November 2021: Antisemitism in review - World Jewish Congress

November 2021: Antisemitism in review

November 2021:  Antisemitism in review



Brazilian apologizes, says his country would need to kill its Jews to match Germany’s wealth

When: 17 November

Where: Brazil

What:  A journalist for one of Brazil’s largest broadcasters said on TV that the only way Brazil could match Germany’s wealth was by killing its Jews.

Asked by journalist Amanda Klein how Brazil could reach the economic development enjoyed by Germany, Jose Carlos Bernardi, of Jovem Pan, a right-leaning radio and television station, replied: “Only by attacking Jews will we get there. If we kill a gazillion Jews and appropriate their economic power, then Brazil will get rich. That’s what happened with Germany after the war.”

In a statement, Bernardi said he “apologized for the unfortunate remarks” and added that his intention was to address and highlight the injustice done to Jews by Germany rather than recommend it as a course of action.

The WJC-affiliated Jewish Confederation of Brazil  said Bernardi’s remarks caused “distress and pain” to many Jews and reiterated that it is wrong and offensive for anyone to compare contemporary political issues to the Holocaust. Click here to learn more.



World Jewish Congress condemns antisemitic attacks on president of Bulgarian Jewish community

When: November

Where: Bulgaria

What: Several Bulgarian media outlets published antisemitic attacks on the head of the Bulgarian Jewish community, Dr. Alexander Oscar, accusing him of criminal wrongdoing, and the World Jewish Congress condemned this in the strongest possible terms.

Oscar, the president of the Organization of Jews in Bulgaria – Shalom, is a widely respected physician and the recipient of numerous awards who has spearheaded welfare programs that benefit all members of Bulgarian society. Through his many civil society engagements, he has consistently fought against all forms of hate speech and discrimination and worked to protect democracy.

Despite the fact that both Dr. Oscar and the hospital that employs him have unambiguously repudiated the false and pernicious accusations made against him, these allegations, which also involve conspiracy theories involving the entire Jewish community, were propagated by certain media outlets in Bulgaria and then via the internet by ordinary citizens as well as nationalist groups.

The World Jewish Congress is appalled by the recklessness of these media outlets in allowing themselves to be used to spread blatantly antisemitic falsehoods that target not just Dr. Oscar but the Bulgarian Jewish community as a whole.

The World Jewish Congress calls on Bulgarian authorities to protect all members of the local Jewish community from such antisemitic manifestations. The WJC is also informing the European Commission Coordinator for Combating Antisemitism about these incidents and asking for additional protection from E.U. institutions for Jewish communities that find themselves increasingly under threat. Click here to read more.



Antisemitic posters found around Ottawa

When: November

Where: Ottawa, Canada

What:  There have been eight recent incidents of hateful and antisemitic posters left in public places around Ottawa. Placards were found in the suburbs of Kanata, Barrhaven and, most recently, at a skatepark near Centrepointe Drive. Police are investigating the incidents. Click here to learn more.


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Teenager arrested for waving large knife in front of French Jewish school

When: 5 November

Where:  Lyon, France

What: A teenager who waved a large knife in front of a Jewish high school while shouting about “dirty Jews” was arrested.

The incident demonstrates that “the need for education against antisemitism must begin early. For this boy, it was too late,” said Rabbi Menachem Margolin, chairman of the European Jewish Association.

“The fact that something like this is happening in 2021 in France means Europe is failing miserably at preventing the recurrence of violent antisemitism,” he said. Click here to read more.



Far-right extremists and neo-Nazis commemorate Rudolf Hess

When: Germany

Where: 13 November

What: A group of 150 far-right extremists and neo-Nazis marched in several residential areas for a torchlight commemoration of Adolf Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess.

“With their planned march, the neo-Nazis show their contempt for our history and the victims of the Shoah,” commented Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany and a WJC Vice President. “Even more important are the counter rallies. I am happy about every courageous person who opposes right-wing extremists.” Click here to read more.



Italian politician calls Holocaust survivor Segre by her Auschwitz tattoo number

When: November

Where: Italy

What:  Italian politician Fabio Meroni, a Lega councilor from Lissone in the northern Lombardia region, referred to life senator and Holocaust survivor Liliana Segre by the number tattooed onto her arm by the Nazis in the Auschwitz concentration camp.

President of Milan's Jewish community Walker Meghnagi condemned the "ignoble attack" on Segre, saying it was "not tolerable" for a person holding public office to use such "vile" terms "for those who have suffered the horror of the racial laws on their own skin." Click here to read more.

South Africa

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South Africa pressures pageant winner to boycott Miss Universe in Israel

When: November

Where: South Africa

What: The South African government refused to support the decision by the newly crowned Miss South Africa, Lalela Mswane, to compete in the Miss Universe Pageant in Eilat, Israel. South African Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa’s called on Ms. Mswane and the Miss South Africa Organization to withdraw from the pageant because it is being held in Israel.

The WJC-affiliated South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) called out the fact that Minister Mthethwa’s “disinterest in upholding the real issues facing our arts and cultural imperatives have been palpable. Yet when it comes to placating the radical anti-Israel lobby who demand that Miss South Africa Lalela Mswane withdraw from the Miss Universe Pageant in Eilat, suddenly Minister Mthetwa finds his voice.”

“South Africa has diplomatic ties and extensive commercial trade relations with Israel. It engages in events such as this one, such as hosting the Israeli Davis Cup team in 2018. The way we influence situations is to engage, not to withdraw. The SAJBD believes that closing doors merely isolates us from contributing,” the statement concluded. Click here to read more.



Holocaust memorial in Spain defaced by vandals

When: 12 November

Where: Oviedo, Spain

What: Unknown vandals defaced a Holocaust memorial puncturing and scraping the stone and steel monolith with a sharp object.

The WJC-affiliated Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain strongly censured the attack, saying, “We urge the Spanish authorities to condemn such acts, to restore the damaged elements immediately, and to implement educational measures to teach tolerance, mutual understanding, and the right to be considered different.”

“As the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights warned last week, antisemitism has increased in the 27 EU member countries and [it] calls for a redoubling of efforts to combat hatred and prejudice against Jews,” the statement added. Click here to read more.

United Kingdom

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Survey shows antisemitism at all-time high at universities

When: November

Where: United Kingdom

What: Antisemitic incidents reached an all-time high in United Kingdom universities, a Community Security Trust (CST) report warned. The document stated that the results "should ring alarm bells for everyone in the Higher Education sector."

There were 111 cases compared to the 70 cases recorded during the previous 2019–2020 period, a 59% increase.

A CST spokesman said that “the fact that this record total coincided with the recent conflict in Israel and Gaza shows yet again that wherever extreme anti-Israel hate is found, anti-Jewish hatred surely follows.”

The CST also called on universities to ensure that their “complaints processes are fit for purpose and that Jewish students get the necessary support when they suffer antisemitism.” Click here to read more.

A pregnant Jewish woman and her husband standing outside a hospital were yelled at by a man hurling antisemitic epithets and threatening to break their bones. Shomrim Stamford Hill, a Jewish volunteer neighborhood watch group, said the man shouted, "F*** Jews."

A teenager was arrested after he allegedly defaced a synagogue with swastikas. In a tweet, the WJC-affiliated Board of Deputies said, “Tonight we’ve worked with local Jewish communities, @CST_UK @JewishLondon & @CamdenCouncil to coordinate actions by police & Camden in response to this antisemitic graffiti. We welcome swift action by all concerned, including an arrest & start of clean up.”

A man who allegedly sprayed “f**k Jews” on the pavement outside a yeshiva headquarters was apprehended by two guards on duty at the building. A CST spokesperson said, “This disgusting antisemitic graffiti was one of a series targeting the local community in Gateshead, and we are grateful to the guards for their swift action in apprehending a suspect and calling the police.”

United States

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Bomb threat investigated at Ohio Jewish Community Center

When: 15 November

Where: Youngstown, Ohio  

What: Authorities are investigating after a Jewish Community Center (JCC) in Ohio was sent a bomb threat via email. Fortunately, local authorities canvassed the building and determined there was no credible threat of a bomb.

“Our first priority is the safety and security of any person who comes to our Federation/JCC campus. We have developed and implemented detailed protocols to respond to such scenarios,” said JCC Executive Director Denise Wolf. “The process worked as planned, and everyone is safe.” Click here to read more.

Residents in Texas county received antisemitic pamphlets filled with pebbles, alleging that Jewish leaders control not only the media, but the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. "Every single aspect of the COVID agenda is Jewish," the letter falsely states.

A young adult in Lowe Manhattan approached a 34-year-old Jewish man, grabbed the man’s yarmulke off his head, yelled an antisemitic epithet, and then proceeded to throw his yarmulke on the floor. Authorities are investigating the incident.

An unknown individual threw a bottle at a Jewish pregnant woman in in Crown Heights, New York.