As the country-by-country overview below illustrates, antisemitic violence continued to rise in Canada, Germany, the Russian Federation, and Ukraine in 2007. The proportion of incidents involving violent attacks on persons continued to rise in the United Kingdom and remained at high levels in France, even as overall levels of anti-Jewish crimes decreased in those two countries. Available data had shown an increase in antisemitic incidents in all of these countries in 2006.
These country-by-country assessments are echoed by data collected on a region-wide basis as well. Global data from the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism shows a 6.6 percent rise in incidents overall, from 593 to 632 in 2007—with most reported incidents coming from Europe and North America. There were 352 reported from Europe (up from 326), 78 in the former Soviet Union (up from 76), and 140 from North America (up from 103).
Most significantly, there were 35 “major attacks” in Europe (up from 8 in 2006), 8 in the former Soviet Union (up from 4), and 8 in North America (up from 5) in the Stephen Roth data. Major attacks were defined as incidents involving weapons, arson, or an intent to kill. Overall, this represented a nearly four-fold rise in Europe and North America in the most serious incidents from 2006 levels, from 13 to 51. Although the report registered a decline in overall incidents in France, Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, there was a rise in more significant antisemitic violence in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
In some countries, the frequency and severity of attacks on Jewish places of worship, community centers, schools, and other institutions resulted in a need for security measures by representatives of both the Jewish community and local or national government. In Germany, special security was provided by police to synagogues and Jewish schools, and even to Jewish book stores and kosher grocery shops. In the United Kingdom, constant police protection was required for synagogues, Jewish schools, and Jewish institutions.
Enhanced security was credited for the reduction of serious attacks on Jewish sites in France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, where a strong commitment to such protection has been made by successive governments. The reality in which such protection is required on an everyday basis is, however, perhaps the truest indicator of just how far the revival of antisemitism has progressed since 2000.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has been an important source of leadership in this area. In recent years, the OSCE has hosted international conferences on the issue, appointed a personal representative to the Chairman-in-Office on combating antisemitism, announced commitments to practical measures to address the phenomenon, and developed commitments for member states to implement institutional mechanisms to fight discrimination.
The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) produces an annual report on hate crime incidents and responses. The 2006 publication acknowledged that antisemitic incidents and crimes continued to threaten stability and security in the OSCE. The ODIHR also maintains a tolerance and nondiscrimination web-based information system that includes a section on international commitments and practical initiatives undertaken by states to combat antisemitism.
Professor Gert Weisskirchen, the current Personal Representative of the Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE on Combating Antisemitism, publishes a separate annual report, outlining the goals and activities of his office. The Personal Representative has been productive in putting a spotlight on the issue, engaging and advising political leaders, investigating incidents, and participating in coordination activities. On January 29, 2008, Professor Weisskirchen testified in a United States Helsinki Commission Hearing on combating antisemitism in the OSCE region, noting that “there have been recurrent manifestations of antisemitism in many countries despite the considerable efforts that have been undertaken in many participating states.”
The institutions of the Council of Europe and the European Union have also worked to promote standards, compile and publish data, and to make urgent recommendations for action to their member states. European institutions continue to make important public commitments in support of continuing efforts in this regard. For example, on June 27, 2007, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe resolved that it “remains deeply concerned about the persistence and escalation of antisemitic phenomena” and noted that “no member state is shielded from, or immune to, this fundamental affront to human rights.” The resolution further stated the unacceptability of antisemitism, while warning that it continued to be on the rise, “appearing in a variety of forms and becoming relatively commonplace, to varying degrees, in all Council of Europe member states.”
The E.U.’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) has regularly reported on the response of E.U. states to antisemitic crime and has paid special attention to the importance of data collection to those efforts. In its 2008 annual report (for the year 2007) the FRA reported that only five countries—Austria, France, Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom—collect data on antisemitic crime in such a way that allows for a trend analysis over time. Of those that do, France, Sweden, and the United Kingdom experienced a general upward trend in recorded antisemitic crime between 2001—2006.
In the sections below detailing various forms of antisemitic violence against both people and property, representative cases are provided. Nongovernmental monitors have captured a much larger range of incidents in their reporting than can be included in this report. We have created an online Annex to this report that includes a fuller range of cases with, in some instances, a greater level of detail.