200 anti-Semitic messages a day

200 anti-Semitic messages a day

Liliana Segre is an 89-year-old Holocaust survivor. In 2018, she was honoured as a life senator in the Italian parliament. In October 2019, she used this position to propose a law against intolerance, racism and anti-Semitism. As a response, she is now the victim of two hundred online anti-Semitic messages a day.[1]

Anti-Semitism is alive
In recent years, there has been clear evidence that anti-Semitism is on the rise across Europe. This is seen all the way from Italy, where polls have shown 73% of Italians see anti-Semitism as a problem,[2] to Germany, where anti-Semitic hate crimes have risen by 20% between 2018 and 2019.[3] The UK is also witnessing a rise in anti-Semitic incidents, with the Community Security Trust recording a 10% increase between 2018 and 2019. Furthermore, the European Union published a study in July 2019 which found that 70% of Jewish respondents experienced more anti-Semitism in public in 2019 than five years earlier.[4] Finally, the Guardian quotes statistics that show 85% of European Jews believe anti-Semitism is a serious problem, and 89% noticing an increase in anti-Semitism over the past decade.[5]

Recent research by CNN reveals that 40% of Jews say to be at risk of racist violence. Although many Europeans see that anti-Semitism is a growing problem, around 10% of them state that they have a negative attitude toward Jews. According to the CNN research, four out of ten people in Poland and Hungary say that Jews have too much influence in business and finance. A third of Austrians and a quarter of French and German respondents agree. In Poland and Hungary, one out of three people say Jews are too influential in politics and more than 25% believes that Jews have too much influence on the media. In Austria, France, and Germany, about 20% says that Jews have too much influence on media and a quarter believes they have too much influence on wars and conflicts. This research shockingly shows that anti-Semitic stereotypes are alive in Europe.[6]

Harassment, violence, and vandalism
There are many individual examples of the harassment and violence faced by the Jewish community across the continent. In the Netherlands, a Jewish family has faced harassment for twenty years. In the past few years, they have been victims of anti-Semitic behaviour that included their car being vandalised with images of swastikas and people shouting ‘Heil Hitler’ at the family in public. On top of this, their house has been attacked with bricks, firework, and ice blocks.[7] In the German town of Halle, two people were shot and killed in an attack on a synagogue on Yom Kippur, one of the holiest days in the Hebrew calendar. The attack, which is assumed to have been inspired by anti-Semitism,[8] has led to the German government warning Jews of the potential dangers of wearing a kippah in public.[9] In Great Britain, the Labour party has faced criticism for its failure to deal with anti-Semitic behaviour within the party. Former party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has been accused of anti-Semitic behaviour himself and of not suppressing anti-Semitism quickly or strongly enough, has acknowledged that these views exist within the party.[10]

Hate and intolerance are real threats
As for Holocaust survivor and life senator Liliana Segre, she has now received personal security, a safety measure to which several Italian politicians have expressed disbelief. They feel shocked that this protection is necessary in this day and age. The fact that Segre now must be accompanied by two police officers whenever she goes out in public is seen as evidence of the hate and intolerance which are present in Europe in 2020.[11] [12] [13]

Anne Clerx

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[1]Commissione contro razzismo e antisemitismo voluta da Segre: sì del Senato. Centrodestra si astiene
[2]Sondaggio Emg Acqua, dopo gli attacchi a Liliana Segre: per il 73% l’antisemitismo è un problema anche in Italia
[3]Jews in Germany warned of risks of wearing kippah cap in public
[4]Young Jewish Europeans face more abuse than their parents: study
[5]Jews in Germany warned of risks of wearing kippah cap in public
[6] https://edition.cnn.com/interactive/2018/11/europe/antisemitism-poll-2018-intl/
[7]De familie Schmidt wordt al 20 jaar lastiggevallen door antisemitische jongeren: ‘Mijn kinderen denken inmiddels dat het normaal is’
[8]Antisemitismus – Was der Anschlag von Halle mit Religion zu tun hat – und was nicht
[9]Jews in Germany warned of risks of wearing kippah cap in public
[10] Anti-Semitism: What is it and why are the Labour Party talking about it?
[11] Antisemitismo, Segre incontra Salvini. Mattarella: “L’intollerenza è concreta”
[12] Liliana Segre sotto scorta, dopo le minacce assegnata la tutela alla senatrice a vita. Il Centro Wiesenthal: “Una vergogna per l’Italia”
[13]Holocaust survivor, 89, gets police protection after receiving 200 threats a day

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