April 24, 2006
By Amiram Barkat, Haaretz Correspondent
The number of violent Anti-Semitic incidents around the world dropped by 20 percent in 2005 compared to the previous year, according to a report published Monday.
The annual report, compiled by the Stephen Rot Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism at Tel Aviv University, said that since 2000, anti-Semitic violence increased every year, and 2005 is the first year in which anti-Semitic violence dropped.
France and Canada, countries that experienced a large number of attacks over the past few years, registered the most significant drop in violence.
There was no change in the violent anti-Semitic attacks in Britain, but the number of overall anti-Semitic incidents dropped in the U.K.
The report explains the drop in violence, among others, by the improvement of Israel’s image around the world due to the disengagement from the Gaza Strip and the relative calm in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
Another reason the report gives is that Western states have stepped up their fight against anti-Semitism through legislation, education and enforcing the law against anti-Semitic groups.
However, institute scholars said that anti-Semitic activity is on the rise in the Ukraine and Russia.
In 2005 there were 406 violent anti-Semitic incidents around the world, compared to 501 in 2004 – the year in which anti-Semitic violence peaked. However, the number of violent incidents did not yet drop to the 2003 level (when 303 incidents were registered).
MK Rabbi Michael Melchior (Labor), who had been responsible for anti-Semitic issues in the Prime Minister’s Office, said Monday that complacency should be avoided in light of the report data.
Melchior said that the number of anti-Semitic incidents is not the “most reliable index” for assessing anti-Semitism, and said that “anti-Semitism is a deep and complex social process that does not necessarily express itself in this or other incident. On the Eve of the Holocaust Memorial, it is important to remember that Auschwitz wasn’t built in a day.”