The European Commission on Sunday (5 November) condemned the jump in anti-Semitism across the EU since the outbreak of conflict in the Middle East, saying “European Jews today are again living in fear.”
“The spike of antisemitic incidents across Europe has reached extraordinary levels in the last few days, reminiscent of some of the darkest times in history,” the commission said in a statement.
“We condemn these despicable acts in the strongest possible terms. They go against everything that Europe stands for,” it said.
Citing anti-Semitic incidents in Austria, France, Germany and Spain, as well as “demonstrators chanting hate slogans against Jews”, the commission, which is the European Union’s executive arm, said it was essential to push back against both anti-Semitism “as well as the rise in anti-Muslim hatred that we have been witnessing over the past weeks — which has no place in Europe”.
In countries where figures are available from police or civil society groups, including the United States, Britain, France, Germany and South Africa, the pattern is clear: the number of antisemitic incidents has gone up since 7 October by several hundred percent compared with the same period last year.
In the case of the antisemitic incidents, most consist of verbal abuse, online slurs or threats, graffiti, and defacing of Jewish properties, businesses or sites of religious significance. Physical assaults represent a significant proportion.
One common thread is that anger over the deaths of thousands of Palestinians as a result of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza is invoked as justification for verbal or physical aggression towards Jews in general, often accompanied by the use of slurs and tropes rooted in the long history of antisemitism.
Violence flared on 7 October, when scores of Hamas militants swarmed into Israel, staging the deadliest attack in the country’s history as they killed more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and took 240 hostages, according to Israeli officials.
Israel has retaliated by relentlessly bombing the Gaza Strip, the densely populated coastal territory that Hamas has controlled for years, killing at least 9,770 people, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.
*first published in: Euractiv.com