Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called for a fight against rising Muslim and left-wing anti-Semitism in Europe, hours after the government published a report that said the far-right posed the greatest threat to Jews on the continent.
Speaking at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting on International Holocaust Memorial Day, Netanyahu said that right-wing anti-Semitism in Europe was well established, but that a recent rise in anti-Zionism was driving anti-Jewish and anti-Israel sentiment across the continent.
“On Friday, vandals smashed the monument to the Jews of Thessaloniki who perished in the Holocaust. I strongly condemn this, and call on the international community to act against emerging anti-Semitism, especially the emerging anti-Semitism in Europe,” the prime minister said, according to remarks released by his office.
“Anti-Semitism from the right is not a new phenomenon there. What is new in Europe is the combination of Islamic anti-Semitism and the anti-Semitism of the extreme left, which includes anti-Zionism, such as has recently occurred in Great Britain and in Ireland,” he said. “What a disgrace.”
Britain’s Labour Party has faced multiple accusations of anti-Semitism on the part of members and representatives, as well as leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Last week, the Foreign Ministry reprimanded Ireland’s envoy to Israel following the advancement of a “scandalous” bill criminalizing Israeli products from areas captured by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.
The prime minister’s remarks were at odds with a report on anti-Semitism released by the Diaspora Affairs Ministry earlier on Sunday, which showed a worldwide increase in attacks against Jews last year, and the highest number of fatalities in anti-Semitic attacks around the world in 25 years.
“In contrast to previous years, when Islamist anti-Semitism was the main and most dangerous threat to Jewish communities, in 2018 there has been a turnaround and now anti-Semitic incidents emanating from the far-right are the main and most dangerous threat to Jewish communities, especially in the United States and Europe,” the report said.
The physical violence in 2018 was led by neo-Nazis and white supremacists, the ministry added.
Netanyahu, who also holds the position of foreign minister, has come under criticism for developing ties with far-right European governments and parties.
Last year, Conference of European Rabbis president Pinchas Goldschmidt called on Israel to end its engagement with far-right parties in Europe, warning lawmakers at a meeting at the Knesset that cozying up to nationalist groups in Europe was putting local Jewish communities at risk.
“It is not worth a short-term endorsement or for Israel to receive political support, only to put the Jewish community at risk,” Goldschmidt said.