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Anti-Semitic violence worldwide in 2019 was highest in 5 years – report

Nearly three quarters of incidents flagged by EJC involved vandalism, arson or assault: ‘Not only have the numbers increased substantially, but the worst types of attacks grew’

Orthodox Jewish men talk on Forshay Road in Monsey, NY, December 29, 2019, down the street from the scene of a stabbing rampage that occurred the night before, during a Hanukkah celebration. (AP/Allyse Pulliam)
Illustrative: Orthodox Jewish men talk on Forshay Road in Monsey, New York, December 29, 2019, down the street from the scene of a stabbing rampage that occurred during a Hanukkah celebration. (AP/Allyse Pulliam)

JTA — The number of anti-Semitic violent crimes documented worldwide last year rose to 456 cases, an 18 percent increase over 2018 and the highest tally since 2014, the European Jewish Congress said.

EJC and the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry presented the data on Monday in a report, the Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide 2019.

More than a quarter of the cases that are classified in the report as violent were threats. The rest involved actual physical violence, including 242 cases of vandalism, 21 cases of arson and 62 assaults on people, with about a quarter of them involving a weapon.

The data were not aggregated according to country, though the report does include many Western countries and countries with large Jewish populations.

“Not only have the numbers increased substantially, but the worst types of attacks grew, which should be extremely disturbing for leaders and authorities around the world,” EJC President Moshe Kantor wrote in a statement about the report.

Illustrative: A swastika is seen on a side wall of a former synagogue in Mommenheim, eastern France, March 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)

He added that the coronavirus pandemic is changing the way in which anti-Semitism is being expressed.

“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a significant rise in accusations that Jews, as individuals and as a collective, are behind the spread of the virus or are directly profiting from it,” Kantor said. “The language and imagery used clearly identifies a revival of the medieval ‘blood libels’ when Jews were accused of spreading disease, poisoning wells or controlling economies.”

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