According to Minister of Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett, in his introduction to his ministry’s report on anti-Semitism in 2017, published on Sunday ahead of the January 27 International Holocaust Remembrance Day, 2017 was characterized by two seemingly contradictory trends: On the one hand, an increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents around the world, and on the other hand a decline in violent anti-Semitic incidents in most countries.
“But these trends also teach us about a broad and serious phenomenon,” Bennett wrote. “Despite the internalization among decision makers of the need to combat anti-Semitism, we are witnessing the penetration of anti-Semitic statements, expressions and norms into the accepted discourse in society.”
“The unequivocal growth in the anti-Semitic discourse is apparently due to two phenomena that we have witnessed over the past year,” he continued. “First, anti-Semitism across the Internet, and in social networks in particular, continued to grow without interference or intervention by regulators and business companies. Second, in 2017 we saw an increase in the political power of right-wing parties with an anti-Semitic background or past.”
Here is a list of prominent anti-Semitic incidents in 2017.
• January. In Wuppertal, Germany, the city district court approved a lower court decision that an attempt to set fire to a synagogue in the city by three Palestinian residents of Germany in 2014 was a legitimate criticism of the policy of the Israeli government.
• February. In St. Louis Missouri, dozens of tombstones in a Jewish cemetery were desecrated, toppled to the ground and destroyed. US Vice President Mike Pence participated in the rehabilitation effort and said, “There is no place in America for violence and anti-Semitism. The White House strongly condemns this vandalism in the strongest and clearest way.”
• March. In Warsaw, Poland, a group of Poles calling itself “Conscience of the Nation” set fire to a figure of a Jewish woman and drowned it in the Vistula River in honor of the coming of spring.
• April, Paris, France. Far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has denied that her country had any responsibility for the deportation of the Jews from Paris to the Nazi extermination camps. “I do not think France is responsible for these events,” Le Pen said in a television interview.
• June. In Chicago, three Jewish women who participated in the gay pride parade were asked to leave the area after waving flags of pride with a Star of David at their center, claiming that they “caused people to feel unsafe.” They were also told that the parade was “anti-Zionist and pro-Palestinian.” One organizer claimed that the decision to exclude the Jewish women stemmed from “Anti-Zionism” and not “anti-Semitism,” adding that “we have nothing to apologize for.”
• June. In Paris, France, a young African-Muslim man burst into the apartment of Sarah Halimi, a religious Jewish woman age 64, and abused her while shouting “Allahhu Akbar” and “Satan,” then beat her to death with his fists, and threw her down from the third-floor balcony.
• June. In Prestwich, Manchester, the UK, two kosher restaurants were set ablaze as part of an “anti-Semitic hate crime.”
• August. In Charlottesville, Virginia, thousands of alt.right and neo-Nazi demonstrators marched in the biggest white power parade in years, shouting “Jews will not replace us,” “Blood and earth,” and “White life matter.” During the demonstration, a neo-Nazi participant ran over and killed an anti-fascist female pedestrian with his car.
• September. In Moscow, Russia, unknown persons threw a Molotov cocktail at a building belonging to the Federation of Jewish Communities. There were no casualties, but damage was caused to the front of the building.
• September. I Paris, France, the Pinto family was brutally attacked by unknown persons who broke into their home. The cause for the attack was the fact that the victims were Jews.
• November. In Warsaw, Poland, tens of thousands of fascists marched in a rally organized by extreme racist groups on Poland’s Independence Day. Participants supported xenophobia and white supremacy and yelled “A pure white Europe – no Jews, no Muslims,” and “Purify Poland.”
• December. In Gothenburg, Sweden, several Molotov cocktails were thrown at the local synagogue’s courtyard, in protest of President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. A group of Jewish youths held a pre-Hanukah celebration inside at the time of the attack.