August 2021: Antisemitism in review - World Jewish Congress

August 2021: Antisemitism in review

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August 2021:  Antisemitism in review

Argentina

Map 01 argentina

Contestant mocks Anne Frank to illustrate "women who don’t leave house"

When: 6 August

Where: Argentina

What: A contestant on one of Argentina’s most popular talent shows mocked Anne Frank, singing about “women who don’t leave the house” in front of a background image of the famous victim of the Holocaust.  

“To use Anne Frank as the background for a song by a woman who refuses to stay at home is to bring the banalization of the Holocaust to its extreme expression,” the Anne Frank House wrote in a statement. “Anne Frank did not stay at home because she was a submissive woman but had to hide to escape the persecution of the Nazi machinery.”

The DAIA Jewish umbrella group called the show’s choice of imagery “unfortunate and confusing.”

The show's host and several producers apologized, saying the incident was an “unintentional mistake.” Click here to read more.

Australia

Map 02 australia

Leaflet compares COVID-19 restrictions to pre-Holocaust restrictions on Jews

When: August

Where: New South Wales, Australia

What: A leaflet compared COVID-19 social distancing restrictions to the treatment of Jews prior to the Holocaust.

The leaflet was condemned by Darren Barks, CEO of the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies, who said, “This accusation is as disgraceful as it is reprehensible. The banning from public locations, deportation, and then the murder of six million Jews by a totalitarian, racist, antisemitic regime stands as an unmatched horrific time in modern history. A comparison cannot be made between what happened during World War II and the efforts of our officials to balance our health and economic needs while under threat from a worldwide pandemic.

“Comparisons such as this are offensive and hurtful to well-meaning Australians, given that 27,000 Australian soldiers lost their lives fighting that regime and cheapen the sacrifice of the millions of Jews and other victims murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators.” To read more click here.

In response to an engagement party of a Jewish couple violating Australian social distancing restrictions, a Melbourne hospital worker posted on social media that those who violated the lockdown policy should be put in gas chambers.

“These comments do not reflect the Royal Melbourne Hospital and our values,” the Hospital’s response said. “We understand this language can be triggering for members of the community and are working to rectify this situation.”

Brazil

Brazil

Hackers threaten to kill Jews, disrupt online mourning ceremony

When: August

Where: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

What: Hackers threaten to “enter synagogues and kill everyone” during an online memorial for a former Jewish school principal in Rio de Janeiro. Among other derogatory and threatening messages the hackers wrote, “Death to Jews,” “I’ll explode,” “Sieg Heil” and “dirty Jews,” and inserted videos of Adolf Hitler.

“Authorities from federal, state, and municipal circles must take a stand against antisemitism and the persecution of minorities,” Alberto Klein, president of the Rio Jewish federation, wrote on social media.

“The most shocking thing is that it took place in the midst of a religious service, a mourning ritual, in honor of an educator who dedicated her life to preparing generations to become creative adults, anchored in the ancient Jewish tradition and become productive members of society,” Diane Kuperman, a human rights activist and former vice president of the Jewish federation, told JTA.

Brazilian authorities are investigating the incident. Click here to read more.

Bulgaria

Bulgaria

Bulgarian synagogue vandalized with Nazi graffiti

When: 22 August

Where: Sofia, Bulgaria

What: The Central Synagogue in Sofia was vandalized with antisemitic graffiti, including a swastika and the number “1488,” in reference to a neo-Nazi slogan.

Bulgaria's Central Israelite Religious Council posted on Facebook , “We strongly condemn this action and call on the authorities to find the perpetrators as soon as possible and to impose the most severe sanctions.” Click here to read more.

Canada

canada

Muslim student organization invites speaker who expressed ‘Genocidal Antisemitism’

When: August

Where: Canada

What: The Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) invited cleric Tareq Al-Suwaidan to speak at the Muslim Student Leadership conference, despite Al-Suwaidan’s history of antisemitic rhetoric, including calls for genocide against Jews.

Al-Suwaidan was the author of a “Jewish encyclopedia” that denied the Holocaust, described the Jews as “the most hostile enemies of the Muslim nation,” and called for mothers of the Islamic nation to “suckle their babies on the hatred of the sons of Zion…until a new generation rises and wipes them off the face of the earth.”

“It is shocking that any organization, especially a registered charity in Canada, would give a platform to those promoting a genocidal form of antisemitism,” said Shimon Koffler Fogel, the President and CEO of the WJC-affiliated Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.

“What we need are initiatives that bring young people together, not a preacher who promotes extreme hate and incites religious violence,” he asserted. “We are also calling on the government of Canada to review its granting process to ensure that organizations receiving funding to combat racism are not themselves in need of anti-racism training.” Click here to read more.

Election campaign posters for Canadian-Jewish political candidates Rachel Bendayan and Anthony Housefather of the Liberal Party  were defaced with swastikas in Montreal in mid-August. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that he was "disgusted and angry" at the antisemitic incidents.

Canada's New Democratic Party (NDP) Leader Jagmeet Singh wrote on Twitter: "Acts of antisemitism glorify one of the most hateful ideologies in human history. We must confront it, prevent it, and give it no space to grow."

Erin O'Toole, Leader of the Opposition and of the Conservative Party , condemned the hate crime as well: "Antisemitism and racism have no place in Canada," he tweeted.

Toronto police are searching for the suspect who vandalized a synagogue with antisemitic graffiti. The mayor of Toronto, John Tory, expressed solidarity with the Jewish community saying, “Antisemitism has no place in our city.”

Ontario’s NDP Leader Andrea Horwath also commented on the incident calling it “painful and disturbing.”

“My heart is with the Beth Sholom community and Jewish communities in the GTA, Montréal and nationwide facing multiple acts of antisemitic vandalism,” Horwath said. “Urgent government action to fight rising antisemitism and white supremacist hate is long overdue.”

A vandal at the University of British Columbia ripped the mezuzah from a student’s doorway and damaged the encased parchment scroll.

“This incident is completely unacceptable, and we are taking it very seriously. Behavior of this type is not acceptable in residence, or anywhere else at UBC, and if those found responsible are student residents, they will face significant repercussions – up to and including eviction,” writes Associate Vice-President of Student Housing & Community Services, Andrew Parr.

“In consultation with the resident, we shared information about this occurrence with others in their residence community to both shine a light on and reaffirm how unacceptable this type of activity is in our community and to encourage reporting information that may aid the police investigation.”

France

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Map france

French police detain woman for antisemitic poster at COVID protest

When: 7 August

Where: Metz, France

What: Police detained Cassandre Fristot, an activist for the far-right National Rally party, who was carrying an antisemitic sign condemning President Emmanuel Macron and several well-known Jewish people as “traitors” during a demonstration against COVID-19 emergency measures.

“This poster is reprehensible,” Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin wrote on Twitter. “Antisemitism is a criminal offense, not an opinion, and such expressions will not remain unpunished.” Click here to read more.

A memorial commemorating Holocaust survivor Simone Veil was vandalized with several swastikas.

“Simone Veil is a French and global figure in women’s rights, Europe and the fight against antisemitism,” Junior Interior Minister Marlène Schiappa wrote on Twitter. “To deface her memorial is to deface France! These heinous acts must not go unpunished.” An investigation is ongoing.

COVID vaccine centers and testing sites were vandalized with swastikas and yellow stars, comparing vaccine drives to the Holocaust. The French Health Ministry reports that twenty-two sites and medical centers have been desecrated overall. 

Germany

Germany

Attack in Cologne motivated by antisemitism

When: 20 August

Where: Cologne, Germany

What: An 18-year-old was attacked by a group of some ten people because he was wearing a kippah, a spokesman for investigators confirmed in late August.

The man had been sitting in a park with an acquaintance late Friday night. As they were about to leave, he is said to have been insulted in an antisemitic fashion. One of the groups also allegedly snatched the kippah from his head. The act was partially recorded by a police camera.

Cologne's mayor, Henriette Reker, reacted "with horror and regret" to the act of violence. "In our city, everyone must be able to live without fear, no matter their religion, their worldview, or how you live and love," she said. "This cosmopolitanism characterizes Cologne and makes this city what it is, so such assaults hurt us especially."

The German government's antisemitism commissioner, Felix Klein, expressed dismay at the brutal attack in Cologne. "I am appalled by this horrific and cowardly attack on a young man who, apparently due to antisemitic motives, was violently attacked and seriously injured," Klein said.

Klein praised the "quick investigative success of the police," who were able to arrest the alleged perpetrators on the same day. He said his thoughts were with the young man, whom he wished a speedy and full recovery. "At the same time, I hope that the suspected perpetrators, who are apparently only 18 and 19 years old, will be given appropriate training in which they will be taught the fundamentals of the rule of law and our free, democratic basic order," Klein said. Click here to read more.

Greece

Greece
Greece

Jewish cemetery vandalized

When: 6 August

Where: Ioannina, Greece

What: A tomb in a Jewish cemetery in the northwestern city of Ioannina was desecrated and its covering slab removed, and smashed marble was strewn around it.

“We strongly condemn this shameful act of sacrilege which indicates that the hatred of the perpetrators leads to villainous manifestations of violence and fanaticism,” the WJC-affiliated Central Board of Jewish Communities said.

“We call upon the competent authorities to arrest the perpetrators and bring them to justice,” the statement said. “The Jewish cemetery of Ioannina is…a place of memory and cultural heritage for the city of Ioannina as a whole.”

Prior to the Holocaust, Ioannina was a thriving Jewish community, dating back nearly 2,000 years before occupying Nazi forces deported Jewish residents to death camps. Click here to read more.

Norway

Norway

Antisemitic Facebook posts resurface from Imam who promoted interfaith dialogue

When: 2019

Where: Norway

What: Antisemitic posts from Imam Noor Ahmad Noor saying Jews “put the world in danger” and arguing that it is “necessary to kill them” resurfaced in the beginning of August.

In a short statement to the Norwegian media, Noor said, “My posts were published in frustration over attacks in Gaza. Innocent children and women were killed. My criticism and frustration should have been directed at the regime and not against a group of people. I apologize.”

Noor, who served as the director of Minhaj-ul-Quran, was promptly suspended. Click here to read more.,

Poland

Poland

Symbolic grave for Jews in Poland defaced

When: August

Where: Rudzica, Poland

What: A grave-shaped monument in Poland honoring 1,500 people who were burned to death in Rudzica in 1941 was defaced with praises for Adolf Hitler. Police do not have any suspects. Click here to read more.

“There is a wave of hatred online,”  Piotr Kadlcik,  former president of the Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland told the JTA. “There are few antisemitic assaults, but something is definitely happening, and I fear it’s getting worse.”

Russia

Russia

Russian scientist beaten on Moscow bus by assailant seeking to "finish Hitler’s job"

When: 6 August

Where: Moscow, Russia

What: Vladimir Tselin, an 82-year-old prominent scientist, was assaulted on a bus in Moscow by a young assailant who shouted that “Hitler should have finished the job, so I’ll do it for him.”

According to reports, no one on the bus intervened to protect Tselin, who sought medical treatment for his injuries. Authorities are investigating the incident and are actively searching for the perpetrator. Click here to read more.

Slovenia

Slovenia

Far-right editor calls Hitler a hero

When: 2 August

Where: Slovenia

What: Urban Purgar, the editor of a far-right “news agency” in Slovenia, called Nazi leader Adolf Hitler a “hero.”

 Former Justice Minister Aleš Zalar tweeted in response  that glorifying the Nazi dictator was a criminal act. “It is incumbent upon the state prosecution to make a move,” Zalar said.  “The reaction of the state’s criminal apparatus must be immediate and strict.”

“In democratic Slovenia, such posts and spreading of intolerance are absolutely unacceptable. We expect all government parties to clearly condemn such glorification of Hitler and, above all, to take measures,” Marjan Šarec List (LMŠ) said.

“European nations suffered in the past century due to three totalitarian regimes,” Matej Tonin, the head of the coalition New Slovenia (NSi) remarked. “Glorifying leaders who are responsible for the death of millions of people is reprehensible and has no place in modern society.”

Ljubo Jasnič, head of the Pensioners Party, also condemned the tweet, saying, “My parents and my close relatives have survived fascism and the Dachau death camp as patriotic Slovenians of Primorska...My friends and I witnessed the literal slaughter in the Balkans, a genocide of a nation that could have been fatal for us as well. History obviously no longer teaches us.” Click here to read more.

Ukraine

Ukraine
Ukraine

Ukraine grave of Rabbi Nachman’s daughter desecrated with pig parts

When: August

Where: Kremenchug, Ukraine

What: The grave of a daughter of Rabbi Nachman, the founder of the Breslover movement, was razed and desecrated with pig heads. The incident was the fifth such act since 2013, including a 2015 incident in which the grave was set on fire and defaced with swastikas. Click here to read more.

United Kingdom

Map united kingdom
Map united kingdom

Board of Deputies calls on Bristol University to suspend academic who called Jewish students "pawns of a racist regime"

When: 17 August

Where: United Kingdom

What: Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl wrote to Bristol University Vice Chancellor Hugh Brady calling on him to suspend Professor David Miller, who is under investigation for alleging that Jewish students were “pawns of a racist regime engaged in ethnic cleansing.”

Van der Zyl wrote that failure to suspend the professor while the investigation was ongoing “will cause the UK Jewish community to assume that either the university is not taking the behavior exhibited by Mr. Miller seriously, or, perhaps even worse, that this entire investigation is a sham.”

She added: “Either inadvertently or deliberately, the university appears to be suggesting it believes that by pretending no problem exists, the anger and disquiet surrounding this issue will disappear. I feel the need to emphasize that this is not going to happen.” Click here to read more.

At least four unprovoked attacks against Jews within a matter of hours were perpetrated by the same suspect, according to London Metropolitan Police. Reacting to the news, London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, called the incidents “appalling.”

“Let me be clear: racist abuse and hate crime, including antisemitism, have absolutely no place in our city,” Khan said.

A Jewish man and child were punched in the face in London. The neighborhood watch group Shomrim condemned the incident as a “vicious racist attack.”

“The unconscious victim was rushed to hospital with a broken foot/ankle and nasty head injuries,” the group added.

United States

Map 10 united states

2 former California policeman vandalize car with swastika

When: August

Where: California, United States

What: Two former policemen were charged with vandalism by the Los Angeles County District Attorney for allegedly spray-painting a swastika on the back seat of an impounded car.

The investigation into the vandalism also revealed that at least 13 officers had exchanged messages that included racist, homophobic, or antisemitic statements. Those officers were placed on leave. Click here to read more.

A swastika was discovered at the Northern Westchester park in New York. “As many of us know, there is nothing humorous or insignificant about a swastika,” Ossining Mayor Rika Levin wrote in an email to the community. “The equilateral cross was the official emblem of the Nazi Party. It is recognized worldwide as a symbol of oppression, hatred, and the sadistic death of millions of people.”

Levin, the child of two Holocaust survivors, added that “this symbol hits me deeply in the most personal way.”

Police in Long Beach, New York arrested one man for vandalizing a local synagogue. In addition to the damage, two Torah scrolls were stolen, although some of the metal ornaments adorning the Torah scrolls were later recovered.

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