January 26, 2010
In News The Israel-Palestine Conflict
JPost.com Staff , THE JERUSALEM POSTAnti-Semitism has reached a global peak since the end of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip last winter, and levels of Jew-hating have not been so high since the Second World War, according to the Jewish Agency’s annual report on anti-Semitism issued on Sunday. The report was presented by Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein and Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky. The tightening ties between extreme left-wing activists and Islamists were noted in the report, as well as more tolerance shown to Muslim acts of hate against Jews. Iran and Venezuela stand at the top of the list as the world’s most anti-Semitic countries. The list also includes countries which are not actively anti-Semitic but are indifferent to anti-Semitic incidents. In the Netherlands, some one hundred incidents were noted following the Gaza incursion, the same number as what the country witnessed in the entire previous year. In France, 631 incidents occurred in the first half of 2009, compared with 431 during all of 2008. In Britain, some 600 anti-Semitic incidents took place during 2009. In Ukraine and Hungary, some public displays of anti-Semitism surfaced as tools of competing parties in election campaigns. Ukraine, Mexico the United States and the Czech Republic were noted as the countries which most ardently battle anti-Semitism. The report highlights a relatively new phenomenon – the “modern blood libel” – the dissemination of unverified or deliberately false reports tying Israel, Israelis or world Jewry to occurrences such as organ theft or kidnapping non-Jewish infants in order to give them to adoptive Jewish parents. The report in Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet last August implied a connection between a ring of organ traffickers exposed in New York City, where some of those accused were rabbis from the local community, and claims by Palestinians in the West Bank who said the IDF killed their family members in gunbattle and then hijacked their organs during autopsies. The story was widely repeated in Arab media and picked up hook, line and sinker by anti-Israeli Internet bloggers who presented it as an account of facts. Daniel Bostrom, who penned the article, said himself he had no confirmation that the narrative as told him by the Arab families could be verified. A TV series recently aired in Turkey presented Israeli Mossad agents as baby snatchers, while one of the most successful movies currently showing in Egypt tells the tale of a woman who runs from her husband with her children when she realizes her is an undercover Mossad agent. A clip uploaded by an American man to the video-sharing site Youtube warned Haitians against attempts to steal their organs by IDF soldiers who were part of the rescue team there. Sharansky presented a plan to augment the number of emissaries engaged in public diplomacy in large universities overseas. Currently numbering 19, he wants the number of emissaries to exceed 100.