007 the United Kingdom-based University and College Union offered two separate resolutions which would require its membership to support a Palestinian call for a boycott and endorse restrictions on collaborative research with Israeli scholars. The debate over the proposed academic boycott featured anti-Semitic demonization of Israel, such as Nazi analogies and suggestions that Israel is “a fascist state.” The call for a boycott later was called off. In May 2006, in Ontario, Canada, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) voted unanimously to pass a resolution to support the “international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until that state recognizes the Palestinian right to self-determination.” The resolution repeatedly made references to “Israeli Apartheid.”
Applying a double-standard to Israel, a common component of today’s new anti-Semitism, manifests itself most profoundly in the context of the United Nations (see Chapter 5).
In the United Kingdom a July 19, 2006 cartoon, which appeared in the widely-circulated newspaper The Guardian, depicts Stars of David being used as a knuckle duster on a bloody fist to both punch a young boy and crush U.S. President George Bush.
A July 26, 2006 caricature in Norway’s largest daily Verdens Gang shows Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, while shaving, looking in the mirror and seeing Hizballah leader Hasan Nasrallah; Olmert’s feet are those of a clawed animal, expressing the classic anti-Semitic motif of the Jew as a subhuman.
“The left in particular sees itself as immune from anti-Semitism, which it considers the exclusive province of the xenophobic right…. Commitment to Palestinian independence comes not from anti-Jewish prejudice but from a sense of justice and the need to redress grievances in what is increasingly seen as unfinished post-colonial business…. Many on the left are firm in their condemnation of racism and would almost certainly not accept that they were guilty of anti- Semitic discourse.”
From the 2006 United Kingdom Report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Anti-Semitism
Contemporary Anti-Semitism in France
With about 600,000 Jews, France has the largest Jewish community living in Europe. Traditional anti-Semitism (as explicitly represented by Jean-Marie Le Pen’s National Front Party) has receded but has not disappeared. A new anti-Semitism, attributing alleged abuses by Israel to Jews in general, to which some immigrants of Muslim background are particularly susceptible, appears to be the generator of most anti-Semitic incidents, as evidenced by the clear spike in anti-Semitic incidents whenever conflict in the Middle East flares up. According to the EUMC Summary overview of the situation in the European Union 2001-2005, in France there is evidence of a shift away from extreme right-wing perpetrators of physical attacks on Jews and Jewish property toward young Muslim males. The early 2006 kidnapping and brutal murder of the French Jew Ilan Halimi by a gang of African Muslim immigrants heightened anxiety throughout most French Jewish communities.
Chapter Four—Government-Sponsored Anti-Semitism
“What totalitarian regimes do is to—and this is what makes them extremely devastating—is they look at you and say, ‘You are not.’ Or, ‘You are something else.’ Or, ‘This event didn’t exist.’ This power, that is only God’s power. If a regime, or some people, think they are God, they can have the right to make you animals or human. They can create you or kill you. And this is unbearable. So the only thing you can do—and the most subversive thing you can do—is to tell the truth. This is devastating because each time you come back with the truth, you deny their prerogative of creating a fictitious world where they can say whatever they want.”
Iranian exile Ladan Boroumand, June 7, 2007, speaking to the U.S. Holocaust Museum as part of “Voices on Anti-Semitism,” a podcast series
Government-sponsored anti-Semitism appears in various forms, including in government publications, speeches by leaders, government-controlled media, and discriminatory laws and practices. Government-sponsored anti-Semitism may also be revealed when governments take no effective action to condemn or combat anti-Semitism in the face of egregious anti-Semitic actions on their territory.
State-sponsored anti-Semitism currently is most prevalent in, but not restricted to, parts of the Muslim world.
[Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks during a conference in Tehran entitled The World without Zionism, October 26, 2005. (AP Photo)]
In Iran since August 2005, President Ahmadinejad has pursued a virulent anti-Israel campaign, including anti-Semitic propaganda and discrimination (see Chapter 2). At the October 2005 The World without Zionism conference held in Tehran, Iranian President Ahmadinejad resurrected Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s statement, “Israel must be wiped off the map.” Ahmadinejad’s comments were the first public call in recent years for Israel’s destruction by a high-ranking government official. The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who wields the greater governing power in Iran, did not repudiate Ahmadinejad’s remarks.
[Backdropped by an enormous painting of the Star of David and American flag being stomped on, Iranian female paramilitary militias (Basiji) parade in front of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, unseen, in Tehran, Iran, October 26, 2005. (AP Photo)]
The Iranian regime hosted a Holocaust denial conference in Tehran December 11-12, 2006. Participants, including prominent anti-Semitic authors and Holocaust deniers, argued that the Holocaust did not occur or was an exaggeration used by Jews for political and financial gain. They also called for the elimination or delegitimization of the state of Israel. Addressing the conference, President Ahmadinejad questioned the history of the Holocaust and asserted that Israel would “soon be wiped out.” While President Ahmadinejad provides the most egregious recent example of anti-Semitic incitement by a head of state, other heads of state also have made anti-Semitic statements.
In Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez has publicly demonized Israel and utilized stereotypes about Jewish financial influence and control. For example, in the context of the 2006 conflict between Hizballah and Israel, on August 25, 2006 in Beijing, and again in Doha three days later, President Chavez compared Israeli behavior to that of the Nazis. On August 6, 2006, on the program, Alo, Presidente, on Venezolana de Television, President Chavez accused Israelis of “applying to the Lebanese people and to the Palestinian people the same treatment they have so criticized about the Holocaust.” On July 28, 2006, in an interview broadcast domestically in Venezuela and on Al-Jazeera television, President Chavez said that Israel’s actions regarding the Palestinians and Lebanon were “perpetrated in the fascist manner of Hitler…they are doing what Hitler did to the Jews.”
In Belarus, on October 12, 2007, President Aleksander Lukashenko called the Belarusian city Bobruisk “a Jewish city” and said that it was a “pigsty.” He also urged all Belarusian Jews who had emigrated to Israel to, “Come back with money!”
Senior government officials and political leaders around the world have made recent anti-Semitic comments as well.
In Syria, on July 21, 2006, on national television, Deputy Minister of Religious Endowment Muhammad 'Abd Al-Sattar proclaimed that Jews are cursed. The Quran, he argued, paints the people of Israel as “sinister and dark.” He called Jews the “descendents of apes and pigs,” claiming that “terms that are closer to animals than humans” are more appropriate in describing them.
In Russia, 20 members of the State Duma and hundreds of others in a January 2005 letter urged the Prosecutor General to investigate Jewish organizations for misconduct and initiate proceedings to ban them (see Chapter 2). The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the letter on January 25, as did President Putin in remarks delivered in Krakow, Poland on January 27. On February 4, the State Duma passed a resolution condemning the January 24 letter. The Russian Orthodox Church and the Council of Muftis also condemned the letter. President Putin has been outspoken in his criticism of anti-Semitism and in June 2007 publicly donated one month’s salary to the Museum of Tolerance being built by the Russian Federation of Jewish Communities.
In Iraq, in July 2006, the Speaker of Parliament Mahmoud al-Mashhadani accused Jews of financing violent activity in the country to promote a Zionist sectarian agenda.
In Sudan, in September 2006, the State Minister for Foreign Affairs Ali Ahmed Karti asserted that the idea of sending African Union forces to Darfur under the umbrella of the United Nations was, “All part of a Zionist colonialist plot to take over Darfur and exploit its natural resources.”
In Kuwait, in the summer of 2006, in the context of the Hizballah-Israel conflict, a Member of Parliament publicly launched an attack on Jews in which he cited The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.
In Bulgaria, Dimitar Stoyanov, a member of the extremist political party Ataka and a Member of the European Parliament as of January 1, 2007, said in a media interview that he opposed the “Jewish establishment” and: “There are a lot of powerful Jews, with a lot of money, who are paying the media to form the social awareness of the people. They are also playing with economic crises in countries like Bulgaria and getting rich.” Ataka’s newspaper (launched in October 2006), website, and cable television mouth-piece Skat, also promulgated strong anti-Semitic material, as did Ataka media statements in 2005 and 2006. The European Parliament did not officially condemn Stoyanov’s anti-Semitic statement, though several Members of the European Parliament did criticize his remarks.
In Poland, on February 15, 2007, European Parliament Deputy and former head of the Political Party League of Polish Families Maciej Giertych published a booklet without authorization bearing the EU Parliament logo suggesting that Jews are unethical and a “tragic community” because they do not accept Jesus as the Messiah. The 32-page brochure asserts that Jews “create their own ghettos” because they like to separate themselves from others. The European Parliament officially censured Giertych.
Though most countries around the world do not have laws that explicitly discriminate against Jews, some non-democratic governments enshrine anti-Semitism in their laws and regulations.
In Syria, the government cited tense relations with Israel as the reason for barring Jewish citizens from employment in the civil service or serving in the armed forces, and for exempting them from military service obligations. Jews are the only religious minority group whose passports and identity cards note their religion. Syrian Jews also face extra scrutiny from the government when applying for licenses, deeds, or other government papers.
In Iran, the government recognizes Judaism as a minority religion; however, Iranian Jews face frequent official discrimination, as do other non-Shiite Muslim religious minorities. Iranian Jews, along with other religious minorities, are prevented from serving in the judiciary and security services and from becoming public school principals or career military officers. Applicants for public sector jobs—the main source of employment in Iran—are screened for their adherence to and knowledge of Islam, and those who do not observe Islam’s principles are subject to penalties.
In addition, while not exclusively motivated by anti-Semitism, restrictions on religious freedom in some countries negatively impact Jews. For instance, in Saudi Arabia, religious freedom does not exist in general. Islam is the official religion of Saudi Arabia, and the tenets of that religion are enforced by law. Members of religions other than Islam, including Jews, are not permitted to practice their religion in public in The Kingdom.
Additional country-specific information about religious discrimination and freedom issues can be found in the U.S. Department of State’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, as well as its annual Report on International Religious Freedom (see www.state.gov/g/drl). Both reports include detailed sections on anti-Semitism.
Anti-Semitism is pervasive in state-sponsored Arabic-language media and in state-sponsored media in Iran. In many Middle Eastern countries, there is limited or no freedom of the press and governments own or heavily influence the content of newspapers, television, and radio programs. Government stations host programs where anti-Semitic statements and ideas raised by guests or Imams go unchallenged. Such programs are beamed through satellite television stations to millions of living rooms throughout the broader Middle East and Europe.
In Saudi Arabia, where news organizations generally are either government-controlled or owned by members of the royal family, all media outlets operate under unspoken “red lines.” Anti-Semitic comments have appeared in the print and electronic media. These comments generally are focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Terminology such as “Jews,” “Zionists,” and “Israelis” at times are used interchangeably, and criticism of Israel often extends to all Jews. For example, a December 1, 2005 cartoon that appeared in Saudi Arabia’s Al-Yawm newspaper featured a Star of David with the words “Born to Kill.”
References to the idea of “Jewish control over the world” and supporting The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion appeared in the newspaper Ar-Riyadh on March 6, 2006. On January 13, 2006, an anti-Semitic cartoon in the Al-Yawm newspaper depicted Jews as thieves, calling them “God’s Cheater People,” a pun in Arabic on the expression “God’s Chosen People.”
Cartoons in Saudi Arabia typically use classic anti-Semitic imagery directed against Israel and make comparisons between the actions of the government of Israel and those of the Nazis. On April 24, 2006, a cartoon in the Al-Medina newspaper depicted the treads of an Israel Defense Forces tank forming a swastika. A June 6, 2006 article in the Al-Hayat newspaper compared Israeli government actions toward Palestinians to “the Nazi manner of killing, starvation, and racial segregation….”
In Saudi Arabia, Holocaust denial is a common theme. A July 27, 2006 article in Ar-Riyadh described “many doubts regarding the Nazi Holocaust” and enumerated supposed similarities between Zionism and the Nazi regime. A September 8, 2006 cartoon in Al-Watan depicted blood pouring out of an upside-down menorah.
Government-owned and -sponsored media in Saudi Arabia also published pieces alleging that the September 11, 2001 attacks were carried out by Jews, Zionists, or Israelis (see Chapter 2). In Saudi Arabia, such writings generally were opinion or editorial pieces.
In Syria, the government-owned Al-Thawra newspaper published an article in January 31, 2006 accusing the government of Israel of genetically engineering the avian flu virus in order to damage “genes carried only by Arabs” and thus, “to realize the Zionist goal of harming the Arabs.” A March 7, 2007 cartoon in the Syrian state-owned newspaper, Teshreen, with the second largest distribution in the country, depicts an Israeli soldier reading The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion while stabbing an Arab.
In Egypt, editorial cartoons depict demonic images of Jews and Israeli leaders, stereotypical images of Jews along with Jewish symbols, and comparisons of Israeli leaders to Hitler and the Nazis. Anti-Semitic articles and cartoons occur in the government-sponsored daily newspapers Al-Gumhuriyya, Akhbar Al-Yawm, and Al-Ahram. For example, on August 7, 2006, in Al-Ahram, the Grand Mufti Ali Gom'a criticized Israel’s military action in Lebanon, claiming that Israel’s “lies have exposed the true and hideous face of the blood suckers who...planned [to make] a matzo using human blood.”
On September 13, 2006, Egyptian state-run daily Al-Ahram published an opinion column titled, “Who is the Nazi Now?” which says: “The war that Hitler led against the Jews was an excuse through which the Zionists justified their colonizing of Palestine.... But the Jews, who escaped from oppression, oppressed the Palestinians…and thus, the victims of the old Nazis became the new Nazis....”
On March 17, 2007, the Egyptian government newspaper Al-Gumhuriyya published a cartoon depicting Uncle Sam (symbolizing the United States) being strangled by a Jewish serpent. In historic European anti-Semitic imagery, the snake often was used to portray Jews.
In Iran, similar anti-Semitic images are found in the national press. On October 20, 2006, Iranian Channel 1 aired The Land of Wishes, an Iranian science fiction film featuring an evil queen, adorned with a large Star of David, sitting on a throne in the “Black House” (which also is marked with a Star of David). The queen is depicted as enslaving the masses. In December 2004, Iranian national television began broadcasting a series called Zahra’s Blue Eyes in which characters portraying Israelis are shown kidnapping Palestinian children to harvest their body parts for transplant, a variation on the age-old blood libel (see Chapter 2).
[A notice in the prominent Iranian newspaper Hamshari solicits entries to a Holocaust cartoon contest, February 12, 2006. The advertisement was displayed in English and Arabic. (AP Photo)]
In fall 2006, the Iranian newspaper Hamshahri, which receives subsidies from the Iranian government, co-sponsored a Holocaust cartoon contest. The paper solicited submissions from around the world. After receiving submissions from 204 participants, it awarded a $12,000 prize to a Moroccan cartoonist who drew a picture of an Israeli crane erecting a wall of concrete blocks around the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, Islam’s third holiest site. The blocks bear sections of a photograph of the Nazi extermination camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. (This incident was a contrived “response” to a Danish newspaper having published cartoons that were offensive to many Muslims.)
In the United Arab Emirates, on May 14, 2007, the semi-official Al-Ittihad carried a cartoon of “the Zionist Lobby” which was depicted as a stereotypical Jew with a hooked nose, wearing a yarmulke.
Blatant anti-Semitism in the state-sponsored media is not just a Middle Eastern phenomenon.
In Venezuela, government-affiliated mass media have accused Israel, the Mossad, and the Jewish community in Venezuela of involvement in the 2002 coup d’etat against President Chavez. The Marciano op-ed in the October 29, 2007 edition of the pro-government Diaro Vea accuses rabbis and Mossad agents of engaging in a conspiracy against President Chavez. Specifically, the column claims that rabbis “stimulated the aggressive action of fascist groups in the streets” during the October 23, 2007 university student march on the National Assembly. The op-ed also asserts without evidence that Mossad agents encouraged the students to try to break through police cordons and to seek “contacts with military officers.” During the October 26, 2007 airing of the pro-Chavez talk show La Hojilla on the official Venezuelan television station (Venezolana de Television), host Mario Silva asserted without evidence that “Jewish businessmen” are financing student demonstrations against Chavez’s proposed constitutional reforms. Silva claimed that Jewish community leaders played a key role in the short-lived April 2002 coup against Chavez and once again are conspiring to “destabilize” the Chavez government. On January 5, 2006, an interviewee on Venezolana de Television appeared on La Hojilla and said: “Since we ask for respect for all minorities, we ask the Jewish community to be loyal to Venezuela and that their members stop doing what they are doing against Venezuela.” In addition, anti-Semitic political cartoons in the Venezuelan government media were quite common in the summer of 2006. The following examples appeared in the government’s daily newspaper, Diaro Vea (daily circulation of 85,000), and the pro-government weekly, Temas Venezuela:
A Plena Voz, a monthly magazine published by the Minister of Culture (which appears as an insert in Diaro Vea), carried several articles on the Hizballah-Israel conflict in August 2006 comparing Israel and its leadership to Hitler and Nazism. Huge red headlines in the pro-Chavez publication Docencia Participativa proclaimed in August: “Nazis in the XXth Century, Jews in the XXIst Century;” a Star of David filled with swastikas appeared on the back page of the issue.
In Belarus, the Government allowed state enterprises to freely print and distribute anti-Semitic material. The book Demons on the Russian Land: Globalism as a Product of Evil, by Belarusian National Academy of Sciences (BNAS) researcher Valeriy Zelenevskiy, published in Minsk at the end of 2006, contains numerous anti-Semitic statements, such as “The Jews still adhere to pro-slavery views.” Because the state-run BNAS approved the publication of the book, Jewish leaders and human rights activists considered the book to reflect the views of certain segments of the government.
“The United Nations’ record on anti-Semitism has at times fallen short of our ideals.”
Then-Secretary General Kofi Annan, June 2004, UN-sponsored Department of Public Information Seminar on Anti-Semitism
According to the EUMC definition, anti-Semitism manifests itself with regard to the state of Israel when double standards are applied by requiring of Israel a behavior not expected or demanded of other nations.
Motives for criticizing Israel in the UN may stem from legitimate concerns over policy, or from illegitimate prejudices. This report does not purport to ascribe motive to the various critics of Israel within the UN. However, regardless of the intent, disproportionate criticism of Israel as barbaric and unprincipled, and corresponding discriminatory measures adopted in the UN against Israel, have the effect of causing audiences to associate negative attributes with Jews in general, thus fueling anti-Semitism (see Chapter 3).
In 1975, the UN General Assembly adopted by majority vote Resolution 3379 that “determine[d] that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.” The resolution passed by a vote of 72 to 35, with 32 abstentions. One of the most vocal proponents of the “Zionism is Racism” resolution was the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin Dada. Speaking to the UN General Assembly, Amin called for Israel’s expulsion from the UN and its extermination. After strenuous efforts by the United States and other democratic nations, the “Zionism is Racism” resolution was revoked by Resolution 46/86 on December 16, 1991 by a vote of 111-25, with 13 abstentions.
[Israel’s Foreign Minister David Levy, left, embraces Israel’s UN Ambassador Yoram Aridor after the UN General Assembly voted to repeal its 1975 resolution equating Zionism with racism, New York City, December 16, 1991. (AP Photo)]
“What a tragic paradox, that the Jewish people, with its ideal of Zion, the greatest victim of racism and racial persecution throughout history, is now, by virtue of a draft resolution of the ‘petro-majority,’ a racist people and movement.”
Reverend Benjamin Nunez, UN delegate from Costa Rica, November 6, 1975, referring to passage of the “Zionism is Racism” resolution
Today, the distinction between legitimate criticism of the policies and practices of the State of Israel and anti-Semitism can become blurred in the UN context.
Some Member States have led efforts to combat anti-Semitism, while at the same time, other governments, in particular members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), have used the United Nations system as a venue to engage in polemics against Israel that go beyond legitimate criticism of Israel’s policies and instead demonize Israelis and, implicitly, Jews generally.
United Nations Security Council
The Security Council has criticized specific Israeli policies and also has addressed Israel’s security needs, for example in UNSC resolution 1701 (2006), which ended the hostilities between Hizballah and Israel in southern Lebanon in August 2006.
The United States vetoed two proposed UN Security Council resolutions in 2006-07 addressing Israeli-Palestinian issues for their singling out Israeli actions for criticism, while failing to address similar behavior by others, and for their failure to appropriately address Palestinian obligations. It is unclear at this point if these resolutions are indicative of a larger trend or are an anomaly reflective of a particularly tense period in Gaza.
Israel’s Membership in Regional Groups
There has been significant progress in recent years in increasing Israel’s participation in regional groupings—although the situation remains far from ideal. Israel should be a member of the Asia Group based on geography, or the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) based on form of government, as well as its informal sub-grouping JUSCANZ (Japan, United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) that consists of many non-EU members of WEOG. However, the Arab/Islamic States block Israel’s membership in the Asian Group, and certain WEOG countries block Israel from joining WEOG and JUSCANZ. A compromise has been achieved, in that Israel is accorded status as a WEOG member in one respect, namely for purposes of running as a WEOG member in elections held at UN Headquarters in New York City. In the past few years, Israel has become eligible to compete for election to UN limited membership bodies for vacant seats allocated to the WEOG; it has been elected to all bodies for which it has sought membership, including:
In June 2005, Israel was elected for the first time to serve as one of 21 Vice Presidents of the 60th General Assembly.
That said, Israel is the only UN Member State not allowed formal and active membership in any of the five regional groupings within the UN system—this status has the effect of legitimizing the patently false assertion that the Jewish State has engaged in behavior that violates the rights of others far more than any other state.
United Nations General Assembly
In recent years, there has been a significant trend in the General Assembly to adopt resolutions condemning traditional forms of anti-Semitism, including Holocaust denial (see Chapters 2 and 7). However, in contrast to these positive efforts, the UN General Assembly, led by some countries, mainly from the G-77 and non-aligned movement, has established bureaucracies with the sole mandate of singling out Israel as a violator of the human rights of others: The Division for Palestinian Rights (established in 1981); the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (1975); and the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories (1968). These bodies and their staffs receive funding from within the regular UN budget assessed against all Member States. No other Member State is singled out in this fashion.
Between 2001 and September 2006, UNGA’s plenary and main committees (not including the former Commission on Human Rights or Human Rights Council) together adopted over 120 human rights-related resolutions focused on Israel, with more anticipated by the end of the 2007-2008 UNGA. During that same period, only ten resolutions were adopted by these same bodies regarding the situations in North Korea, Burma, and Sudan.
In fall 2006, UNGA adopted two resolutions on the Palestinian people which solely blamed Israel for the then current conflict (with no mention of Hamas shelling Israeli civilians or Hamas and Hizballah having kidnapped Israeli soldiers). The votes in the General Assembly were overwelmingly in favor of both resolutions. Resolution 61/152, “The Right of the Palestinian People to Self-Determination,” was adopted by a vote of 176 in favor, 5 against, and 5 abstentions. Resolution 61/154, “The Human Rights Situation Arising from the recent Israeli Military Operations in Lebanon,” was adopted by a vote of 112 in favor, 7 against, and 64 abstentions. Meanwhile, the dire situation in Sudan in which hundreds of thousands of civilians have been deliberately targetted did not merit a single focused resolution (although one resolution on assistance to refugees in Africa did pass).
The United Nations General Assembly has held a total of 10 Emergency Special Sessions since 1956. Six of these sessions have been about Israel.
United Nations Commission on Human Rights
Between 2001 and when it was disbanded in 2006, the UN Commission on Human Rights passed 26 resolutions and one decision that were critical of Israel. The situations in North Korea, Burma, and Sudan warranted a combined total of 11 resolutions and decisions during the same period.
For many years before its abolition, the Commission on Human Rights had a separate agenda item focusing solely on alleged violations of Israel—namely, Item 8, “Question of the violation of human rights in the occupied Arab territories, including Palestine.” This allowed multiple resolutions against Israel, while no other country could have more than one resolution run against it each year. No other country beside Israel had an agenda item exclusively scrutinizing it. This tradition has been continued by the new UN Human Rights Council (see below). Several important countries, including established democracies, follow a policy of voting “on principle” against all resolutions that criticize a specific country regardless of the merits—unless that country is Israel, in which case they consistently vote in favor of critical resolutions.
United Nations Human Rights Council
In 2006, the Commission on Human Rights, which had lost legitimacy due to the inclusion in its leadership and membership of Member States that are serious, serial human rights violators, was replaced with a new body, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). The UNHRC was established as a subsidiary body of the UN General Assembly over the opposition of the United States, which subsequently chose not to run for a seat. (The United States voted against the resolution establishing the UNHRC due to concerns that it contained insufficient safeguards to ensure that states that are gross violators of human rights cound not become members.) The new body has proven to be even more prone to protect serious violators of human rights and more prolific in its criticism of Israel than its predecessor. The UNHRC adopted 15 anti-Israel resolutions or decisions in its first 16 months (ending September 30, 2007). In June 2007, it established the “human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories” as a permanent agenda item—the only single-country item on the permanent agenda. In addition, in its first 6 months, the UNHRC held three special sessions against Israel. The UNHRC has taken little significant action against other countries, including the world’s most notorious human rights violators, with the exceptions of Sudan (one resolution, one decision, and one special session resulting in one decision) and Burma (one special session resulting in one resolution). Instead, the Council decided to end the scrutiny of notorious violators of human rights such as Belarus and Cuba given by the predecessor Commission, while expanding its scrutiny of Israel.
“[Taking a] discriminatory and one-sided approach has become not the exception but the norm… [Israel is] systematically singled out [as] a member state for selective and discriminatory treatment, while granting the violators exculpatory immunity…. The tragedy…is that all of this is taking place under the protective cover of the UN, undermining thereby the cause of the UN, international law and human rights.”
Irwin Cotler, Canadian Member of Parliament and former Justice Minister and Attorney General, June 13, 2007, in an address to the UNHRC in Geneva
Other UN Bodies
Other UN fora display a similar penchant for singling out Israel for scrutiny or criticism to which other states are not subjected. In 2006, in the wake of the conflict between Hizballah and Israel, polemical resolutions or statements critical of Israel were introduced in a number of UN fora including the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Labor Organization (ILO), and the UN Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Each of these resolutions was one-sided (not even mentioning the other party involved in the conflict) and outside the mandate of the respective organization.
Israel is the object of far more investigative committees, special representatives, and rapporteurs than any other state in the UN system.
A special representative of the Director General of UNESCO has visited Israel 51 times during 27 years of activity. At its annual assembly in Geneva in 2007 the World Health Organization passed a resolution by vote (106 in favor, 7 against, and 12 abstentions) on the health conditions of Palestinians, which was extreme in its criticism of Israel.
Likewise, the UN’s lead agency responsible for the global promotion and protection of women’s rights, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), ended its 51st session on March 9, 2007 by criticizing only one state—Israel. The resolution’s blame of Israel for the mistreatment of Palestinian women ignored the repression that Palestinian women endure in their own communities. The same session of the CSW saw fit to pass no resolutions at all on the international problem of honor crimes, female genital mutilation, rape as a weapon of war, and other serious abuses against women.
At the September 2001 World Conference Against Racism (WCAR) held in Durban, South Africa under UN auspices, anti-Israel rhetoric was pervasive enough to undermine the conference. South Africa’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Aziz Pahad, acknowledged that the nongovernmental parallel segment of the conference had been “hijacked and used by some with an anti-Israel agenda to turn it into an anti-Semitic event.”
[Demonstrators march through the streets during the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa, August 31, 2001. Many protestors held placards demonizing Israel, including signs equating Zionism with racism, accusing Israel of genocide, and comparing Israel to Apartheid. (AP Photo)]
The event had three parts: a youth summit, a meeting of NGOs, and then the conference itself. To the exclusion of most other issues involving racism around the world, speakers and panel moderators at the opening of the NGO Forum issued strongly worded anti-Israel accusations and equated Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to Apartheid in South Africa. The only panel on the 4-day NGO forum program that dealt with anti-Semitism was disrupted by anti-Semites. Arab activists joined each subgroup of the drafting session arguing that the Holocaust be equated with Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and that anti-Semitism be re-labeled as “anti-Arab sentiment” since Arabs are Semites. NGO Forum attendees also used Holocaust terminology to refer to Israel.
“When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You are talking anti-Semitism.”
The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., during a 1968 appearance at Harvard University, as recounted by Seymour Martin Lipset in Encounter magazine, December 1969
The conference’s NGO Forum was followed by the main conference, comprised of delegates from UN Member States. The conference culminated in the Durban Declaration in which Israel was the only country singled out for criticism. The resolution received the support of most participants. However, the United States and many other Western countries decried the effort to single out the State of Israel and, eventually, the United States delegation walked out of the main conference.
The suggestion that Apartheid exists in Israel was first asserted at the WCAR. Within the UN context, this is a variation on the anti-Semitic “Zionism is Racism” resolution. In a report released in February 2007, John Dugard, the UN’s “Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967,” announced that “Israel’s policies resemble those of Apartheid.” According to the report, “It is difficult to resist the conclusion that many of Israel’s laws and practices violate the 1966 Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination.”
Referring to Israel’s actions in the occupied West Bank, Dugard wrote:
“Can it seriously be denied that the purpose...is to establish and maintain domination by one racial group (Jews) over another racial group (Palestinians) and systematically oppressing [sic.] them? Israel denies that this is its intention or purpose. But such an intention or purpose may be inferred from the actions described in this report.”
Dugard’s reports consistently and deliberately omit any word about Palestinian terrorism or incitement that would provide an explanation for Israeli actions other than that of racial prejudice.
In July 2005, Jean Ziegler, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, told a crowd of anti-Israel demonstrators in Geneva that Gaza was “an immense concentration camp,” adding that it was a good thing that the “guards” were about to leave.
Chapter Six—Anti-Semitism in Private Media
“…Morality means concern for the other, not for oneself—the other.
Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, May 24, 2007
Societal anti-Semitism manifests itself through a number of avenues discussed below.
Private radio, television stations, and print media are among the most widely used vehicles for dissemination of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and rhetoric.
In many Middle Eastern countries, governments own or heavily influence the media, therefore most examples of anti-Semitism in Arab and Persian media are covered in this report’s chapter on state-sponsored anti-Semitism. Some private media exist in the Middle East, and anti-Semitism is prevalent in them.
In Qatar, the television satellite network Al-Jazeera, privately operated though funded by officials in the Qatari government, is unique in the pan-Arab media by regularly hosting Israeli guests and commentators. However, the station also regularly hosts guests who viciously attack Israel and Jews alike, referring to traditional conspiracy theories, such as The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, as unchallenged facts.
In Algeria, anti-Semitic articles appear occasionally in the independent press, especially in Arabic-language newspapers. One newspaper, El Fadjr, published throughout 2006 and 2007 a number of anti-Semitic political cartoons that highlighted close U.S.-Israeli ties.
In the United Arab Emirates, anti-Semitic articles and cartoons sometimes are published. On August 2, 2006, Al-Bayan, one of the country’s largest newspapers, published an Op-Ed contrasting “Zionism and Arabism,” which includes derogatory statements and asks, “Are they [Zionists] part of humanity?” On July 16 and 17, 2006, Al-Bayan carried editorial articles comparing Israelis to Nazis. A December 22, 2005 Al-Bayan cartoon depicts a Jew playing with the globe, a reference to the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Jews control the world (see Chapter 2).
In Tunisia, privately-owned newspapers publish cartoons, on occasion, that use derogatory caricatures of Jews to portray the state of Israel and Israeli interests. These cartoons all tend to be drawn by cartoonists outside the country.
In the West Bank and Gaza, in early 2007, Hamas produced a children’s television program featuring Farfour, a Mickey Mouse look-alike that encourages violent attacks, including suicide bombings, against Israel and preaches Islamic domination over Jews and others. The show’s final episode, “Tomorrow’s Pioneers,” which aired on Al-Aqsa television on June 29, 2007, featured Jewish agents beating the Mickey Mouse character to death.
[An image from Al-Aqsa television, a station run by Hamas, shows a Mickey Mouse lookalike Farfour. (AP Photo)]
[Palestinian children watching a show featuring Farfour on Al-Aqsa television at their home in Gaza City, May 11, 2007. (AP Photo)]
In Lebanon, the Hizballah-controlled television station Al-Manar has broadcast anti-Semitic programming. In 2003, Al-Manar aired a 26-part Syrian-produced drama series, The Diaspora, that quoted heavily from The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion and accused Jews of blood libel (see Chapter 2).
Private media in countries beyond the Middle East also print anti-Semitic articles and cartoons.
In Pakistan, some independent newspapers frequently publish articles that contain derogatory references to Jews (and other religious minorities).
In Indonesia, Sabili, a widely read Islamic magazine, often publishes articles with anti-Semitic statements and themes, suggesting, for example, the existence of conspiratorial “Zionist” activities in Indonesia.
In Turkey, Jewish community members report a significant rise in anti-Semitic language in newspapers and websites since the July 2006 Hizballah conflict with Israel.
In Poland, conservative Catholic radio station Radio Maryja, founded in Torun in 1991, is one of Europe’s most blatantly anti-Semitic media venues. Radio Maryja is owned by the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, and is financed through donations from its audience. Directed by Father Tadeusz Rydzyk, Radio Maryja reportedly attracts more than 10 percent of adults in Poland. The radio has criticized Jews in Poland and elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe suggesting they are part of a worldwide “Holocaust Industry.” In July 2007, Father Rydzyk was recorded making a number of anti-Semitic slurs. He said Jews were pushing the Polish government to pay out exorbitant private property restitution claims, and that Poland’s President was “in the pocket of the Jewish lobby.” His statements were aimed at encouraging legislators and popular opinion against support for a compensation bill. Several members of the Polish Catholic leadership have criticized Father Rydzyk and Radio Maryja for the statements.
[The headquarters of the Catholic radio station Radio Maryja in Torun, Poland, May 9, 2006. The sign over the door reads: ‘Radio Maryja in the service of God, Church and Country.’ (AP Photo)]
In Russia, a number of small, radical-nationalist newspapers print anti-Semitic (as well as anti-Muslim and xenophobic) articles. The estimated number of xenophobic publications exceed 100, many sponsored by the local chapters of the National Power Party. Anti-Semitic articles have appeared in regional papers such as Stenogramma in the Komi Republic and the Orthodox Simbirsk in Ulyanovsk.
In Belarus, anti-Semitic and Russian ultranationalist newspapers and literature, DVDs, and videocassettes continue to be sold at Pravoslavnaya Kniga, an Orthodox bookstore, which sells Orthodox literature and religious paraphernalia. The store is part of the Khristianskaya Initsiativa company, the general director of which writes xenophobic articles. The store distributes the anti-Semitic and xenophobic newspaper Russkiy Vestnik despite a 2003 order by the Prosecutor General and the Ministry of Information to remove copies from the store.
In Romania, anti-Semitic social elements republish inflammatory books from the interwar period. In addition, one-sided anti-Semitic views and attitudes are expressed during Romanian talk shows broadcast by private television stations.
In Serbia, translations of anti-Semitic foreign literature, most notably The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, are reprinted—often without the permission of the originals’ authors or publishers—and sell well in mainstream bookstores, despite the Serbian government’s ban on most of these titles. Neo-Nazi groups, such as Stormfront, circulate their own anti-Semitic literature in Serbian.
In Norway, articles, reports, and political cartoons that vilify and demean the Jewish people and community while minimizing the Holocaust have appeared in the mainstream media. In summer 2006, Jostein Gaarder, a prominent Norwegian author, published an article in one of the major daily newspapers Aftenposten entitled, “God’s Chosen People,” that many within and outside the country considered anti-Semitic for its tone and biblical interpretations. A July 2006 caricature in Norway’s largest daily Verdens Gang depicts Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as a clawed subhuman (see Chapter 3). Another caricature which appeared in the major Oslo newspaper Dagbladet in summer 2006 depicted Olmert as a Nazi death camp commander. While anti-Semitic depictions of Israel were especially common in Norway during the Hizballah-Israel conflict in summer 2006, such images also predate it.
In Spain, on July 17, 2006, Jorge Berlanga wrote an article entitled “Judiadas,” a slang term which the Spanish Royal Academy defines as “a bad act, prejudicially considered to be worthy of Jews,” that appeared in the conservative Spanish newspaper La Razon. The article includes a broad attack on Jews and says, among other things, that the Jews have “a blood oath which impedes any form of generosity with other races.”
In Greece, in 2006 and 2007, there were several instances of anti-Semitic articles or cartoons in the media (see Chapter 2).
The United States strongly supports the free flow of information and ideas on the Internet, which holds enormous potential to promote freedom, tolerance, and human dignity. At the same time, the Internet also is a haven for anti-Semites and others who espouse hatred and intolerance.
Generally, the Internet is an unrestricted and unregulated domain. Items can be posted anonymously and ideas can spread quickly. The Internet also provides a convenient means for networking among individuals with extreme views who, in the past, might never have had the chance to communicate.
Anti-Semitic websites are increasingly common. For instance, in Russia as of 2007 there were at least 80 websites disseminating anti-Semitic material. In Poland, there were more than 500 racist and xenophobic websites (targeting Jews and other minorities), according to Never Again, an anti-racism organization based in Poland.
Hate-filled messages sent by email or posted in chat rooms are becoming common worldwide. They can originate anywhere and be received anywhere. Anti-Semites share messages among themselves. They also interject such messages into chat rooms or email sites specifically devoted to inter-religious dialogue, Jewish issues, or other civil discourse. For instance, in Austria, in summer 2006, a flurry of postings and emails demanded that Jewish citizens apologize for the death of an Austrian peacekeeper killed during the 2006 conflict in Lebanon. On August 10, 2006, the European Union of Jewish Students’ website was hacked and infected with a computer virus that caused its computer screen to display the statement: “Israel Go to Hell.”
Anti-Semitic Video Games on the Internet
Anti-Semitic video games, most of which can be downloaded on the Internet, are increasingly common and turn racist violence into entertainment. Patterned after popular mainstream video games, such games can reach a wide, computer-savvy, young audience. For example:
Day of Defeat features battlefields decorated with swastikas and Nazi posters; in some games, a battle is signaled with a rousing call to arms broadcast in German.
Ethnic Cleansing features a white supremacist who proceeds through 10 levels full of racist posters and symbols, gunning down caricatured Jews and other minorities. The game proclaims, “White revolution is the only solution.” The premise of Ethnic Cleansing is that a city—clearly New York City—has been destroyed by gangs of “sub-humans” controlled by Jews. Plans for world domination are seen in the subway and elsewhere. The player roams the streets and subways murdering “predatory sub-humans” and their “Jewish masters,” thereby “saving” the white world. During the game, “Oy vey!” rings out when Jewish characters are killed. At the end, the player confronts the “End Boss,” a rocket launcher-wielding Ariel Sharon.
Under Ash involves the mass killing of Israelis and Jews.
Kz Manager allows players to manage a concentration camp.
Kz Rattenjagd allows players to, “Kill the Jewish rats with a gun!”
Other anti-Semitic video game titles include Aryan 3, Doom Nazi ver, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, and Ghetto Blaster.
The Internet sometimes has been used as a vehicle to target specific Jews. For example, in Denmark the Copenhagen Post reported that in February 2005 a neo-Nazi website posted pictures, names, phone numbers, and e‑mail addresses of Jews and foreigners living in Denmark labeling each individual “Jew” next to the picture. The site claimed that the Jews were conspiring to control the world. Similarly, in Poland, on March 4, 2007, Gazeta Wyborcza reported that the skinhead website “Redwatch” posted photos and names of teachers and students in Zabrze and called them “traitors to their race” for cleaning and maintaining a Jewish cemetery.
“Today there is still denial about the universal ideology of the new anti-Semitism. It has power and reach, and it enters into the soft underbelly of the Western mind-set that does not like Jews or what Israel does to defend its right to exist.
A counterattack is being organized….. We are at the beginning of a long intellectual and ideological struggle. It is not about Jews or Israel. It is about everything democrats have long fought for: the truth without fear, no matter one’s religion or political beliefs. The new anti-Semitism threatens all of humanity. The Jew-haters must not pass.”
Dennis MacShane, U.K. Member of Parliament and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Anti-Semitism, September 4, 2007
While a small number of governments have been inciting anti-Semitism, and others have failed to take action against it, many governmental efforts to combat anti-Semitism are underway.
Governments combat anti-Semitism through a variety of means, including:
Specific country examples of government efforts to combat anti-Semitism are well documented in the U.S. Department of State’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, as well as in its annual Report on International Religious Freedom (both available at www.state.gov/g/drl). There also is comprehensive information on government legislation aimed at combating anti-Semitism collected by the OSCE (www.osce.org/odihr) and in Legislating Against Discrimination, An International Survey of Anti-Discrimination Norms (Nina Osin and Dina Porat, editors. Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2005).
Some countries have appointed special envoys and special representatives to the Jewish community, including Jacques Huntzinger in France and Benedikt Haller in Germany. Several countries have established rapporteurs that focus on domestic efforts to curb anti-Semitism.
A number of governments also have fostered interfaith dialogues (see Chapter 8).
Fighting Anti-Semitism through Law
Laws can be among the most powerful tools for fighting anti-Semitism. Examples include: Creation of minority rights and legal protections that prevent discrimination; increased sentences for hate-motivated crimes; legally established commissions and agencies to counter racism, protect human rights, or fight discrimination, including against Jews; ombudsmen to address ethnic and minority issues; and strong laws against crimes linked to anti-Semitism, such as cemetery desecration.
Countries vary widely in their legal approaches to combating anti-Semitism. For instance, some countries enact prohibitions and impose criminal penalties on certain forms of anti-Semitic expression (e.g., denial of the Holocaust and broadcasting racist remarks). In other countries, including the United States, such measures would conflict with legal protections of the freedom of expression. Although there are significant country variations, a common approach to combating anti-Semitism is the prohibition of governmental and certain forms of private discrimination on the grounds of nationality, race, religion, and other factors.
[Visitors attend an exhibition about anti-Semitism at the Foreign Ministry in Berlin, Germany, August 1, 2007. Germany has been a leader in supporting Holocaust Remembrance. (AP Photo)]
Quotes by Prominent Officials on Combating Anti-Semitism
“My grandfather once declared that there were no Jewish citizens, but only Moroccan ones. Morocco is built on tolerance.”
Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, June 20, 2000
“Anti-Semitism is a shameful disease of the mind. It is a perversion. The Holocaust is the worst crime against humanity throughout history.”
Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, June 10, 2005
“Today, sadly, we are witnessing the rise of new signs of anti-Semitism… How can we fail to see in this a reason for concern and vigilance?”
Germany, Pope Benedict XVI, August 19, 2005
“I can confirm to you my determination to fight more than ever against any form of racism, anti-Semitism, exclusion and intolerance.”
France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy, September 11, 2007
“You can be sure that all and each one of us who have institutional responsibilities will raise not only our voice but will take concrete action against any sign of anti-Semitism.”
Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, March 26, 2007, Statement made while she was Senator and First Lady
“The Holocaust and Babyn Yar killings wounded our nations. Babyn Yar should be that injection preventing aggressive bloody xenophobia.”
Ukraine’s President Viktor Yushchenko on September 26, 2006 at a ceremony at the Babyn Yar ravine, where some 33,000 Jews were killed between September 29 and 30, 1941
“I clearly and straightforwardly promise that there will never be ethnic intolerance and religious hatred in Ukraine. Like all Ukrainians, I refuse to accept and tolerate the slightest manifestation of xenophobia and anti-Semitism.”
President Yushchenko speaking the following day at a conference to mark the 65th anniversary of the Babyn Yar massacre
“Every attack on a Jewish institution is an assault on our democracy.”
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, in a letter to Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal of the Gan-Israel Jewish school, after a February 25, 2007 attack on the kindergarten
“No to anti-Semitism, even when it masquerades as anti-Zionism.”
Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano, January 25, 2007, Rome, on Memorial Day
“In the 21st century we cannot accept the denial of the Holocaust as a historical fact…nor can we accept those who deny that six million Jews were massacred.”
Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, February 3, 2007, at a Holocaust Remembrance ceremony in Sao Paulo, Brazil
“[It’s] essential that the Shoa be remembered, not only because of the Nazis’ torture of the victims of the Holocaust, but also because of the world’s indifference and silence. Knowledge of history and education are the best instruments to prevent violence, which still is present in many parts of the world.”
Manuel Marin, President of the Spanish Congress, January 26, 2007, Statement during a Holocaust commemoration
“This scourge [of anti-Semitism] strikes against the foundations of democracy and the way our countries respond to anti-Semitism is critical for the credibility of democracy.”
Solomon Passy, OSCE Chairman-in-Office and Foreign Minister of Bulgaria, April 2004, OSCE Conference on Anti- Semitism, Berlin
International organizations have played a critical role in fighting anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has been a global forerunner in efforts to combat anti-Semitism in the European and Eurasian region. At the 1990 OSCE Conference on the Human Dimension in Copenhagen, and again, at the 1991 OSCE Meeting of Experts on National Minorities in Geneva, the OSCE member states agreed to clearly and unequivocally condemn anti-Semitism and to take effective measures against anti-Semitism.
The OSCE’s efforts to fight anti-Semitism have included further declarations condemning anti-Semitism, conferences where governments and NGOs meet to discuss the problem, and programs aiding participating States to more effectively fight anti-Semitism and promote tolerance. The OSCE’s more in-depth focus on anti-Semitism grew out of the activities of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (PA). At the July 2002 OSCE Parliamentary Assembly annual meeting in Berlin, the U.S. and German delegations, led by Representative Christopher H. Smith and Bundestag Member Gert Weisskirchen, respectively, convened a special forum to highlight an increase in anti-Semitic violence. In addition, the U.S. and German delegation heads cosponsored the first PA resolution condemning the rise in anti-Semitic violence and calling for increased governmental and OSCE engagement. It passed unanimously. Later that year, the OSCE responded in kind when the participating States at the December 2002 OSCE Ministerial meeting issued a decision condemning the increase of anti-Semitic violence and calling for a special OSCE event to address the recurring problem.
The first OSCE Conference on Anti-Semitism was held in Vienna in June 2003. The conference resulted in the 2003 OSCE Ministerial meeting again addressing the problem by recommending that participating States actively collect data on hate crimes, including crimes motivated by anti-Semitism. Additionally, the Ministerial decision tasked the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) with collecting this information and regularly reporting its findings. Based in Warsaw, ODIHR has a mandate to support election observation, democratic development, human rights, tolerance and non-discrimination, and the rule of law throughout the OSCE region. The Ministerial expanded ODIHR’s work to also collect and disseminate best practices for “preventing and responding to anti-Semitism,” as well as to assist States in their efforts to respond effectively. The OSCE also hosted a Meeting on the Relationship Between Racist, Xenophobic and Anti-Semitic Propaganda on the Internet and Hate Crimes in Paris in June 2003.
The second OSCE Conference on Anti-Semitism was held in Berlin in April 2004 and led to the “Berlin Declaration.” U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and other high government officials from the participating states addressed the conference. The Berlin Declaration is considered a landmark in international efforts to combat anti-Semitism, as it recognizes anti-Semitism has “assumed new forms and expressions” that threaten regional security. The Declaration also states “unambiguously that international developments or political issues, including those in Israel or elsewhere in the Middle East, never justify anti-Semitism.”
The text of the Declaration was endorsed by all participating States at the 2004 OSCE Ministerial meeting.
…OSCE participating states,
The OSCE participating States:
— Strive to ensure that their legal systems foster a safe environment free from anti-Semitic harassment, violence or discrimination in all fields of life;
— Promote, as appropriate, educational programmes for combating anti-Semitism;
— Promote remembrance of and, as appropriate, education about the tragedy of the Holocaust, and the importance of respect for all ethnic and religious groups;
— Combat hate crimes, which can be fuelled by racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic propaganda in the media and on the Internet;
— Encourage and support international organization and NGO efforts in these areas;
— Collect and maintain reliable information and statistics about anti-Semitic crimes, and other hate crimes, committed within their territory, report such information periodically to the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), and make this information available to the public;…
— Encourage development of informal exchanges among experts in appropriate fora on best practices and experience in law enforcement and education.
Other relevant OSCE events followed, including the Brussels Conference on Tolerance and the Fight Against Racism, Xenophobia and Discrimination (2004), the Cordoba Conference on Anti-Semitism and Other Forms of Intolerance (2005), and a follow-up Berlin Experts Meeting on Best Practices in Combating Anti-Semitism (2006). All reinforced the need for participating States to take steps to combat anti-Semitism and related intolerance. In June 2007, the OSCE held another conference in Bucharest, Romania as a Follow-up to the Cordoba Conference on Anti-Semitism and Other Forms of Intolerance, to reinforce the importance of participating States fully implementing their OSCE commitments.
As part of these ongoing efforts, the OSCE also established a special position to combat anti-Semitism. In December 2004, the then OSCE Chair-in-Office (Bulgaria) appointed three “Personal Representatives” to promote tolerance and combat racism, xenophobia, and discrimination in the OSCE region. German Bundestag Member Gert Weisskirchen was appointed the Personal Representative on Combating anti-Semitism. Each Chair-in-Office has reappointed the Personal Representatives, and they are responsible for coordinating efforts among participating States to ensure full implementation of tolerance-related decisions, in addition to providing the OSCE Chair-in-Office with quarterly reports on related activity. The Personal Representative on Combating anti-Semitism serves an important liaison role, communicating reports of anti-Semitic incidents to political leaders, while maintaining a dialogue about anti-Semitism with OSCE governments.
ODIHR also has been active beyond its data collection responsibilities, sponsoring international conferences addressing anti-Semitism and broader racism and xenophobia issues. In 2004, it established the Tolerance and Non-Discrimination Program, including the position of Advisor on Anti-Semitism Issues. In addition, ODIHR created the Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Training Program. The Program is led by a team of former and current law enforcement officials from Canada, France, Hungary, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Upon the invitation of a participating State, the team will visit the requesting country and train police trainers on methods for indentifying and investigating hate crimes, including crimes motivated by anti-Semitism.
The Agency for Fundamental Rights
The European Union, with its Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), also has been active in issuing reports and raising awareness. The FRA is an independent body within the European Union that, on March 1, 2007, superceded the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), the body that drafted the Working Definition of Anti-Semitism used in this report. FRA was established to collect reliable, objective and comparative data on racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism, and provide analysis, assistance and expertise to the European Union and its Member States as they implement EU laws pertaining to fundamental rights. FRA works closely with civil society organizations to further its mission.
In 2000, the EUMC implemented the European Racism and Xenophobia Information Network (RAXEN), a system that facilitates the collection and analysis of coordinated statistical data among the EU Member States. The publicly available data and resulting analysis enable FRA to produce comparative reports and studies. EUMC produced three comparative studies of the EU region: Manifestations of Anti-Semitism in the EU 2002-2003; Anti-Semitism: Summary Overview of the Situation in the European Union 2001-2005; and Perceptions of Anti-Semitism in the European Union.
Council of Europe
On June 27, 2007, following a special debate on the topic, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe issued resolution 1563 (2007) on Combating anti-Semitism in Europe, in which the Parliamentary Assembly noted that it, “Remains deeply concerned about the persistence and escalation of anti-Semitic phenomena and notes that no member state is shielded from, or immune to, this fundamental affront to human rights.” The resolution also spells out ways to fight growing anti-Semitism.
The United Nations
Since 2004, the United Nations has taken important measures in the fight against anti-Semitism, including:
On October 23, 2007, the UNESCO General Conference adopted by unanimous vote a resolution calling on Member States to promote awareness of Holocaust remembrance through education and to combat all forms of Holocaust denial.
The General Assembly passed resolution 60/7 in November 2005 that established an annual Holocaust Remembrance Day, observed on January 27, the day Auschwitz was liberated by Soviet troops and a day already recognized by Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom. The resolution noted that “the General Assembly unequivocally rejects any denial of the Holocaust as an historic event, either in full or in part.”
In 2005, the UN General Assembly held an unprecedented session to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp.
In response to the Iranian government’s sponsorship of an international conference aimed at denying the Holocaust as an historical event, the General Assembly in January 2007 adopted by consensus a resolution (61/255) condemning, without reservation, any denial of the Holocaust. The resolution declared that to deny the events of the Holocaust—one of the most tragic moral catastrophes in history—“was tantamount to approval of genocide in all its forms.”
The Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and Research
The Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and Research consists of representatives of government, as well as governmental and nongovernmental organizations. Its purpose is to rally leaders’ support behind the need for Holocaust education, remembrance, and research worldwide. The Task Force also works with countries to create programs that achieve these goals.
Current Members of the Task Force for International Cooperation in Holocaust Education include: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
Other international bodies also have made positive contributions to fighting intolerance, including anti-Semitism.
Organization of American States
The Organization of American States (OAS) is on record as being “deeply disturbed by the general increase in different parts of the world of cases of intolerance of, and violence against, members of many religious communities, including those motivated by…anti-Semitism….” On May 7, 2006, Jose Miguel Insulza of Chile, current Secretary General of the OAS, spoke out on the need to be vigilant to the risks of anti-Semitism:
“In the past 15 years, the number of attacks on Jewish communities has increased in Latin America, as in other parts of the world. Although that increase has not been as marked in Latin America as in Europe and the Middle East, this does not mean that we can lower our guard against outbursts of hate crimes against Jewish communities and, in general, against any manifestation of racism and intolerance in the Americas. The horrific attacks on the Israeli embassy and the headquarters of the Argentina Jewish Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires serve as a grim reminder of this fact.”
Private groups and individuals have played a crucial role in the fight against anti-Semitism.
NGOs have developed expertise on anti-Semitism and have been successful in monitoring the range and scope of the problem; educating others, including government agencies, on anti-Semitism and ways to address it; and advocating for victims and those at risk.
Local organizations often are best placed to identify and record anti-Semitic incidents on the ground. Education takes many forms, including development of tolerance education curricula, distribution of literature, links to information on NGO websites, or hosting conferences on tolerance issues. Organizations actively support Holocaust education and other awareness-raising initiatives. NGO advocacy in the context of anti-Semitism often involves working with like-minded organizations and governments to promote minority rights, religious freedom, and oppose discrimination in all its forms.
Secular organizations are not the only players outside government in the fight against anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism’s religious roots make involvement by religious and interfaith organizations crucial.
In recent years, the Roman Catholic Church has played a central role in efforts to stem anti-Semitism and support tolerance across religious lines. Pope John Paul II built on the ecumenical developments of Vatican II in reaching out to Jewish communities. For instance, the Community of Sant’Egidio, a lay Catholic organization based in Rome, Italy, has co-sponsored the annual Prayer for Peace every year since Pope John Paul II hosted the historic first event in Assisi in October 1986. The Prayer for Peace is a successful interfaith gathering aimed at promoting dialogue and understanding among a wide array of religions. Encounters have taken place in cities across Europe as well as Washington, DC, and Jerusalem. Organizers have had to work hard to overcome interfaith tensions, including some involving Israel and Judaism, and have succeeded in bridging these divides in many cases. John Paul II’s example has been followed by Benedict XVI, who invited the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Riccardo di Segni, to his installation in 2005 and reaffirmed a commitment to the fight against anti-Semitism and toward an overall betterment of relations with the Jewish community. The Church has promoted the acceptance of and respect for Judaism, and has recognized that Christians have been complicit in anti-Semitic activity in the past.
Some Protestant churches also have been involved in efforts to combat anti-Semitism. The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and the two Chief Rabbis of Israel, Shlomo Amar and Yonah Metzger, signed an historic joint agreement in September 2006 committing themselves to oppose “The rise of anti-semitism in Britain and the rest of Europe, in the Middle East and across the world at the present time.” The statement continues: “At all times we will seek to educate the coming generations in the history of anti-semitism, recognising that there have been times when the Church has been complicit in it.”
In the Muslim community there have been a number of admirable efforts to affirm the importance of tolerance and respect across religious lines. Soheib Bencheikh, the former Grand Mufti of Marseille, France has been a consistent, outspoken supporter of a tolerant Islam—despite strong opposition in Muslim communities at home and abroad.
In June 2007, conferences addressing anti-Semitism-related concerns were held in Indonesia and Malaysia. The first, held in Bali, called itself a “Holocaust-affirming” conference, and was organized partly in response to the Holocaust denial conference held by President Ahmadinejad in Iran in December 2006. The other, Islam and the West: Bridging the Gap, was held in Malaysia, which then held the rotating Chairmanship of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
Former Indonesian president Abdurrahman Wahid, who chaired the Bali conference, co-founded the LibforAll Foundation, an organization aimed at supporting tolerance among Muslims. Rabbis, Muslim leaders, Holocaust survivors, and victims of terrorist attacks in Israel and Bali were among the participants. On the day of the conference, an article in the international press by Wahid and Former Israeli Chief Rabbi Israel Lau noted: “Holocaust denial is…the most visible symptom of an underlying disease—partly political, partly psychological, but mainly spiritual—which is the inability (or unwillingness) to recognize the humanity of others. In fighting this disease, religious leaders have an essential role to play.”
In Morocco, the government organizes the annual Fez Festival of Sacred Music, incorporating music from Jewish, Christian, Hindu, and other religious traditions. During Ramadan in 2006, King Mohammed VI hosted a colloquium of religious scholars that considered ways to encourage tolerance and respect between Islam and other religions. Morocco also is the only Arab nation with a Jewish museum, opened in 1977 in Casablanca. The Moroccan government also funds the study of Jewish culture and Hebrew at universities around the country.
In Tunisia, the government sponsors regular conferences and seminars on religious tolerance. In January 2007, the “University Chair for Dialogue between Civilizations and Religions,” funded by the Tunisian government, held a seminar that promoted religious tolerance. The government also facilitates and promotes the annual Jewish pilgrimage to the El-Ghriba synagogue on the island of Djerba, celebrated on the Jewish holiday of Lag B’Omer.
In Qatar, the Emir hosted an American Jewish Committee (AJC) delegation in Doha on March 11, 2007. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani discussed with the AJC Executive Director such issues as prospects for Arab-Israeli peace and interreligious dialogue. The Fifth Conference of Inter-Faith Dialogue took place in Doha, May 7-9, 2007. Christian, Muslim, and Jewish representatives took part. During the conference, the Qatari government announced the establishment of the “Doha International Center for Inter-Faith Dialogue,” which will be based in Qatar. The center will be financed by the Qatari government but will function as an independent entity. Its purpose will be to follow up on conference resolutions, papers, and studies, and engage local and international research centers and universities.
Argentina has done much to promote interfaith dialogue. In 2007, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs brought together the Jewish and Muslim communities to jointly celebrate the start of Ramadan and Yom Kippur. In July 2006, it also brought the Catholic, Muslim, and Jewish communities together to call for peace in the Middle East.
[Tens of thousands of demonstrators, including ministers and politicians of all persuasians, march through Paris, France on February 26, 2006 to show their opposition to anti-Semitism and racism after the brutal killing of Ilan Halimi, a Parisian Jew. (AP Photo)]
While governments, NGOs, and religious and ethnic groups have important roles to play in efforts to combat anti-Semitism, individuals also actively stand against anti-Semitic bigotry, confronting hateful comments, challenging anti-Semitic myths, and responding to anti-Semitic incidents.
Chapter One described some of the major reported contemporary anti-Semitic incidents against Jews and facilities used by Jews. Additional examples of anti-Semitic violence, abuse, property damage, and cemetery desecration follow. This is by no means intended to be an exhaustive list, but, rather, an illustrative sampling. Most examples report on incidents that occur in Western democratic countries, which allow transparent monitoring of societal conditions. Information about anti-Semitic incidents in closed societies (e.g., Iran) is largely unavailable; the lack of reports of anti-Semitic incidents in such societies should not be construed as an absence of anti-Semitism.
More comprehensive information on anti-Semitic incidents can be found in the U.S. Department of State’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, as well as its annual Report on International Religious Freedom (both available at www.state.gov/g/drl).
Appendix Two: European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia Working Definition of Anti-Semitism
The purpose of this document is to provide a practical guide for identifying incidents, collecting data, and supporting the implementation and enforcement of legislation dealing with antisemitism.
Working definition: “Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
In addition, such manifestations could also target the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. Antisemitism frequently charges Jews with conspiring to harm humanity, and it is often used to blame Jews for “why things go wrong.” It is expressed in speech, writing, visual forms and action, and employs sinister stereotypes and negative character traits.
Contemporary examples of anti-Semitism in public life, the media, schools, the workplace, and in the religious sphere could, taking into account the overall context, include, but are not limited to:
Examples of the ways in which antisemitism manifests itself with regard to the state of Israel taking into account the overall context could include:
However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.
Antisemitic acts are criminal when they are so defined by law (for example, denial of the Holocaust or distribution of antisemitic materials in some countries).
Criminal acts are antisemitic when the targets of attacks, whether they are people or property—such as buildings, schools, places of worship and cemeteries—are selected because they are, or are perceived to be, Jewish or linked to Jews.
Antisemitic discrimination is the denial to Jews of opportunities or services available to others and is illegal in many countries.
 Excerpts from the Berlin Declaration can be found in Chapter 7.
 The European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia became the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights on March 1, 2007.
 This upsurge was documented in the U.S. Department of State’s 2006 annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, as well as its annual Report on International Religious Freedom. These reports can be found at www.state.gov/g/drl.
 This definition is adapted from the EUMC “Working Definition of Anti-Semitism” document, which can be found in its entirety in Appendix Two.
 The NGO Human Rights First documented an increase in anti-Semitic incidents in its June 2007 report, Anti-Semitism: 2007 Hate Crime Survey.
 In the Middle East, Jews do not constitute a significant portion of the population in most countries; the largest Jewish population outside of Israel is found in Iran, where roughly 25,000 to 30,000 Jews remain. Information about anti-Semitic incidents—as opposed to statements—in Iran largely is unavailable, particularly because NGOs and scholars reporting from Iran face intimidation.
 Since “Major and Non-Major Incidents” includes reports of all kinds, this is a much broader category of incidents than the Roth Institute statistics cited earlier in this chapter.
 Additional illustrative examples of recent violent anti-Semitic incidents can be found in Appendix One.
 The assailant was convicted of attempted murder and initially sentenced to 13 years in prison. The prosecutor successfully appealed the court’s neglect to consider the anti-Semitic motive of the crime, and the sentence was extended to 16 years in prison.
 Additional illustrative examples of recent anti-Semitic abuse and intimidation can be found in Appendix One. None of the examples of abuse and intimidation in this section or in Appendix One reflect official support for or tolerance of anti-Semitism, as political leaders of the countries mentioned frequently speak out against anti-Semitic abuse and intimidation, and many governmental efforts to combat anti-Semitism are underway (see Chapter 7).
 Additional illustrative examples of recent anti-Semitic property damage can be found in Appendix One.
 Additional illustrative examples of recent anti-Semitic cemetery desecration can be found in Appendix One.
 With an estimated daily circulation of 20,000-30,000 copies, Al Watan is one of three Arabic dailies in Qatar. The six daily newspapers (three English/three Arabic) in Qatar are independently-owned, although their owners or board members are either high-level government officials or have strong government ties. Since the time of publication of this cartoon, the Qatari press has reduced in frequency and severity its publication of anti-Semitic cartoons.
 The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion has been a recent best seller in Turkey and Syria, and once was a best seller in Lebanon. There are at least nine different Arabic translations of the Protocols and more editions in Arabic than in any other language. Arabic translations are prominently displayed in bookstores throughout North Africa and the Middle East, as well as Arabic-language bookstores in Western Europe. The Protocols also have been prominently displayed at international book fairs (e.g., by the government of Iran at the 2005 Frankfurt International Book Fair). In addition, the Protocols are so popular that they have inspired television broadcasts in Egypt, Syria, and other Arab states. In the past, Saudi textbooks reprinted sections and presented them as facts. Hamas and Hizballah also teach the Protocols as fact. Since 2003, new editions of The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion have been printed in English, Ukrainian, Indonesian, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Greek, Russian, and Serbian.
 With an estimated daily circulation of 34,000, Al-Wasat has the second largest circulation in Bahrain.
 For a discussion about anti-Semitism associated with Poland’s conservative Catholic radio station, Radio Marja, please see Chapter 5.
 The popularity of Mein Kampf within the Arabic-speaking world is illustrated by the fact that over 11 different publishers are selling it, with new Arabic editions appearing all the time.
 As updated in December 2006.
 2005 data for Egypt is unavailable.
 The EUMC definition states that anti-Semitism manifests itself when comparing contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis (see Chapter 2).
 Venezuelan Jewish leaders have expressed concern over the Chavez government’s close relationship with Iran, whose President called for the annihilation of Israel. In what largely was perceived as an effort to smooth over relations between President Chavez and the Venezuelan Jewish community, Argentina’s then First Lady, Senator, and Presidential candidate Cristina Elisabeth Fernandez traveled to Venezuela in March 2007 to meet with Venezuela’s Jewish community.
 Ataka is a nationalistic party established in Bulgaria in April 2005 that espouses xenophobic, racist, and anti-Semitic views.
 According to the EUMC, holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the State of Israel is anti-Semitic.
 According to the EUMC, making stereotypical allegations about Jews such as the myth about a world Jewish conspiracy is an example of anti-Semitism.
 According to the EUMC, denying the fact, scope, mechanisms, or intentionality of the Holocaust are examples of anti-Semitism (see Chapter 2).
 According to the EUMC, drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis is an example of anti-Semitism.
 According to the EUMC, making demonizing or stereotypical allegations about Jews controlling the government is an example of anti-Semitism.
 According to the EUMC, drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis is an example of anti-Semitism.
 According to the EUMC, accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interests of their own nations, is an example of anti-Semitism.
 According to the EUMC, comparing contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis is an example of anti-Semitism.
 Specifically, on July 16, 2006, the United States vetoed a Qatari-proposed resolution condemning Israeli military actions in Gaza, and, on November 11, 2006, the United States vetoed a resolution addressing an event at Beit Hanoun. The resolutions criticized Israel for collateral damage to civilian areas while ignoring deliberate targeting of civilians by the other side.
 These committees consist of the UNGA plenary, UNGA First Committee, UNGA Second Committee, UNGA Third Committee, UNGA Fourth Committee and ECOSOC. Information about the UN Commission on Human Rights and UN Human Rights Council is covered elsewhere in this chapter.
 The one-sided World Health Organization resolution blamed Israel for a wide-range of health-related concerns such as the shortage of drugs and medical supplies in Gaza, as well as food insecurity due to Israel’s withholding of Palestinian customs revenues. The resolution demands, among other things, that Israel pay the Palestinian Authority regularly and without delay, and halt all practices and policies that affect the health conditions of civilians under occupation. There is no acknowledgement that the Palestinian Authority could have some responsibility for the situation in Gaza.
 According to the EUMC, comparing contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis is an example of anti-Semitism.
 The Government of Israel also walked out of the conference. In addition, the Government of Canada disassociated from consensus.
 According to the EUMC, making demonizing statements about Jews and applying double-standards to the State of Israel are examples of anti-Semitism.
 According to the EUMC, comparing contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis is an example of anti-Semitism.
 Al-Bayan is an independent Arabic daily out of Dubai with a circulation of about 85,000. In contrast, the U.A.E.’s semi-official Al-Ittihad only has a circulation of 60,000 and Gulf News (English) has the largest circulation (100,000) in the U.A.E.
 Lebanese Hizballah has made many anti-Israeli statements. Its original 1985 Charter includes statements on the “necessity for the destruction of Israel.” However, the group has omitted the Charter’s paragraph on Israel from its website and apparently never refers to it. It instead refers to more recent declarations.
 There are approximately 386,000 websites in Poland.
 While this report describes the range of measures that various governments have adopted to combat anti-Semitism, it does not endorse any such measures that prohibit conduct that would be protected under the U.S. Constitution. Most notably, U.S. constitutional protection of the freedom of speech generally prohibits the government from restricting expression based on its content, regardless of the offensiveness of the underlying message. The United States takes the view that governments should whenever possible refrain from imposing restrictions or limitations on the freedom of expression.
 Anastasia Crickley is the Personal Representative on Combating Racism, Xenophobia and Discrimination, also focusing on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians and Members of Other Religions; Ambassador Omur Orhun is the Personal Representative on Combating Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims.
 For a discussion of anti-Semitism within the UN system, see Chapter 5.
 This annex provides the EUMC’s Working Definition of Anti-Semitism in its entirety. The explanatory text also is part of the EUMC Working Definition.