Russian Jewish Congress: Anti-Semitism on the rise in Russia

The number of attacks and acts of vandalism against synagogues, Jewish cemeteries and community centers grew in Russia in 2013, Russian Jewish Congress press secretary Mikhail Savin told the news agency 'Interfax' on Thursday. "A steady downward anti-Semitism trend has reversed for the first time in the past four years," Savin said with reference to a report the Russian Jewish Congress issued together with the Sova human rights organization.

The document indicates that ten attacks and acts of vandalism on Jewish sites were recorded from January to December 2013, compared to eight such incidents the previous year. "The incident that caused the most serious concerns was the attempt on the life of Derbent Rabbi Ovadia Isakov committed by radical Islamists," Savin said.

The authors attribute the growth in the number of anti-Semitic crimes to a general growth in xenophobic violence in Russian society. "At the same time, the role of anti-Semitism in modern Russia has obviously become less noticeable than in the 1990s and 2000s, when it was the principal essence of nationalistic propaganda," Savin was quoted by 'Interfax' as saying.

The Russian Federal Communications Oversight Service issued four warnings for anti-Semitic articles in Russian media outlets in 2013, the report says.

As concerns the law enforcement practice, the report says at least 16 guilty sentences for propaganda of anti-Semitism were handed down in 2013. In seven of these cases, this propaganda was aimed exclusively against Jews and the rest concern xenophobic materials targeting not only Jews but also other minority groups.

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