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The Recurring Rise of Anti-Semitism Across the Global West 

The Recurring Rise of Anti-Semitism Across the Global West 

Old Scars, New Wounds:  

Conflicts in the Middle East have historically heightened tensions between Jewish and Muslim communities within the region. However, over the past two decades, this discord has expanded globally, affecting Jewish and Muslim relations worldwide. Naturally, an escalation has occurred since the October 7th attack and the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, leading to a surge in global anti-Semitism. This article will analyze anti-Semitism in North America, Europe, and college campuses

Anti-Semitism in North America 

Historically, anti-Semitism in North America has been predominantly linked to far-Right ideologies. In 2017, white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia, chanted “Jews will not replace us.” The following year Robert Bowers killed 11 people in the Tree of Life Synagogue mass shooting. After Oct. 7th Mike Peinovich, head of the National Justice Party, wrote on Telegram (a communication platform popular among  far-right extremists) “Hats off to the Palestinians for taking bold and courageous action.” 

While radical right-wing Neo-Nazism persists in the United States, a concerning development has emerged in the last two decades: the rise of anti-Semitism within the radical left. Some recent pro-Palestinian rallies have become either violent or exhibited anti-Semitic slogans, such as “globalize the intifada” or “keep the world clean” accompanied by a drawing of the Star of David in a trash can. The most egregious case of violence towards Jews in a pro-Palestinian rally occurred on November 5th when Paul Kessler was allegedly struck over the head, injured in the fall, and later succumbed to his injuries in the hospital. The suspect remains under investigation and police ask the public to “refrain from spreading rumors or spreading misinformation on social media or other platforms.” Police have increased patrols around synagogues and mosques in the area.

Old Scars, New Wounds:  The Recurring Rise of Anti-Semitism across the Global West In Montreal, the front doors of three Jewish schools were shot in the past week. The incidents are currently under investigation to determine the motives and individuals involved. President Justin Trudeau said in a press conference “I know emotions are high, and people are scared. But attacking each other is not who we are as Canadians.”

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has reported a 400% spike in anti-Semitism compared to this time last year. It claims that out of 312 reported incidents 190 were directly related to Israel and Gaza. The 190 incidents include 109 pro-Palestinain protests that either explicitly or strongly implied support for Hamas and/ or violence against Jews. ADL says there has also been a 1000% increase in the daily average of violent messages mentioning Jews and Israel in white supremacist and right-wing extremist channels such as the Telegraph or 4chan. 

FBI Director Christopher Wray has raised alarms about a significant increase in anti-Semitism in the U.S. He notes that the Jewish community, which comprises only 2.4% of the U.S. population, is disproportionately targeted, being the victims in 60% of religiously motivated hate crimes. 

Earlier this year the White House unveiled a comprehensive strategy to combat anti-Semitism. Following Oct. 7th, The Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) issued a ‘Dear Colleagues Letter’ reminding educational institutions of their obligations under Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This includes protecting students from discrimination based on race, color, or national origin, explicitly extending these protections to those who are, or are perceived to be Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, or Sikh. 

Anti-Semitism on College Campuses and Anti-Semitic Groups 

By far it seems that the most extreme cases of anti-Semitism in North America can be seen on college campuses from both students and faculty. 

On October 15th a Cornell professor said in a pro-Palestine rally that “Hamas shifted the balance of power” and that he was “exhilarated.” After pressure from the public and University executives, he released a statement on the Cornell Daily Sun. In his unspecific and brief apology, Rickford says “I apologize for the horrible choice of words that I used in a portion of a speech that was intended to stress grassroots African American, Jewish, and Palestinian traditions of resistance to oppression.”

UC Davis’s Jemma Decristo threatened “Zionist journalists” on X, formerly known as Twitter. She wrote “they have houses, addresses, kids in school. They can fear their bosses, but they should fear us more.” Despite strong backlash, UC Davis has not yet made public what administrative actions they will be taking against Decristo. The school’s president posted a statement supporting the “Jewish and Muslim communities” and Decristo’s page is no longer visible on their website.  

Patrick Dai, a Cornell student, is currently on trial following a post where he threatened to stab Jewish men, rape Jewish women, and behead Jewish babies. Another of his posts said “gonna shoot up 104 west,” the campus “Center for Jewish Life”. His lawyer, Lisa Peebles, argues that Dai was influenced by Rickford’s comments on October 15th. 

Pro-Palestine protesters in UCLA and UPenn have been misquoted on the internet as saying “we want Jewish genocide.” Protesters were really saying “Israel, Israel, you can’t hide. We charge you with genocide.” Dan Goldberg, head of the UCLA Hillel confirms that the chants were misquoted but still critiques faculty and students for refusing to condemn the Hamas attack. He says that these protests are “fanning the flames” of anti-Semitism and asserts that anti-Zionism is not only wrong, but is anti-Semetic. 

Columbia, Brandeis, and George Washington University have implemented varying degrees of moratoriums on pro-Palestine group SJP for there use of anti-Semitic language. Brandeis was the first private institution to ban the SJP. George Washington University sanctioned SJP after they projected slogans such as “Glory to our martyrs” and “Free Palestine from the river to the sea” onto university buildings. Columbia University not only suspended SJP, but also became the first to ban Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) after they repeatedly violated university policy and used “threatening rhetoric and intimidation tactics.” Effectively, these actions ensure that these groups do not receive funding from these universities, and are not permitted to host events on campus. 

The suspension of JVP and SJP by Columbia followed an unauthorized walkout and art exhibition on November 9th. While some reports say that  SJP and JVP have supported Hamas others highlight that the November 9th protest was peaceful. Notably, when an individual shouted anti-Semitic remarks during the event, the crowd and speakers quickly condemned the act, shouting “shame on you” and openly denounced anti-Semitism.

Anti-Semitism in Europe 

Since 2018, countries across Europe have been facing a disturbing rise in anti-Semitism. In that year, France reported a staggering 74% increase in anti-Semitic incidents, while Germany noted a 60% increase. A survey involving 7,000 participants revealed alarming perceptions: 25% believed Jews had excessive influence in business and finance, and a third were minimally informed or unaware of the Holocaust. The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated this trend, with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD) observing a sharp spike in anti-Semitic content online. French channels experienced a sevenfold increase, while German channels saw an even more alarming thirteenfold rise. In 2021, Germany recorded a  29% surge in anti-Semitic crimes, with 2,552 out of 3,027 offenses attributed to far-right extremists.

More recently, a series of disturbing hate crimes have swept across Europe. In France, a Jewish woman was stabbed in her own home. In Germany, a synagogue was targeted with Molotov cocktails. In the Republic of Dagestan, a mob stormed an airport, searching for Jews arriving from Israel. According to the ADL between October 7th and 20th, the French Minister of the Interior reported 588 anti-Semitic incidents and 336 arrests. The UK witnessed 218 anti-Semitic hate crimes from October 1st to 18th, marking a shocking 1300% increase compared to the same period in the previous year. The Research and Information on anti-Semitism in Germany (RIAS) reported a 240% rise in such incidents.

In a controversial attempt to curb these tensions, German police preemptively banned all pro-Palestinian rallies. Similarly, in France, Minister Gerard Darmanin banned all pro-Palestine rallies. However, following an appeal, the higher courts in France overturned Darmanin’s blanket ban, ruling that local officials should make decisions on allowing protests on a case-by-case basis. Critics of a blanket ban expressed concern that prohibiting protests might infringe upon the fundamental right of free speech, a cornerstone of a healthy democracy.

Will Aliyah Numbers Increase? 

The recent surge in anti-Semitism has prompted many Jews to consider the possibility of leaving their current communities and emigrating to Israel. This trend is underscored by a recent survey from the Fundamental Right Agency(FRA), which indicates an increasing number of Jews in Europe are contemplating such a move. Despite the ongoing conflicts in the region, the idea of living in Israel—a nation predominantly Jewish and committed to defending its land—can feel safer and more welcoming than residing in ‘stable’ countries where acceptance of Jews is not universal.

Our law firm specializes in facilitating Aliyah and navigating Israel’s immigration policies. To assist those considering immigration to Israel, we have compiled an informative guide;  ‘Everything You Need to Know About Israel’s Immigration Policy.‘ This article aims to demystify the process of emigrating to Israel, providing you with essential information and support every step of the way.

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