Photo Credit: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Members of the League of German Girls wave Nazi flags in support of the German annexation of Austria, Vienna, March 1938.

The Annual Antisemitism Worldwide Report, published by Tel Aviv University and the Anti-Defamation League, begins: “As a conspiracy theory, the oldest in history, antisemitism is a sickness that blinds those who consume it from seeing the truth for what it is and from respecting the humanity of others. An important lesson to draw from the Gaza war is that peace in the Middle East will not be achieved unless antisemitism is firmly uprooted from Arab societies. Demanding actions to that effect should become fundamental in all future diplomatic processes.”

Before we continue to the report’s press release, may I suggest that TAU and the ADL should have started with something easier than uprooting Arab antisemitism – perhaps reversing the effects of climate change, or clearing tons of plastic garbage that pollute our oceans.


Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, who later starred as the central character in the Zohar, is quoted by Midrash Sifri: “Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai said, it is known Halacha that Esau hates Jacob.”

Esau in this context represents all the Gentiles, and Jacob is all the Jews, and the normative state of things is, according to Rabbi Shimon, that the Gentiles hate Jews. Hatred of Jews is part of nature, the default state of the cosmos, like rain and sun, winter and summer, the fruits of the trees, the birds and the bees, life, and especially death. And as we cannot change the weather, no matter how much we talk about it, we can’t do anything against antisemitism either because it is also a force of nature.

That’s why I believe that when we encounter Gentiles who love us sincerely, and God knows there are such wonderful people in the world, we should bow to God and thank Him for this miracle.

With that in mind, here’s the press release about antisemitism and the dire need to uproot it.

The Annual Antisemitism Worldwide Report reveals that 2023 saw an increase of dozens of percentage points in the number of antisemitic incidents in Western countries in comparison to 2022. A particularly steep increase was recorded following the October 7 attacks, but the first nine months of 2023, before the war started, also witnessed a relative increase in the number of incidents in most countries with large Jewish minorities, including the United States, France, the UK, Australia, Italy, Brazil, and Mexico.

“October 7 helped spread a fire that was already out of control,” states the Report.


According to the Report, in New York, the city with the largest Jewish population in the world, NYPD recorded 325 anti-Jewish hate crimes in 2023 in comparison to the 261 it recorded in 2022. LAPD recorded 165 in comparison to 86, and CPD 50 in comparison to 39. The ADL recorded 7,523 incidents in 2023 compared to 3,697 in 2022 (and according to a broader definition applied, it recorded 8,873); the number of assaults increased from 111 in 2022 to 161 in 2023 and of vandalism from 1,288 to 2,106.

Other countries also saw dramatic increases in the number of antisemitic attacks, according to data collected by the Report from governmental agencies, law enforcement authorities, Jewish organizations, media, and fieldwork.

In France, the number of incidents increased from 436 in 2022 to 1,676 in 2023 (the number of physical assaults increased from 43 to 85); in the UK from 1, 662 to 4,103 (physical assaults from 136 to 266); in Argentina from 427 to 598; in Germany from 2,639 to 3,614; in Brazil from 432 to 1,774; in South Africa from 68 to 207; in Mexico from 21 to 78; in the Netherlands from 69 to 154; in Italy from 241 to 454; and in Austria from 719 to 1,147. Australia recorded 622 antisemitic incidents in October and November 2023, in comparison to 79 during the same period in 2022.


While the dramatic increases in comparison to 2022 largely followed October 7, the Report emphasizes that most countries with large Jewish minorities saw relative increases also in the first nine months of 2023, before the war started.

For example, in the United States, ADL data (based on the narrower definition for antisemitic incidents) point to an increase from 1,000 incidents in October-December 2022 to 3,976 in the same period in 2023, but also to an increase from 2,697 incidents between January-September 2022 to 3,547 in the same period in 2023 (NYPD registered a decrease in that period, while LAPD an increase).

In France, the number of incidents during January-September 2023 increased to 434 from 329 during the same period in 2022; in Britain – from 1,270 to 1,404. In Australia, 371 incidents were recorded between January and September 2023, compared to 363 in the same period in 2022. On the other hand, Germany and Austria, where national programs for fighting antisemitism are applied, saw decreases.

According to Prof. Uriya Shavit, Head of the Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry, and the Irwin Cotler Institute, “The year is not 1938, not even 1933. Yet if current trends continue, the curtain will descend on the ability to lead Jewish lives in the West – to wear a Star of David, attend synagogues and community centers, send kids to Jewish schools, frequent a Jewish club on campus, or speak Hebrew.”

Shavit added: “With bomb threats against synagogues becoming a daily occurrence, Jewish existence in the West is forced to fortify itself, and the more it does so, the more the sense of security and normalcy is undermined. What the fight against antisemitism needs now is efforts focused on the hubs of poison, and the presentation of measurable and attainable goals. Foremost, the reality in which big companies make big money by spreading big hate has to end.”

One of the first reports that foresaw the Holocaust was issued by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on October 27, 1932 (H/T Hana Levi Julian): 19 Jewish Students Injured as New Nazi Attacks Occur at Vienna Colleges. / Screenshot

According to the Holocaust Encyclopedia, before World War II, Jews played an important role in Austria’s economic and cultural life. In 1938, Austria had a Jewish population of about 192,000, representing almost 4 percent of the total population. 

Two Jewish men (center, and at right in overcoat), carrying paint and brushes, were forced to paint ‘Jude’ on the fronts of Jewish-owned businesses, Vienna, Austria, 1938. / United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Systematic mass deportations from Vienna, as elsewhere in Greater Germany, began in October 1941. The Nazis established centers where Jews were to be assembled before deportation. About 35,000 Jews were deported from Vienna to ghettos in Eastern Europe, mostly to Minsk, Riga, and Lodz, and to ghettos in the Lublin region of Poland. Most Jews sent to Minsk and Riga were shot by detachments of the Einsatzgruppen shortly after arrival. Over 15,000 Viennese Jews were deported to Theresienstadt. Thousands of Jews were also sent to concentration camps in Germany. By November 1942 only about 7,000 Jews remained in Austria, mostly those married to non-Jews. Some Jews remained in hiding.

Here’s the thing, though: I spent considerable time seeking information about efforts to uproot antisemitism in Austria, Germany, or any other country in Europe that eventually became the killing fields of some six million Jews. Didn’t find any. But the TAU/ADL report holds on to the hope that Rabbi Shimon’s cool-headed analysis can be proven wrong.

The report includes the contribution of former Canadian Justice Minister and Attorney General Irwin Cotler, 84, a Montreal-born Jewish politician. Cotler offers a historical and political analysis of the development of present-day antisemitism, and a detailed 11-point plan for globally combatting the phenomenon. 

Cotler explains: “What is required is a constituency of conscience – a whole of government, whole of society commitment and action to fight this oldest and most lethal of hatreds.” 

Like I said, clean the ocean firstit’s easier.

What is required, obviously, is mass Aliyah of millions of Jews from the West, before they face the same fate as the Jews of Vienna. Tick tock.

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