The European Jewish Congress found a 30 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents across the world in 2012, according to an annual report the organization published on Sunday in cooperation with Tel Aviv University.
The study linked the surge to Europe’s economic troubles and a deadly attack on Jewish schoolchildren last year in Toulouse, France.
“It appears that rather than the Toulouse attacks being a shock to the system, they had the opposite effect and perhaps allowed terrorist groups in Europe to become more emboldened,” EJC President Moshe Kantor said at an anti-Semitism press conference Sunday at Tel Aviv University, pointing to attempted terror attacks across the continent against Jewish targets.
In Europe, Hungary was identified as experiencing the most worrying anti-Semitic trends and a “correlation was observed between the political strengthening of extreme right parties and the high level of anti-Semitic manifestations, including incidents of violence and vandalism,” the study revealed.
Greece and the Ukraine were also seeing similar trends of extreme right-wing parties whose anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli rhetoric have apparently helped ignite attacks.
Tel Aviv University said Sunday that 686 attacks were recorded in 34 countries, ranging from physical violence to vandalism of synagogues and cemeteries, compared to 526 in 2011. The sharp increase followed a two-year decline.
“We should be doing all we can to reverse these negative trends and there needs to be a policy of ‘zero tolerance’ for racism,” Kantor said. “We are reaching out to the leaders in Hungary and the EU and calling for the initiation of hearings in relevant committees, because this situation cannot continue.”
The EJC said in a press statement that it has written to the president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, “calling on him to initiate parliamentary hearings and provide an official and regular monitoring of developments around these issues,”
AP contributed to this report.