Antisemitic incidents surge worldwide in wake of Israel-Hamas conflict - World Jewish Congress

Antisemitic incidents surge worldwide in wake of Israel-Hamas conflict

Antisemitic incidents surge worldwide in wake of Israel-Hamas conflict

During the May 2021 Israel-Hamas conflict, Jewish communities and religious institutions world-wide have been targeted in what has become an antisemitic campaign that equates Jews with the Israeli military and seeks to blame Jews around the world for the latest Middle East violence.  

Below is a list of examples of incidents that occurred over the course of the last week.  

Belgium 

Pro-Palestinian protesters in Belgium chanted in support of the Khaybar massacre, in which Jews were slaughtered. 

Canada 

A group of pro-Palestinian protesters swarmed and brutally assaulted a small number of pro-Israel demonstrators, including an elderly man. Reacting to the incident, the WJC-affiliated Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs said, “We condemn in the strongest terms these brazen acts of assault, intimidation, and hate targeting members of Canada’s Jewish community and supporters of Israel. There is absolutely no justification for political violence of any kind in our streets, whatever one’s cause may be.” 

“To put it bluntly: Those who hate Israel so much that it inspires them to egg, spit on, or assault their fellow Canadians aren’t just a threat to Jews. They threaten the very fabric of Canadian society.” 

“Like all Canadians of goodwill, Canada’s Jewish community seeks peace and a better future for Israelis and Palestinians alike. At the same time, we urge our neighbours of all backgrounds to join us in condemning these disturbing acts – and stand with us against antisemitism and all forms of bigotry.” 

Germany  

A 44-year-old Munich man was arrested after assaulting a man he called a  “Jewish pig,” despite the man he attacked not being Jewish. The victim sustained minor injuries.

Synagogues and Holocaust memorial in Dusseldorf were vandalized on 10 May. In a similar incident, several people attacked the entrance of a synagogue in Bonn and Israeli flags were burned outside Münster.  

Sharon Fehr, chairman of the Muenster Jewish Community, thanked the security forces and eyewitnesses who helped prevent the attack, saying, “Thanks to the quick intervention of the police in Muenster, something worse was probably prevented. We also thank citizens near the synagogue, who informed the police immediately...What remains are highly insecure members of the Jewish community in Münster, who are already very worried about their relatives and friends in Israel.” 

A group of pro-Palestinian protestors chanted “fucking Jews“ near the Jewish Community in Gelsenkirchen on 12 May. 

Spain 

“Free Palestine, Allah” graffiti was smeared on the building of a synagogue in the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in North Africa on 13 May.  

The WJC-affiliate d Federation of Jewish Communities in Spain (FCJE) strongly condemned the graffiti, saying, “Graffiti calling for ‘Free Palestine’, implies that Jews, in this case from Ceuta, are to be held responsible for the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian factions Hamas and Islamic Jihad.” 

“The FCJE, as the representative organization of Spanish Jews, calls on the authorities to prosecute such behavior and to take every measure necessary to protect our communities.” 

“Spanish Jewish communities live in peace and harmony with our neighbors, and we do not cater to such accusations,” the statement concluded. 

Antisemitic incidents also turned violent as an assailant attacked a community member with stones as he walked down the street exiting the synagogue.   

United Kingdom 

A convoy of cars decked with Palestinian flags drove through London blaring “Fuck the Jews, Rape their Daughters, Free Palestine” over a loudspeaker.  Responding to the incident, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “There is no place for antisemitism in our society. Ahead of Shavuot, I stand with Britain’s Jews who should not have to endure the type of shameful racism we have seen today.”  Four people were later arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated public order offenses.  

The words ‘Kike Free Palestine’, along with a swastika, were daubed on the front door of the Adat Yeshua Synagogue in Norwich.  

Rabbi Binyamin Sheldrake said "Our response to this is not one of hate, we're not going to allow people who do this to actually disturb how we live our lives as Jews... our response always is to pray for people who do this kind of thing. "Our response is not one of hatred but one of love." 

Police in Borehamwood launched a hate crime investigation after two family reported their mezuzah was desecrated by an unknown individual.  

Responding to the incident, Senior Rabbi of Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue Alex Chapper, said, “I’m appalled to hear that Jewish homes have been targeted locally. I’ve been in contact with the local police and we’ll be working together to enable an appropriate response to support and reassure the Jewish community. If I can offer any assistance to anyone affected by this, please do be in touch.” 

In a statement, Hertsmere Chief Inspector Mark Bilsdon said: “I would like to make it clear to the local Jewish community that we will not tolerate antisemitism. 

“I would also like to reassure you that we have reported these incidents centrally so that it can feed into the wider intelligence picture across the UK. 

“The victims are understandably shaken by what has happened and we will be putting them in touch with a specially trained hate crime officer in case they want extra support.” 

Demonstrators in London carrying Palestinian flags shouted in Arabic supporting the Khaybar massacre.  

United States 

In Los Angeles groups of pro-Palestinian protesters attacked Jews in two separate incidents. A group of men waving Palestinian flags attacked a group of Jewish men at a diner.

White supremacists drove past a pro-Israel rally in a van covered with antisemitic slurs including the statement “‘Hitler was right” along with a Palestinian flag. 

The individual's in the van, which was also smeared with messages like “Holocaust never happened,” “White goy summer,” and “Rabbi’s rape kids” shouted antisemitic epithets and threats through a megaphone 

Brooklyn Assemblywoman Phara Souffrant Forrest tweeted a pro-Palestinian map that showed a potential Palestinian replacing the Jewish State of Israel with the hashtag #FreePalestine. While Forrest took down the tweet, it was only after fellow Assemblyman Dan Rosenthal criticized her for her incendiary tweet. 

“For decades, terrorists attacked Israel under the banner of throwing all the Jews into the sea, and now they have allies in the New York State legislature openly supporting genocide of the Jewish people,” Rosenthal said. 

A swastika was smeared onto the door of a Salt Like City Jewish Community Center on 16 May. Police said surveillance footage of the front of the building showed an unidentified person scratching the symbol into the synagogue's door around 2 a.m.  

In a tweet posted that morning, Chabad Rabbi Avremi Zippel shared photos of the swastika and wrote, “We will not cower in fear.” 

Police in Skokie, Illinois reported that a window was smashed at the Persian Hebrew Congregation and someone left a pro-Palestine sign and flag outside. The incident is being investigated as a hate crime.