Despite a marked increase in anti-Semitic harassment worldwide, 2011 saw a decline in violent openly anti-Semitic incidents from the previous year, according to a new study released by Tel Aviv University as Israel prepares for Holocaust Remembrance Day beginning Wednesday evening.

The study, “Antisemitism Worldwide 2011,” reported 446 major violent incidents in 2011, compared with 614 in 2010, a decline of 27 percent. The main decline was in the UK, France and Canada, where 63% of all major violent incidents worldwide occurred.

University researchers theorize that the global reduction in major anti-Semitic incidents is connected to a number of factors, most significantly the decline in violent confrontations between Israelis and Palestinians in 2011, the increase in European right-wing violence against Muslims and immigrants, and the Arab Spring.

Still, the university’s data shows that the anti-Semitic physical violence has become “more brutal and harmful.” Radicalization among young Muslims, as well as the growing dissemination of anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli propaganda online, contributed significantly to the increase in harassment and incitement throughout the world.

The study claimed that “cyberspace, with its websites, social networks, forums and blogs, has become the major conveyor of bigotry and racism in general, and antisemitism in particular.”

Anti-Semitic grafitti (Illustrative photo; credit: Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

Anti-Semitic grafitti (Illustrative photo; credit: Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

Forty-two percent of the violent anti-Semitic incidents, were attacks on individual Jews, 20% were attacks on personal property, 18% on synagogues, 14% on Jewish cemeteries and 6% on Jewish schools.

France led the list of countries where major violent incidents occurred with 114, followed closely by the UK with 104 cases.