Jew-hatred is increasingly focusing on hatred of the Jewish state, Minister Amichai Chikli says.
By Shimon Sherman, JNS
Sixty-eight percent of antisemitic discourse on social media originates from Palestinian or pro-Palestinian progressive circles, a report presented by Israeli Minister of Diaspora Affairs Amichai Chikli shows.
The report was presented at the weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday, in conjunction with International Holocaust Remembrance Day. It provides a comprehensive analysis of the state of antisemitism in the Diaspora, including data on the number and geographic distribution of incidents.
Chikli focused on new anti-Israel forms of Jew-hatred, saying, “Antisemitism is changing its face and is increasingly focusing on hatred towards the Jewish state and the denial of its right to exist.”
Globally, the number of antisemitic incidents decreased in 2022 from the record set the previous year. The exception to this trend was the United States, where there was a significant increase in the number of antisemitic interactions.
Despite the decrease in overall incidents, there was a 13% increase in violent antisemitic attacks in 2022. The countries with the highest rates of antisemitic attacks were the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and France.
In the United Kingdom, there was a 28% increase in physical antisemitic attacks recorded last year. The majority took place in London and targeted Jewish individuals or institutions with a clear Jewish identity. Additionally, there was a rise in the number of attacks directed at children or schools, as well as in the frequency of hate crimes committed by minors with antisemitic motives.
In France, physical attacks constituted 50% of the total reported antisemitic incidents in 2022. There were three murder cases with suspected antisemitic motives compared to zero cases in the previous two years.
In Germany, there was a marked increase in violent antisemitic incidents, with a 57% rise in reported cases.
New trends in global antisemitism
The report focused on emerging trends in the United States. Chikli noted that recent years have seen antisemitic discourse permeate into mainstream society, resulting in its normalization. This discourse, which was once primarily propagated by fringe elements, is now being perpetuated and legitimized by influential figures such as prominent politicians, celebrities and athletes.
“In the face of a relative decrease in the manifestations of antisemitism in the world, the number of antisemitic incidents specifically in the USA has risen, where a hostile atmosphere is emerging on some campuses towards Jewish students, in particular if they identify as Zionists,” the minister said.
In the former Soviet Union, the main driver of antisemitic incidents in 2022 was the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Antisemitic sentiments and references to the Holocaust have been a persistent aspect of the conflict from its inception.
In March 2022, right after the conflict began, the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs’s Antisemitism Cyber Monitoring System (ACMS)—a fully automated monitoring system based on artificial intelligence and semantic analysis technologies—recorded around 317,000 antisemitic posts on social media, an increase of 40% compared to March 2021. Certain groups may have used the Russia-Ukraine crisis as a means to promote antisemitic messages, the report noted.
According to the report, 2022 also saw a marked rise in online antisemitic discourse compared to the preceding five years. Compared to 2021 there was a 27% increase in the number of antisemitic posts and a 21% increase in the number of users promoting such content. A large portion of this discourse was directed towards the State of Israel, accounting for 68% of all antisemitic discourse on the internet. The cities with the highest levels of antisemitic discourse online included Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Washington and Berlin.
In the Arab and Muslim world, the centers for antisemitic discourse on the internet were in Jordan and Egypt, according to the findings. The discourse in the region mainly focuses on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This became even more apparent in the wake of events such as the death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in Jenin in May 2022 and the aerial war (Operation Breaking Dawn) between the IDF and Islamic Jihad in Gaza in August, both of which led to a massive spike in antisemitic rhetoric on internet platforms across the Arab world.
The spread of antisemitic content in the Palestinian arena continued to escalate last year. These messages, including the demonization of Jews, were widely distributed by prominent political and religious figures as well as official media outlets of the Palestinian Authority. Additionally, the report found that some nongovernment organizations claiming to promote human rights and enforce international law in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were promoting antisemitic views through their activities, publications and rhetoric. Some of these organizations receive funding from the European Union and other European nations.
In response to these findings, Ad Kan, an Israeli NGO that combats anti-Zionist groups, said: “The Palestinian terrorist organizations that operate as ‘human rights’ organizations as part of their terrorist campaign against Israel are key players in the rise of antisemitism around the world. In recent months, we have exposed a number of such organizations, which work with and are financed by terrorist organizations.”
New definitions of antisemitism
Chikli said adapting the definition of antisemitism to modern conditions would be a major step forward. He focused on the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism that broadens the term to include anti-Israeli sentiment and discriminatory double standards towards Israel, as well as denying the country’s right to exist.
“The State of Israel has the duty to lead the fight against antisemitism and to work to expand the adoption of the IHRA definitions, which have become the standard for the definition of antisemitism, including the new antisemitism that denies the Jews the right to self-determination, in as many countries and institutions around the world as possible,” Chikli said.
Ninety-one major organizations have adopted the definition in the past year, with 52% of them located in the US and Canada. This represents a major decrease compared to the 200 adoptions in 2021.
Yaakov Hagoel, chairman of the World Zionist Organization, also spoke at the coalition round table. He encouraged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Eli Cohen to advocate for the adoption of the IHRA definition.
The IHRA definition is an important “tool in the fight against the sick and evil hate,” Hagoel said.