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Study finds sharp increases in anti-Semitic incidents in the US, Canada, UK, Germany and France

Tel Aviv University shows this number worldwide dramatically rose in 2021

Jewish Westhoffen cemetery near Strasbourg, eastern France, where 107 graves were found vandalized with swastikas and anti-Semitic inscriptions, Dec. 4, 2019 (Photo: Elyxandro CEGARRA/Panoramic/Reuters)

The world saw more anti-Semitic incidents in 2021 than the year before, according to a new study by the Tel Aviv University. 

Dramatic increases were recorded in countries like the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Australia. In several places, the increase was substantial also in comparison to 2019, before COVID-19 restrictions on social gatherings were imposed.

In the U.S., which has the largest Jewish population outside of Israel, the number of anti-Jewish hate crimes recorded in both New York and Los Angeles were almost twice that of the previous year. 

The New York Police Department recorded 214 anti-Jewish hate crime reports in 2021 compared to only 126 in 2020, and 252 in 2019. The Los Angeles Police Department recorded 79 anti-Jewish hate crime reports in the city of Los Angeles in 2021 compared to 40 in 2020 and 42 in 2019.

In France, the number of recorded anti-Semitic incidents increased by almost 74% compared with 2020. The study dedicated a special chapter to “the reluctance of the French judiciary to acknowledge Islamist anti-Semitism for what it is.”

In Canada, a leading Jewish group reported a 40-year record in anti-Semitic physical violence in one month, during the Israel-Hamas conflict in May 2021. B’nai B’rith Canada recorded at least 266 anti-Semitic incidents, a 54% increase from the 173 incidents recorded during the same period in 2020. The total included 61 violent incidents and 51 incidents of vandalism.

In the UK, the number of recorded physical assaults against Jews increased by 78% compared to 2020. In Germany, anti-Semitic incidents recorded by police were up 29% compared to 2020 and 49% compared to 2019.

Australia also experienced a sharp rise in recorded anti-Semitic incidents, with 88 in May alone – the highest monthly total ever.

“These data result from the strengthening in some countries of the radical populist right and the anti-Zionist radical left,” read the study. It also mentioned the conflict in Gaza in May 2021, incitement on social media as components, and the COVID-19 crisis as factors that unleashed voices of hatred and prejudice against Jews.

“The conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza in May 2021 saw a particularly sharp rise in anti-Semitic incidents. The conflict exposed an unacceptable reality – when Israel defends itself from rocket attacks against civilian targets, Jews across the world become the target of incitement and hate crimes,” the study noted. 

According to the Israel's Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, 431,000 anti-Semitic posts were published globally during Operation Guardian of the Walls and the preceding month.

Another contributing factor to the alarming trend, according to the study, is that some human-right activists consciously began to exclude the struggles of Jews and Israel from their agenda.

“These activists believe that Jews do not a priori belong to their agenda, and thus the fight against anti-Semitism is not part of their larger struggle against racism. Racism, they argue, concerns African-Americans and African-Europeans, Roma, LBGTQs, indigenous minorities, asylum seekers, and foreign workers, but not Jews,” the report said.

The 2021 annual report on anti-Semitism worldwide, published on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel, was conducted by the Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University's Faculty of Humanities. The six-month research analyzed dozens of studies from around the world, as well as information from law enforcement bodies, media and Jewish organizations.

The reports says that while the fight against anti-Semitism enjoys considerable funding and global attention – more than ever before - something has gone terribly wrong. Its suggests that “unsparing examination of the efficacy of existing strategies is required.”

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) released a poll on Monday that discovered one in four Jewish American millennials conceal their Jewish identity and distance themselves from Israel.


Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.

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