April 2021: Antisemitism in review - World Jewish Congress

April 2021: Antisemitism in review

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April 2021: Antisemitism in review


Map 01 argentina

Neo-Nazis arrested before carrying out planned attack on Argentine synagogue

When: April

Where: Tucuman, Argentina

What: Argentinian police arrested two people who were believed to be planning an attack on an Argentine synagogue on  a Friday night . Authorities made the arrest after discovering evidence of the planned attack in the Tucuman province of northern Argentina as they were investigating a group called Goy Group Unleashed.

During the two arrests, police discovered guns, knives, radio communications equipment, and Nazi literature.

While antisemitic incidents are rarely physical in Argentina, the number of total antisemitic incidents rose by 107% in 2018, according to a report by the WJC-affiliated Delegation of Israelite Associations of Argentina (DAIA). The head of the Jewish community has been under police protection since February, after receiving credible threats. Click here to read more.


Map 02 australia

Surge of Nazi graffiti in Tasmania

When: 6 April

Where: Tasmania, Australia

What: Following a recent surge in antisemitic graffiti found across Tasmania, Jewish leaders have renewed their calls for residents to report Nazi imagery as well as unusual behavior. Hobart Hebrew Congregation President Jeff Schneider described the series of incidents as “very disturbing,” adding, "I trust that it is not reflective of Tasmania's warm spirit of community and tolerance."

"Any symbols of Nazism is tied to the attempted genocide of the Jewish people and the persecution of several other minorities, including homosexuals and Jehovah's Witnesses...Attitudes like this reflect the need for education to promote themes of tolerance and understanding. Click here to learn more.



Chabad Centre sprayed with antisemitic graffiti

When: 6 April

Where: Victoria, Canada

What:  The Victoria Police department is investigating following the discovery at the Chabad Centre for Jewish Life and Learning of antisemitic graffiti calling for the murder and gassing of Jews. Surveillance footage showed two suspects tagging the Centre.

“This cowardly attempt at intimidation will not go unchallenged,” tweeted the WJC-affiliated Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) “We take solace knowing that @vicpdcanada is investigating the incident as a hate crime.” Click here to learn more.

Graffiti smeared on the Vancouver Seawall compared a top Canadian doctor to the Nazi doctor Joseph Mengele, who served as chief physician at the Auschwitz extermination camp. Outraged by the incident, Nico Slobinsky of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs tweeted, “The role of a public health officer is the exact opposite of the role Mengele played. One is responsible for the health and wellbeing of the population, the other tried to destroy humanity.”



Antisemitic literature found outside Jewish cemetery in Denmark

When: 4 April

Where: Aalborg, Denmark

What: Red paint and antisemitic flyers were discovered outside a Jewish cemetery in Denmark. Following the incident, the neo-Nazi group Nordic Resistance Movement   published a picture on its website of the display. Authorities are investigating who placed the antisemitic literature in front of the cemetery. Click here to learn more.


Map france
Map france

French court upholds ruling not to try Muslim man who killed Jewish woman

When: 14 April

Where:  France

What: France’s highest court ruled that the killer of Sarah Halimi was not criminally responsible and could not go on trial because he was high on drugs.

The ruling elicited widespread outrage across France, and sparked protests in Paris, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, London, and other cities. Reacting to the ruling, Representative Council of Jews of France President and WJC Vice President Francis Kalifat wrote that the high court ruling not only deprives the victim’s family of a “trial essential to their mourning work, but also deprives the people of France of a necessary trial of antisemitism.” Click here to read more.



Despite COVID lockdowns, antisemitic incidents rise in Berlin

When: 2020

Where: Germany

What: Despite COVID-19 lockdowns, antisemitic incidents increased in Berlin by 13%, according to a report by Berlin’s Research and Information Center Antisemitism (RIAS). The report showed that there were 1,004 antisemitic incidents in the German capital last year, 118 more than 2019.

According to the report, 27% of the incidents came from the far right, 9% were classified as connected to a conspiracy myth, 7% were Israel-related antisemitism and Islamist incidents, and 3% were “political” antisemitism. Click here to read more.

Some 20 German police officers are suspected of stealing ammunition for pistols, submachine guns and sniper rifles and handing it to a shooting range linked to a right-wing extremist group.


Historian who glorified Nazi collaborators nominated as head of Genocide Center in Lithuania

When: April

Where: Lithuania

What: A historian who has glorified Nazi collaborators, Dr. Arūnas Bubnys, was nominated to become the director of the state-sponsored Lithuanian Genocide and Resistance Research Center (LGGRTC) by the Speaker of Lithuania’s parliament, Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen.

Experts on the Holocaust in Lithuania decried his appointment, alleging that he has glorified the pro-German puppet regime that ruled following the Nazi invasion of 1941. For instance, in June 2020, Bubnys praised Jonas Noreika, a Lithuanian independence advocate and military general who participated in the mass murder of Jews in the summer of 1941, as well as Kazys Škirpa, a founder of the wartime-era Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF). Click here to learn more.



COVID-19 lockdowns leads to 25% drop in antisemitism in Netherlands

When: Report released April 2021

Where: Netherlands

What: Antisemitic incidents in the Netherlands recorded in 2020 decreased by 25% overall, a development largely attributed to social distancing restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus. The report, released by Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI), found that there were 135 incidents last year, compared to 182 cases in 2019. The tally of incidents in 2020 was identical to the number of incidents in 2018 and remains the third-highest finding since 2010. Click here to read more.

Fans of the Dutch soccer team Vitesse chanted “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas” at a fan rally. Police are examining footage from the rally.

Dutch philosopher Hans Achterhuis called the dispersal of Jews in the Diaspora a “blessing,” adding, “They had no power and therefore no possibility of exercising religiously motivated violence. And one sees how it can go wrong if that power does exist, in the State of Israel.”



Synagogue in northern Russia badly damaged in apparent arson attack

When: 20 April

Where: Moscow, Russia

What:  Unknown perpetrators set a Jewish community center on fire and drew antisemitic slogans and swastikas on the building. The incident took place in the early hours of April 20, Hitler's birthday.

Reacting to the attack, the Russian Jewish Congress (RJC) said, "We demand that law enforcement agencies open an and punish the perpetrators severely." Click here to read more.

South Africa

Map south africa
Map south africa

BDS advocate tells students, "Hitler committed no crime"

When: April

Where: Cape Town, South Africa

What: A prominent South African lecturer and supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign is under investigation by the University of Cape Town (UCT) after he delivered a lecture to students in which he defended Adolf Hitler, saying, “Hitler committed no crime.”

UCT said that the incident was of "grave concern."

“We are verifying all the facts,” a UCT spokesperson said, according to the Algemeiner. “In the meantime, the university is clear that all brutalities of genocide constitute both formal crimes against humanity and ongoing sources of pain. We distance ourselves very strongly from any other view.”

“Hitler didn’t just persecute Jews," an anonymous student said. "He also persecuted black people, [Roma] and disabled people."

"Six million people died in the Holocaust and the annual Holocaust Remembrance Day has been a part of my life,” he added. “To think that the comment that Hitler committed no crime would ever fly and not become an issue is insane.” Click here to read more.

United Kingdom

Map 09 united kingdom

British anti-lockdown protesters wear yellow stars

When: 25 April

Where: London, United Kingdom

What: Protestors against coronavirus lockdown restrictions wore yellow stars and carried posters with slogans such as “COVID-19 vaccine Holocaust.”

The incident sparked widespread outrage. The Auschwitz Memorial Museum wrote that the protest was a “sad symptom of moral and intellectual decline.”

“Instrumentalization of the tragedy of Jews who suffered, were humiliated, marked with a yellow star, and finally isolated in ghettos and murdered during the Holocaust, in order to argue against vaccination that saves human lives, is a sad symptom of moral and intellectual decline,” the museum said on Twitter.

Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, called for an end to the "use and abuse of Holocaust language and imagery,” adding that “at the very least, the ignorance of the history these people are invoking is deeply painful; at worst it is provocatively and purposefully antisemitic. This willful abuse of this episode of history is crass and beyond insulting to Holocaust survivors and their families.” Click here to read more.

Home Secretary Priti Patel asked the UK Parliament to outlaw the group called Atomwaffen Division (AWD), an American neo-Nazi group linked to five murders in the US.

"Vile and racist white supremacist groups like this exist to spread hate, sow division, and advocate the use of violence to further their sick ideologies," Patel said. "I will do all I can to protect young and vulnerable people from being radicalized, which is why I am taking action to proscribe this dangerous group."

Ten Jewish graves at a cemetery in Belfast, Northern Ireland were damaged in what is being considered a hate crime by police.

According to local councilor Steven Corer, of the Sinn Fein Party, the incident is the latest in a series of acts of vandalism at the cemetery.

"These unbelievable attacks on the headstones of dead people need to stop," said Steven Corr of the Sinn Fein Party. “Parents need to impress upon their kids that the cemetery isn’t a playground or a place to gather. Parks, playgrounds, and pitches are reopening, and this damage and desecration of graves causes untold hurt and distress to all the families who have loved ones buried in the City Cemetery.”

United States

Map 10 united states

FBI director says US extremists traveled to Europe and meet with activists

When: 15 April

Where: Washington D.C., United States

What: FBI director Christopher Wray told a House of Representatives Intelligence Committee that the FBI believed US far-right extremists traveled to Europe to meet with like-minded activists and possibly train them.

Wray also said that the FBI considers right-wing militants in the United States to be the domestic extremists with the most extensive international ties, saying they are the "actors with the most persistent and concerning transnational connections." Click here to read more.

A man was arrested after painting hateful symbols, including swastikas, around Fort Collins, Colorado. Police stated that they stand with the community against hate and alerted federal partners to make sure the man’s actions were on their radar. Police also arrested a man who was wanted for several antisemitic graffiti incidents throughout Coral Gables and neighboring jurisdictions in Florida.

A playground was vandalized with antisemitic symbols in West Haverstraw, N.Y. Police are investigating the incident and if it should be seen as a hate crime.

In 2020, reports of antisemitic incidents rose to an all-time high in the D.C. region with 43 antisemitic incidents, a 126% increase from 2019. Neighboring Virginia reported a 75% increase while Maryland reported a 135% increase.

Four synagogues in Riverdale, New York were vandalized as individuals threw rocks at glass doors and windows. New York politicians, including the governor and mayor, have condemned the incidents and shared concerns over rising antisemitic attacks in New York City. Although the alleged perpetrator was arrested, he was “released on supervised release,” according to the Bronx District Attorney’s office.

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