TAU Report: Orthodox Jews Are Main Target of Antisemitic Assaults Worldwide

(Illustrative, Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

A report released on Monday ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day saw a sharp increase in the number of antisemitic incidents in the U.S. and other Western countries, and that Orthodox Jews are the main victims of physical assaults.

The report was published by Tel Aviv University’s Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry in collaboration with the U.S.-based Anti-Defamation League.

According to the report, “Visibly identifiable Jews, particularly Haredi Jews, are the main victims of antisemitic assaults in the West, including beatings, being spit on, and having objects thrown at them.”

The report examined dozens of assaults reported in New York and London, the U.S. and European cities with the largest number of attacks, as well as other cities.

According to the report, the ADL recorded 3,697 antisemitic incidents in the U.S., compared to 2,717 in 2021 – a record year in its own right. The New York Police Department registered 261 hate crimes against Jews compared to 214 in 2021. The Los Angeles Police Department recorded 86 in 2022 compared to 79 in 2021, and the Chicago Police 38 in 2022 compared to 8 in 2021.

A rise in recorded antisemitic incidents compared to 2021 was also found in several other Western countries, including Belgium, Hungary, Italy and Australia. In Belgium, 17 antisemitic attacks were recorded in 2022 compared to only three in 2021 – the highest number since seven attacks were recorded in 2016.

On the other hand, other countries, including Germany, Austria, France, the U.K., Canada and Argentina, saw a decline in the number of antisemitic incidents compared to 2021.

In Germany, 2,649 “political crimes with an antisemitic background” were documented, less than the record of 3,028 reached in 2021, but still significantly higher than the figures for 2020 and 2019. In France, 436 incidents were documented compared to 589 in 2021, 339 in 2020, and 687 in 2019.

The data for 2022 also suggested that the roots of the current wave of antisemitism run deeper, particularly in the United States. The study pointed to three reasons: “intensified social and cultural tensions; the rise of radicalism, both right- and left-wing, at the expense of the political center; and the proliferation of ‘echo chambers’ on social media, where conspiracy theories spread as if they were undeniable truths.”

Tel Aviv University’s Professor Uriya Shavit said, “Our research indicates that effective policing, indictments and educational campaigns in a small number of urban areas in various Western countries can lead to a significant reduction in the number of violent antisemitic attacks.”

He added, “The fight against antisemitism must include more practical, measurable and transparent objectives, and fewer declarations and cries of ‘gevalt.’

Regarding the role of social media, Shavit said that “a reality in which big companies make big money by spreading big lies must be rectified.”

The study also suggested that physical attacks on Jews tend to occur in a small number of areas in major urban centers, usually on the street or on public transportation rather than near or in synagogues or Jewish establishments. Most attacks appeared not to be premeditated.

The study also said that Orthodox Jews were the main victims of attacks, not only because they are easily identifiable, but because they are perceived as vulnerable and unlikely to fight back.

Although the attacks examined by the study were legally defined as antisemitic hate crimes, the motivations of the perpetrators were not easy to discern. The report suggested that the attacks were “driven by a deeply held antisemitism, hatred for Israel, bullying, or a combination of the three.”

Said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, “The data contained in this survey is very troubling. It is alarming to see the significant increase in antisemitic incidents and trends across the U.S. and in several other countries. Equally concerning is that, unlike in 2021, there were no specific events which can be linked to a rise in antisemitism, which speaks to the deeply seated nature of Jew hatred around the world.”

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