2010 Anti-Semitism Compendium
A Country and Theme-based Approach to Monitoring Global Anti-Semitism
Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism
Department of State
2010 ANTI-SEMITISM COMPENDIUM
A Country and Theme-based Approach to Monitoring Global Anti-Semitism
Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Department of State 2011
Published by the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism
2201 C St NW
Washington, D.C. 20520
All rights reserved. The contents of this publication may be freely used and copied for educational and other non-commercial purposes, provided that any such reproduction acknowledges the U.S. Government as the source.
This study was compiled from the 2010 International Religious Freedom Reports (June 2009 – July 2010 and July – December 2010) as well as from the 2010 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, published by the U.S. Government.
Table of Contents
Fighting anti-Semitism, the oldest form of intolerance and hatred, is critically important to both President Obama and Secretary Clinton. I am honored to be entrusted with this job of monitoring and combating anti-Semitism around the world.
Throughout 2010, there were spikes in expressions of hatred against religious and ethnic minority populations around the world. Jews were not exempt. This compendium catalogues many of these incidents in two parts: country reports and incident reports, which illustrate the nature of these anti-Semitic episodes. The information is drawn from reports by U.S. embassies around the world, civil society groups, and the Department of State’s 2010 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, and the 2010 International Religious Freedom Reports (June 2009 – July 2010 and July – December 2010), both of which are published by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.
While the incidents cited in this report speak for themselves, they took place within the context of six major global trends:
First, traditional forms of anti-Semitism continue to be passed from one generation to the next and are sometimes updated to reflect current events. The year 2010 brought desecration of Jewish cemeteries, vandalism with anti-Semitic graffiti, stereotypic anti-Semitic depictions of Jews in cartoons and accusations of blood libel. Sermons and blog posts continued to spread ancient canards about Jews trying to control the world from old forgery hate-texts such as the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” to modern conspiracy theories about Jews masterminding the 9-11 attacks on the United States.
A second phenomenon is Holocaust denial, which is a standard on hateful websites and other media outlets, and even espoused by religious and governmental leaders.
A third disturbing trend is Holocaust glorification, which can be seen in the growth of neo-Nazi parties and websites, and in parades honoring veterans of the Waffen SS. There are even calls from some clerics for a “new Holocaust to finish the job.”
Fourth, we see Holocaust revisionism and relativism that either minimizes or obfuscates the Holocaust.
The fifth trend is the increasing tendency to blur the lines between opposition to the policies of the State of Israel and anti-Semitism. This Administration vigorously defends the right to free speech, including the right to criticize the policies of the Government of Israel. The line between legitimate political speech and anti-Semitism is crossed, however, when Israel is demonized and held responsible for all tensions in the world, when Israel is held to different standards than any other country, or when Israel is denied the right to exist as a Jewish state.
The sixth trend is growing nationalistic movements in many places that target “the Other”—be they immigrants, or religious or ethnic minorities—in the name of protecting the identity or “purity” of a nation.
Combating these trends calls for many diplomatic strategies.
To discredit Holocaust denial, I traveled with leading imams to Dachau and Auschwitz. After seeing the evidence, they issued a historic and compelling statement condemning not only Holocaust denial, but all forms of anti-Semitism. Here in the Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, we also highlighted the work of Father Patrick Desbois, who led efforts to identify mass graves of Jews and Roma killed during World War II. We have also held programs to educate diplomats and the public about the 50th anniversary of the Adolph Eichmann trial and the Righteous Among the Nations, individuals who helped and saved Jews during the Holocaust.
To combat government policies or law enforcement methods that leave Jews and other minority groups vulnerable, we work with multilateral organizations to provide training on best practices in hate-crime reporting and enforcement, and hold conferences with government and civil society stakeholders.
We work with foreign government officials to condemn anti-Semitic attacks and hold the perpetrators accountable. We help build coalitions and use multilateral forums to condemn these incidents. We develop relationships with world leaders to fight intolerance and promote dignity and mutual respect. We engage the public and members of civil society in combating anti-Semitism.
To keep old hatreds from infecting a new generation, we are reaching out to young people. We have provided comprehensive training of teachers who will in turn train others. We have supported innovative educational approaches which teach teachers and students to document how Jews lived, not only how they died. We met with groups trying to educate youth on religious diversity and pluralism to ensure that Jews and Judaism are included in those efforts. We are sponsoring a major study to document intolerance in textbooks and other teaching materials used with youth. We educate State Department colleagues on what anti-Semitism is and how to recognize it. We have engaged young people around the world in the 2011 Hours Against Hate initiative, asking them to volunteer a hour or more of their time to help or serve someone who looks different, prays differently, or lives differently than they do.
Anti-Semitism is not history. It is today’s news. And that is the purpose of this compendium—to show how anti-Semitism manifests itself throughout the world today. With this knowledge in hand, we can begin to identify and respond to all forms of hatred and intolerance. Anti-Semitism is a concern of all people regardless of religion because it is grounded in hate, and hate destabilizes societies. It undermines democracy, human rights, and progress towards peace around the world.
Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism
U.S. Department of State
2010 Country Reports on Anti-Semitism
The Jewish community was estimated at 75,000 to 80,000. During the year Jewish graves in Bloemfontein were defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti, and there were reports of verbal abuse, hate mail, and distribution of anti-Semitic literature in the country.
The Jewish community remained small, and there were no reports of anti-Semitic violence during the year; however, government officials made anti-Semitic comments, and government-controlled newspapers featured anti-Semitic caricatures.
According to the 2006 census, the country's Jewish community numbered 88,832 persons. Civil-society organizations estimated the number in 2010 to be 120,000. In the 12-month period ending September 30, an annual report on anti-Semitism by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, an NGO, recorded 394 anti-Semitic incidents, compared with 962 during the previous 12 months. The report noted that although there was a "dramatic decrease" in the total number of incidents reported, incidents involving harassment of Jewish persons on their way to or from a synagogue increased. Among the "most disturbing" incidents listed in the report were an assault on an Orthodox man on a train in Melbourne, the assault of synagogue staff in Sydney by a man who was later arrested and charged, and vandalism to synagogue buildings in Sydney and Melbourne.
The Jewish population was extremely small. On June 6, demonstrators gathered outside the Beth Hashem synagogue in Surabaya, East Java, to protest Israeli government actions related to the Gaza relief flotilla incident. Protesters burned the Israeli flag and tried unsuccessfully to enter the synagogue. There were no injuries or damage to the synagogue. Although the government promoted tolerance education in primary schools, there was no specific curriculum devoted exclusively to anti-Semitism education.
The size of the country's Jewish population was estimated at between 500 and 1,000 persons. On October 19, the Hebrew side of the Joint Tragedies Memorial, erected in downtown Yerevan in 2006, was vandalized. Brown paint was poured over the memorial and "Death to the Jew" was stenciled on the memorial along with a swastika. Representatives of the Jewish community denied the presence of anti-Semitic sentiments in the country and labeled the incident "hooliganism," possibly caused by foreigners. The Jewish community praised the immediate reaction by the presidential administration, which called into action local authorities and law enforcement. The city administration removed the signs of vandalism by the next morning, and police launched an investigation. On October 21, the president's press secretary and the Armenian Church made separate statements condemning the desecration of the memorial.
According to 2001 census figures and 2010 estimates from the Vienna Institute of Demography, a branch of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the Jewish community in the country numbered approximately 7,000.
The NGO Forum against Anti-Semitism reported 70 anti-Semitic incidents between January and December, including four physical assaults, as well as name-calling, graffiti and defacement, threatening letters, anti-Semitic Internet postings, property damage, and vilifying letters and telephone calls. Vienna Jewish Community (IKG) President Ariel Muzicant reported a rise in anti-Semitic incidents related to the May 31 Gaza flotilla incident. There were anti-Israel demonstrations organized by several Muslim groups at the beginning of June, including the use of an anti-Semitic banner displaying the slogan, "Wake up, Hitler." Another banner equated the Star of David to the swastika. Muzicant also reported an incident in which two Turkish-speaking men spat on a rabbi in Vienna. The Vienna Jewish Community's offices and other Jewish community institutions in the country, such as schools and museums, continued to receive extra police protection.
In March the outside wall of the Mauthausen concentration camp site was defaced with anti-Islamic and anti-Semitic graffiti, similar to that of a previous incident in February 2009. The Interior Ministry increased security but rejected a proposal by the Mauthausen Memorial Committee to place video cameras on the site.
The law banning neo-Nazi activity prohibits public denial, belittlement, approval, or justification of the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity in print publication, broadcast, or other media. The government strictly enforced these laws.
Beginning in June, a special unit of the Interior Ministry investigated a neo-Nazi Web site based outside of Europe that displayed links to Hitler's Mein Kampf and called for actions to preserve the "German heritage," while denouncing persons who fight right-wing extremism. In October police conducted several house searches but no arrests were reported. In November the country's media reported denials from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Counter-Terrorism (BVT) that neo-Nazis had infiltrated one of its branch offices. The statements came in the wake of reports regarding the transfer of a BVT agent whose son was linked to the neo-Nazi Web site.
On September 9, the Vienna Criminal Court gave convicted Holocaust-denier Gerd Honsik an additional two-year nonsuspended prison sentence for violating the law prohibiting neo-Nazi activities. The conviction stemmed from the 2009 publication of two neo-Nazi books in which Honsik made accusations concerning the work of Simon Wiesenthal. Honsik was already serving time for a previous violation of the law prohibiting neo-Nazi activities.
On November 15 and 16, the criminal court in Eisenstadt tried 14 men, ages 18 to 38, on charges of neo-Nazi activity. The men were accused of publicly displaying the Hitler salute and smearing swastika graffiti on stores between 2007 and 2009. The court gave six of the defendants suspended prison sentences of five to eight months and sentenced five of them to 70-100 hours of social work. Three of the defendants were acquitted.
On December 1, a regional court in Wels convicted three men of neo-Nazi activity in relation to an incident at the site of the former concentration camp in Ebensee. The men disturbed a commemoration ceremony at the site, fired air rifles at a group of French visitors, and shouted Nazi slogans. The three men received suspended prison sentences of up to six months.
On December 3, the Austrian Times reported that an Austrian soldier was facing charges for giving a Nazi salute while on a peacekeeping mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The soldier was subsequently dismissed from military service. In a July press conference, the Defense Minister announced the military had a "no tolerance" policy in regards to any form of right-wing extremism.
School curricula fostered discussion of the Holocaust and the tenets of different religions and advocated religious tolerance. The Education Ministry offered special teacher-training seminars on Holocaust education while also conducting training projects with the Anti-Defamation League.
On November 17, the parliament adopted a law establishing a fund for the renovation and maintenance of Jewish cemeteries. In compliance with the 2001 U.S.-Austrian "Washington Agreement," which called for the country to "provide additional support for the restoration and maintenance of Jewish cemeteries," the government will allocate 20 million euros (approximately $27 million) over 20 years to the project.
Jewish groups estimated that between 30,000 and 40,000 persons identified themselves as Jews. Most were not active religiously.
During the year anti-Semitic incidents continued but were on decline, and authorities sporadically investigated reports of such acts. Religious sites were vandalized. The government did not promote antibias and tolerance education.
On May 9, during Victory Day celebrations, vandals set fire to wreaths and flowers laid at the memorial to Holocaust victims in Brest. The memorial had been vandalized on numerous occasions since it was erected in 1992, including in each year since 2008. Previous investigations failed to uncover the perpetrators.
On October 8, independent media reported that neo-Nazi graffiti appeared on industrial buildings in Pinsk and local authorities took no steps either to remove the slogans or to identify the vandals.
On December 22, Jewish community leader Yakau Basin submitted an appeal to prosecutors seeking to open an investigation into vandalism and the promotion of Nazism. Basin reported that swastikas and neo-Nazi graffiti appeared near the door to his apartment and said that the act of vandalism was "a direct threat" to him.
Jewish community and civil society activists continued to express concern over the concept of a "greater Slavic union" that was popular among nationalist organizations, including the neo-Nazi group RNU, which remained active despite its official dissolution in 2000. Neo-Nazis were widely believed to be behind these and numerous other incidents across the country. Anti-Semitic and Russian ultranationalist newspapers and literature, DVDs, and videotapes imported from Russia continued to be sold.
The size of the Jewish community was estimated at 40,000 to 50,000. During the year there were 47 reports of anti-Semitic acts, including attacks against persons, verbal harassment of Jews, and vandalism of Jewish property, down from the 109 reported incidents in 2009. The law prohibits public statements that incite national, racial, or religious hatred, including denial of the Holocaust. Unidentified vandals threw Molotov cocktails at three different synagogues on separate days: Antwerp synagogue in January, then Charleroi and Brussels synagogues during April. Verbal and cyber hate incidents were also reported. In September two incidents took place in Antwerp between drunken Polish men and members of the Jewish community. The intoxicated men were physically aggressive, insulting all Jews they encountered. On November 8, three teenagers threw stones at a Jewish man and woman coming out of a shop in Antwerp.
The Jewish community, with approximately 1,000 members, maintains a historic place in society by virtue of centuries of coexistence with other religious communities and its active role in the Inter-Religious Council, which mediates among the communities.
Vandals targeted at least one Jewish site. On November 18, the secretary of the Jewish community in Doboj reported the walls of the local synagogue were vandalized with Nazi graffiti including a swastika and "Sieg Heil." Doboj police immediately started an investigation, which remained open at year's end.
On November 7, it was reported that a Bosnian-Croat soccer fan held a Nazi flag during a march in Siroki Brijeg. Police were said to have stood by and allowed the flag and repeated shouting of "Sieg Heil."
According to the Jewish organization Shalom, anti-Semitism was not widespread, but there were increasing reports of anti-Semitic incidents. In March, a week before Passover, vandals painted the Jewish school in Sofia with anti-Israeli slogans. In May vandals painted the memorial of the Russian soldiers in Sofia with swastikas on the eve of the 65th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust. The media and NGOs gave public support to Shalom's declaration protesting the incidents. Jewish organizations remained concerned over the lack of public sensitivity to the fact that the overwhelming majority of those acts were unpunished.
On June 6, skinhead extremists attacked a group of young persons in a streetcar who were going to a protest rally in support of asylum-seekers in front of the Center for Temporary Accommodation of Foreigners in Busmantsi. On June 8, the police arrested eight persons but subsequently released two of them; the investigation was ongoing at year's end.
The country's Jewish community numbered approximately 2,300. Anti-Semitic vandalism and acts with anti-Semitic overtones were reported during the year.
On August 14, a photograph was placed on the social networking Web site Facebook of a male making a Nazi salute and a female wearing a Hitler mask; the photograph was taken in front of the of the Jewish community building in Osijek. The suspected perpetrators were identified, but authorities could not provide information about further legal action.
On November 17, anti-Semitic graffiti appeared near the site of a planned golf course in Dubrovnik. There has been public opposition to the building of the course. The director of the company in charge of the course said the act was a "gross provocation against the investors, most of whom are Israeli citizens and Jews." The mayor of Dubrovnik condemned the act and called on police to find the perpetrators.
On April 27, unknown persons damaged 12 tombstones at the Jewish cemetery in Osijek. The head of the Jewish community in Osijek attributed the act to young delinquents. Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor condemned the act and called for an urgent investigation, which continued at yearend.
There were approximately 2,000 persons in the Jewish community, which consists of a very small number of native Jewish Cypriots and a greater number of expatriate Israeli, British, and other European Jews.
On November 30 and December 1, the Jewish community's Hanukkah display in Larnaca was vandalized. Vandals spray-painted the light bulbs of a menorah representation placed at a public location near the community's center and painted targets, swastikas, and the stylized letters "SS" on and near the display. The community notified police, who collected evidence and opened an investigation. No arrests were made by year's end. There were continued reports of verbal harassment of members of the Jewish community.
Although estimates varied, the country's Jewish population was believed to be approximately 10,000. Public expressions of anti-Semitism were rare, but small, fairly well organized ultranationalist groups with anti-Semitic views were active around the country. The Ministry of the Interior continued to counter such groups, monitoring their activities, increasing cooperation with police from neighboring countries, and shutting down unauthorized rallies. In 2009 according to the Ministry of Interior, police recorded 48 criminal offenses with an anti-Semitic motive, representing an increase of 78 percent over 2008. The Federation of Jewish Communities reported 28 anti-Semitic incidents, none of which was an attack on a person. Attacks included damage to property and spray painting of anti-Semitic remarks and Nazi symbols.
Several groups advocating violence against Jews and other minorities were active. The number of rallies and demonstrations of extreme-right groups declined during the year.
In January 2009 vandals damaged the monument to Holocaust victims in Teplice. Police investigated the case but closed it for lack of evidence. However, Teplice municipal officials, local police, and representatives of the local Jewish community introduced quarterly meetings to monitor and evaluate the overall situation.
In November 2009 the Ministry of Defense discharged, without severance pay or pension, two military officers, based on reports that they had worn symbols of German SS units on their helmets while serving in Afghanistan. Their immediate supervisors retired.
The Jewish population was estimated at 6,000 persons. There were isolated incidents of anti-Semitism. According to victims' reports, the perpetrators were mainly immigrants, many of them from Arab and other Muslim countries. Most incidents involved vandalism, such as graffiti, and nonviolent verbal assaults.
In December PET released its annual report on religious- and race-related crime reported in 2009. The report included 21 incidents attributed specifically to religious motivation, up from nine incidents in 2008, but did not distinguish between anti-Semitic and other forms of religious motivation. The increase was attributed to a broadened definition of religiously motivated crime and a campaign to encourage local police precincts to report such crimes more reliably. Only one of the 21 incidents was involved violence; the others included harassment, graffiti and other vandalism, propaganda, and threats of violence. The Mosaic Religious Society, which represents one-third of the country's Jewish population, claimed that there were seven incidents of anti-Semitism in the first half of the year and 22 in 2009.
The Jewish community was estimated to number approximately 2,500 persons. There was one report of anti-Semitic vandalism. On September 20, the Israel-based Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism reported that unknown persons spray painted swastikas on trees at the entrance to a Holocaust memorial at Klooga.
On July 31, a march was held in Sinimae to honor veterans who had been part of the 20th Estonian Waffen SS Grenadier Division. The event has been a source of controversy in the past due to the connection between non-Baltic Waffen SS units and Nazi war crimes. There were no additional reports of anti-Semitic statements or actions associated with the event.
The government took a number of steps to associate itself with commemoration of the Holocaust and to encourage best practices in teaching about it in schools.
According to Statistics Finland, the country's Jewish community numbered approximately 1,500. There were no reports of anti-Semitic acts.
The Ministry of Education continued to integrate tolerance and antibias courses and material into the public-school curriculum. Students begin studying the Holocaust and the phenomenon of anti-Semitism in the eighth grade.
On August 1, the country's National Board of Education amended the national core curricula for basic and general upper secondary education levels to underscore the historic importance of the Holocaust and other historical human rights crimes.
The Jewish community was estimated to number 600,000 persons. There were reports of a number of anti-Semitic incidents during the year, including slurs against Jews and attacks on synagogues and cemeteries. According to the Ministry of Interior, Overseas France, Local Authorities, and Immigration, during the year there were 466 anti-Semitic incidents. During the year the Protection Service of the Jewish Community (SPCJ) also reported 131 anti-Semitic acts and 335 threats. There was a 46 percent reduction in anti-Semitic incidents in the year compared with 2009. The SPCJ, the Anti-Defamation League, and NGO National Center for Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism, however, each reported an increase in anti-Semitic acts following the May 31 Gaza flotilla incident. A representative from the French Council for the Jewish Faith expressed satisfaction with the government's response in the wake of the flotilla incident, noting that places of worship were secured, police cordons prevented protests from turning violent, and local officials remained in contact with Jewish community leaders.
During the year violent attacks were reported. On September 3, eight adolescents attacked a 30-year-old Russian citizen with a knife following a verbal dispute in a Paris park. According to the victim's lawyer, the adolescents only began to attack him after they noticed he was wearing a Star of David around his neck. The police arrested three minors, whom they later released. The public prosecutor's office immediately appealed the decision to release the minors. The judge in charge of the judicial investigation stated that he would prosecute the case as a religious hate crime. A trial date was not set at the end of the year. On April 30, two assailants attacked David Pariente, a Jewish man wearing a yarmulke, with a knife and an iron rod in Strasbourg. Police immediately apprehended two suspects. Police released an individual identified as a witness in the attack and on May 2 charged the assailant, a 38-year-old Algerian national, with attempted aggravated murder. A trial date was not set at the end of the year.
In July 2009 a Paris court sentenced Youssouf Fofana to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 22 years and convicted 26 members of the "gang of barbarians" for the 2006 kidnapping, torture, and killing of a Jewish man, Ilan Halimi. Two of Fofana's most active accomplices received sentences of 15 and 18 years in prison, and others received prison sentences ranging from six months to nine years. Prosecutors appealed the relatively light sentences given to 17 of his 26 accomplices, asking that the judge increase them. On December 17, the judge increased the sentences for Fofana's two primary accomplices to 18 years and confirmed the sentences for the other accomplices.
During the year there were a number of attacks against Jewish property and cemeteries reported, including the following examples:
- On January 27 and again in late July, graves in a Jewish cemetery in Strasbourg were desecrated with swastikas. President Sarkozy criticized the January incident as "intolerable" and a demonstration of the "the hideous face of racism." Police continued to investigate the incident at the end of the year.
- On May 2, a 78-year-old Jewish man was attacked in Nimes with tear gas in front of the synagogue, which was then vandalized with anti-Semitic slurs, according to press reports. Police arrested a suspect, but a trial date was not set at the end of the year.
- On June 7, in Metz, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a Jewish nursing home, although no damage was reported. Following an investigation, one person confessed to the crime. A judge gave him a 10-month suspended sentence and ordered him to pay a fine of 500 euros ($670) and complete 210 hours of community service.
The Jewish population was estimated to be more than 200,000 persons in 2009. The 2009 FOPC report listed a total of 1,502 right-wing, politically motivated crimes with extremist and anti-Semitic background in 2009 compared with 1,477 in 2008 (an increase of 1.7 percent). Federal authorities generally took action against the perpetrators of anti-Semitic offenses.
While most anti-Semitic acts were attributed to neo-Nazi or other right-wing extremist groups or persons, a number of high-profile anti-Semitic incidents indicated that Muslim youths were increasingly involved in attacks on, and harassment of, Jews.
Annual statistics were not available; however, among the violent anti-Semitic attacks that occurred during the year were the following:
- On January 23, two teenage (ages 15 and 16) right-wing extremists committed an arson attack against the House of Democracy in Zossen, Brandenburg, which was hosting an exhibition on Jewish life in the city. Proceedings against them were ultimately dismissed on the grounds that they were too young to understand the gravity of their crimes. The 24-year-old head of one of the largest right-wing extremist groups in Brandenburg, Freie Kraefte Teltow Flaeming, also stood trial at the Zossen local court, for instigating the arson attack. He confessed to doing so, as well as to other offenses, including the use of Nazi symbols and incitement of hatred. Authorities suspected his group of involvement in an earlier attack on the House of Democracy in 2009. No information was available by year's end as to the outcome of his trial.
- On March 26, a man verbally attacked two 10-year-old girls at a local train station in Berlin-Wannsee using anti-Semitic remarks. When a bystander intervened to assist the girls, the attacker grabbed a beer bottle and threatened the girls and the bystander. Police were called, and the perpetrator was charged with incitement of racial hatred. The case was pending at year's end.
- On March 27, a man and two women were beaten on a subway station platform in Berlin. The three were approached by a man who asked if they were Jewish. He reportedly returned with a group of youths who attacked the three, beating and kicking them and hitting them over the head with beer bottles.
- On April 16, a neo-Nazi physically attacked a 17-year-old Israeli in Laucha, Saxony-Anhalt. The Israeli was only slighly injured and was able to escape with the help of a passerby. The offender, a 20-year-old neo-Nazi, was sentenced to eight months in prison and a 360 euro ($479) fine by the Naumburg regional court on August 31.
- On June 19, a group of children and teenagers threw stones at members of a Jewish dance troupe and used a bullhorn to scream anti-Semitic remarks at them, forcing them off stage during a neighborhood street festival in Hanover, Lower Saxony. One of the dancers was injured, and the dance group subsequently ended their performance. The assailants were reportedly of Lebanese, Palestinian, Iraqi, Iranian, and Turkish origin. Politicians and local associations responded in outrage and disbelief to the incident. The police identified nine suspects shortly after the incident.
- On June 27, neo-Nazis attacked a 23-year-old man in Berlin-Oberschoeneweide and injured him seriously. On October 13, the state police searched four apartments in Berlin Marzahn-Hellersdorf and Pankow and arrested four young men suspected of having committed the attack. The police found clothing they wore during the attack and neo-Nazi CDs. Arrest warrants were issued for the two suspects.
- On October 13, a group of juveniles insulted three Jewish teenagers using anti-Semitic slogans on a public bus in Cologne-Pesch (North Rhine- Westphalia). When the Jewish teenagers left the bus, they were spit on and kicked. Police were investigating four suspects, ages 11 to 15.
Most widespread anti-Semitic acts were the desecration of Jewish cemeteries or other monuments with graffiti that included the use of swastikas. Incidents during the year included the following:
- On May 2, unknown persons damaged a majority of the gravestones at a Jewish cemetery in Gangelt, North Rhine-Westphalia.
- On June 15, unknown persons spray-painted five gravestones and a wall at a Jewish cemetery in Babenhausen, Hesse, with swastikas.
- On August 29, unknown persons set fire to the door of the funeral hall of the Jewish cemetery in Dresden. Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire. The police had no suspects but did not rule out neo-Nazi involvement.
- On November 19, vandals damaged the historic Jewish cemetery in Wattenscheid (North Rhine-Westphalia). More than 25 gravestones were pulled down and smeared with paint, swastikas, other Nazi symbols, and Anti-Jewish slogans. The vandals also painted swastikas on a commemorative plaque of the former synagogue and on a glass stele commemorating the Shoa victims in other parts of the city. A police investigation was underway.
Other Jewish properties were also subject to anti-Semitic vandalism during the year:
- On the night of May 16, unknown persons doused a synagogue in Worms with flammable liquid and set it on fire, leaving a blackened exterior but no major damage. Forensics experts later identified eight sources of fire at the crime scene. The perpetrators also threw a Molotov cocktail through the window of the synagogue's library. Police found eight copies of a note that stated, "As long as you do not give the Palestinians peace, we are not going to give you peace." Rhineland-Palatinate's Minister-President Kurt Beck condemned the attack.
- On July 28, visitors to the Web site of the Buchenwald/Mittelbau-Dora Concentration Camp Memorial foundation were redirected to a Web site denying the Holocaust. Another foundation Web site was deleted. According to the foundation, the attackers left behind messages such as "brown is beautiful" and "We will be back." The Federal Office of Criminal Investigation began an investigation that continued at year's end.
- On August 29, there was an arson attack against the funeral hall of the Jewish cemetery in Dresden- Johannstadt (Saxony). The unknown perpetrators also set fire to the entrance door. An investigation was pending.
- On October 30, unknown perpetrators attacked the new synagogue in Mainz (Rhineland-Palatinate). The perpetrator threw a Molotov cocktail at the synagogue, but missed the building. There were no injuries and no damages. An investigation was pending at year's end. The synagogue had been inaugurated on September 3 with a ceremony that included numerous high-level figures, including President Christian Wulff, Cardinal Lehman of Mainz, and Rhineland-Palatinate Minister-President Beck.
- On December 7, unknown perpetrators defaced a memorial for the former Jewish synagogue in Magdeburg (Saxony- Anhalt) and the wall of the Israeli cemetery with Nazi slogans and symbols. The memorial for the synagogue had been subjected to a similar attack on November 14. A police investigation was pending at year's end.
During the year courts convicted persons for speech that denied the Holocaust or was deemed offensive to Jews (see section 2.a.). On April 16, a court in Regensburg, Bavaria, upheld a lower court's conviction of Richard Williamson, a bishop of the Saint Pius X Fraternity, for inciting racial hatred after he denied the Holocaust during a 2008 interview with Swedish television while he was in Germany. The court reduced his earlier fine of 12,000 euros ($16,080) to 10,000 euros ($13,400).
On November 3, it was reported that police arrested 22 persons suspected of spreading neo-Nazi ideology in a major action against the far-right Internet radio station Widerstand-Radio (Resistance Radio). In an operation involving 270 officers, police raided 22 premises across 10 of the country's 16 states, confiscating numerous computers and telephones.
During the year the prosecutor general in Gera, Thuringia, opened investigations against Karl-Heinz Hoffmann (founder of the Wehrsportgruppe Hoffman, which was banned in 1980) and five neo-Nazis in Thuringia suspected of having illegally procured explosives. On October 6, police searched Hoffmann's apartment and two other locations in Nuremberg (as well as 16 sites in Thuringia, Saxony, and Bavaria) and confiscated computers and other material. According to victims' advocacy groups, crimes committed by far-right extremists in Thuringia almost doubled over the five years ending in 2009. The advocacy groups contended that authorities appeared prepared to look the other way.
In August 2009 then interior minister Thomas Schaeuble appointed a group of experts on anti-Semitism to provide a regular report on anti-Semitism in the country, to coordinate government activities to combat anti-Semitism, and to submit an action plan to combat the problem. The group's report had not been released at year's end.
On August 18, the city, the church, and most local social associations, including sports clubs, of Laucha (Saxony-Anhalt) countered a neo-Nazi demonstration held on the same day by organizing "a day of humanity." More than 100 persons, among them Saxony-Anhalt's Interior Minister Holger Hövelmann (SPD), attended discussions and music performances in the church of Laucha. The neo-Nazi demonstration was held to protest the dismissal of the coach of the town's youth soccer team, Lutz Battke, a member of the town council and the NPD. Concern about the influence of Battke's views on the children he coached increased with the attack on an Israeli by a man who had trained with Battke for many years (see above).
Local leaders estimated the Jewish community numbered 5,000. Isolated expressions of anti-Semitism occurred, particularly in the extremist press. On December 20, the Greek Orthodox Church's Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus made anti-Semitic statements on national television; they were immediately condemned by the government and other Church officials. There continued to be reports of incidents of vandalism of Jewish monuments. In November the police arrested two young men after finding Molotov bomb-making components in their possession, and charged them with planning an arson attack on a synagogue in Athens.
In May three perpetrators set fire to a tomb and painted anti-Semitic graffiti on a number of tombstones, on alley walls, and on the surrounding wall of the Jewish cemetery in Thessaloniki; the suspects were arrested. During the same month, unknown perpetrators damaged the Holocaust monument in Rhodes.
In June a university student painted a swastika on the Jewish monument in Komotini (Thrace) and was subsequently arrested; his trial was pending at year's end.
The Chania synagogue on Crete was destroyed after three arson attacks between December 2009 and January. Police filed charges against five suspects and arrested one, who was released in August due to lack of evidence. The court suspended criminal prosecution against the five suspects, deeming the evidence against them insufficient. The case may be re-opened within five years from the time the crime was committed if new evidence is presented.
The government condemned all incidents of vandalism and desecration and provided funds for the restoration of the Chania synagogue. The police routinely investigated all such instances of vandalism and desecration. Many ministers spoke out immediately and publicly against the arson attack.
In May the Jewish community of Athens unveiled a Holocaust Monument in central Athens during a special ceremony organized by the city and the Jewish community. Government and political party representatives attended commemorative events throughout the country for the Holocaust Remembrance Day and issued public statements.
On September 26, the municipality of Chalkida (Central Greece) unveiled a monument in honor of the World War II Jewish hero Colonel Mordechai Frizis. The country's president and representatives of various political parties attended the ceremony.
In 2007 the Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM) and the Central Board of Jewish Communities brought charges against the newspaper Eleftheros Kosmos and former LAOS political party candidate Kostas Plevris for racism and anti-Semitism. In March an appeals court vacated Plevris's 2007 conviction for inciting hatred and racial violence with his book The Jews--The Whole Truth. A public prosecutor subsequently filed an appeal with the Supreme Court against the decision, seeking to ensure that it would not set a legal precedent. In April the Supreme Court rejected the appeal.
In 2007 Plevris sued senior representatives of the local Jewish community, journalists, and NGO activists for publicly criticizing some of the judges who participated in the judicial proceedings against him, allegedly disseminating false information through the medium of the press, perjury, and aggravated defamation. The NGO activists were found not guilty in a December 6 verdict. The trial of the journalists and Jewish community representatives was scheduled for January 2011.
The Jewish population was estimated to be between 80,000 and 100,000.
Jewish organizations expressed serious concern over a perceived increase in the public's tolerance for anti-Semitic remarks in public discourse. On April 18, Gabor Vona, the far-right Jobbik party chair and National Assembly member, told an interviewer from the weekly magazine HVG that "Israeli interests are trying to colonize Hungary because Israel's place and role in the Middle East are unstable, so they must seek another country if Israel's position becomes untenable. This is not anti-Semitism but fear for Hungarians," he said, adding, "politics rather than business interests lie behind the gaining of ground by Israeli capital."
As of November 30, there were 212 reported instances of vandalism or destruction of Jewish and Christian properties, 20 in houses of worship and 192 in cemeteries.
On March 30, unidentified individuals threw rocks into an apartment on Budapest’s Dohany Street where a rabbi was celebrating Passover with fifty participants. No one was injured. The police started an investigation into what they classified as a crime involving "damage to property." The police rejected an HCLU petition to change the classification to "violence against a member of a social group." Police suspended the investigation after failing to identify the perpetrators.
On May 1, unidentified persons damaged a Holocaust memorial in Zalaegerszeg shortly after its repair from an April 6 attack. Police opened an investigation, which was ongoing at year's end.
On June 16, police stopped the screening of a Nazi propaganda film, The Eternal Jew, and took several of the viewers and the organizers into custody. Deme Brothers, publishers of extreme right-wing literature, staged the screening in Budapest's 13th district, the same venue where an illegal showing of Jud Süss took place in 2009. On July 6, unidentified persons damaged three monuments dedicated to victims of World War II in Szekesfehervar. The vandals poured red paint over separate memorials of soldiers and civilians killed during the war, anti-fascists, and victims of the Holocaust. The police failed to find the perpetrators and closed the investigation on August 28.
The weekly magazine Magyar Demokrata, the national daily Magyar Hirlap, and the more radical Magyar Forum published anti-Semitic articles during the year; Magyar Demokrata and Magyar Hirlap discontinued these practices in the spring. The official publication of the far-right Jobbik party, Barikad, changed from a monthly to a weekly magazine and continued to publish openly anti-Semitic content.
There were numerous far-right websites in the country, many of which were openly anti-Semitic. NGOs reported that the government monitored the content of these sites to enforce the prohibition against public display of such symbols as the swastika, the hammer and sickle, the five-pointed red star, and the arrow cross.
During the year the prime minister, other senior government officials, and representatives of other parties routinely criticized extremist movements; they initiated and participated in several demonstrations promoting tolerance.
The government gave its support to a seven-day Holocaust education seminar for educators conducted in November. The seminar was the first element of a three-year educational program aimed at revising Holocaust education in the schools.
According to the 2006 census, the Jewish community numbered 1,930 persons. There were no reports of anti-Semitic acts during the year.
In August an anti-Semitic Facebook site was taken down by the company. The name of the site was “The Invasion of Jews in Midleton” and contained negative anti-Semitic stereotypes and jokes about the Holocaust. Representatives of the Jewish community reported being saddened and startled by the incident.
There were no developments and none were expected in the cases of the 2008 anti-Semitic voice message left on the answering machine of the Dublin Hebrew Congregation or the May 2008 painting of anti-Semitic slogans and a swastika on the home of a Jewish couple in Tuam.
The country's estimated 30,000 Jews maintained synagogues in 21 cities.
No violent anti-Semitic attacks were reported during the year. Instances of anti-Semitic graffiti occurred in a number of cities. Small extremist fringe groups were responsible for anti-Semitic acts.
On March 17, a 75-year-old rabbi of Moroccan origin was insulted on a bus in Milan by a group of persons yelling, "Jews go away! We will kill you all." No one on the bus, including the driver, intervened to defend the man.
On January 28, anti-Semitic graffiti containing threats against the president of Rome's Jewish community appeared in the center of the city. On March 28, commemorative stone markers in Rome for a family deported to Auschwitz during World War II were vandalized.
On May 21, police searched the homes of four activists of the fascist group Militia who were organizing a summit with other radical associations to create a national network. Authorities believe the group was responsible for anti-Semitic graffiti, hate crimes, and vandalism committed in Rome and other cities. The government strongly criticized the acts of anti-Semitic vandalism. Prime Minister Berlusconi, Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, and other politicians across the political spectrum expressed solidarity with the victims. The government continued to host annual meetings to increase public awareness of the Holocaust and to combat anti-Semitism.
On October 4, Prime Minister Berlusconi, while talking with supporters in front of his residence, told an anti-Semitic joke that was subsequently made public.
On December 28, a Rome municipal employee and former member of a defunct neo-fascist terrorist group was suspended after he used his office computer for a social networking conversation that included an anti-Semitic remark.
The Jewish community numbers approximately 10,000 and is largely secular and Russian-speaking. There were reports of anti-Semitic vandalism during the year, but no reports of anti-Semitic attacks. Anti-Semitic sentiments persisted in some segments of society, manifested in hostile comments on the Internet.
On March 16, according to press reports, authorities in Riga detained one person who was displaying an anti-Semitic sign at an annual event in remembrance of Latvian soldiers who died fighting in German Waffen SS units during World War II. The person was later released without formal charges.
On December 7, 89 headstones in the New Jewish Cemetery of Riga were vandalized by painting with swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans in the Russian language. Government officials, including the president, prime minister, foreign minister, and the mayor of Riga, quickly and forcefully criticized the acts. The police launched an investigation and said they would charge the perpetrators with grave desecration and inciting ethnic hatred, crimes carrying up to 10-year prison terms. At the end of the year, police continued to investigate the case but had made no arrests. The city of Riga rapidly repaired the damage with city funds, and the mayor stepped up police presence and patrols in relevant areas to prevent further incidents.
On December 13, marks of white paint were found on a monument to Zanis Lipke, a Latvian who rescued Jews during the Holocaust. Riga city authorities removed the paint on the day it was discovered, and police opened a criminal investigation. The president and foreign minister quickly and strongly condemned the act.
There were no reports of anti-Semitic acts against persons or property. The Jewish community is too small to have an organizational structure.
A government-contracted study of religious attitudes and practices released in 2008, which surveyed 600 of the country's residents, found that majority attitudes toward religious groups are largely characterized by tolerance. However, approximately 30 percent of respondents harbored negative views of Muslims, and 17 percent expressed critical views of Jews.
The Jewish community consists of approximately 4,000 persons. No violent anti-Semitic attacks against individuals were reported during the year; however, anti-Semitism was widely manifested on Lithuanian-origin Internet sites and foreign sites in the Lithuanian language. The number of reports of vandalism of Jewish and other cemeteries, anti-Semitic activities, and other manifestations of intolerance declined during the year. However, anti-Semitic and racial comments on the Internet remained widespread.
In January, according to the Anti-Defamation League, a statue of Dr. Tsemakh Shabad, a leading Jewish political figure of the early 20th century, was defaced with paint. On June 22, the Avenue of Rescuers, a path leading to a Holocaust memorial, was vandalized in Kausenai. Plaques were smashed, torn off their stands, covered in mud, and scattered about; the stands were broken and pulled out of the ground. On August 23, a pig's head, adorned with a black hat and makeshift hasidic style earlocks, was placed at the entrance to a synagogue during the service in Kaunas city. An investigation was initiated, and a government statement described Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius as welcoming the investigation of "the anti-Semitic provocation" in Kaunas and hoping it would lead to the punishment of the perpetrators. On September 3, a sign on the Jewish community's building in Panevezys town was vandalized and covered in black paint. There were no reports that authorities had apprehended suspects in connection with these incidents.
There were no reports that suspects had been apprehended in the August 2009 vandalism of a Jewish cemetery in the Klaipeda region or in the 2008 vandalizing of a Holocaust memorial near the village of Pluskiai in the Kelme Region.
In November a number of foreign ambassadors sent a letter to senior government officials formally expressing their dissatisfaction over what they described as manifestations of anti-Semitism. The letter followed the publication in the weekly magazine Veidas of an article on the Nuremburg trials by a historian, Petras Stankeras, who was also an employee of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The author described the Holocaust as a legend without documentary substantiation of the killing of six million Jews during the Holocaust. The ambassadors stated the article amounted to Holocaust denial. Following criticism from the minister of internal affairs, on November 25, Stankeras resigned. Subsequently, the Prosecutor's office opened an investigation into possible violation of the country's legislation that prohibits deprecation of the Holocaust.
In August local and foreign governments, together with descendents of Holocaust survivors, erected a new memorial and restored a site in Uzventis where massacres were committed in World War II. The city's university has begun efforts to raise awareness and recognition of Lithuanian-Jewish history and to improve education about the Holocaust.
On October 20, the Vilnius city government announced that it had begun restoration of the historic Snipiskes Jewish cemetery site in central Vilnius, a source of concern since new construction began on and near the site in 2005. On October 25, under rabbinical supervision, two parking lots on the site were closed and covered with dirt to allow grass seed to be planted in the spring. In May 2009 the government unilaterally provided protection for nearly the entire cemetery site, and in August 2009 it agreed with the Jewish communities and the developer to preserve and protect it.
The local press estimates there are 1,000 Jews.
The Jewish community reported no serious concern about anti-Semitism; however, community leaders indicated there was occasional conflation of anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism, resulting in criticisms of Israel and Israeli policies to sometimes be directed toward the community.
There were isolated reports of anti-Semitic acts during the year. The Jewish community numbered approximately 120 persons. No specific incidents were observed or reported, apart from unspecified insults yelled at the Israeli Foreign Minister during a June visit. Police protected the Foreign Minister, but no demonstrators were arrested.
The Jewish community had approximately 25,000 members, including 2,600 living in Transnistria.
On the night of September 11, unknown individuals painted Nazi swastikas and SS symbols on the façade of the synagogue in Chisinau. According to the chief rabbi, Zalman Abeliskii, several other minor incidents occurred during the year. The investigation is ongoing. Parliament speaker and acting president Mihai Ghimpu described the profanation of the synagogue as "a provocation."
In December 2009 the Chisinau Jewish community organized the dedication of a five-foot-high menorah in the city's central park. A crowd led by Moldovan Orthodox priest Anatolie Cibric gathered, engaged in anti-Semitic speech, dismantled and removed the menorah from its base, and placed it upside down at the feet of a nearby statue of Stephen the Great, the medieval Moldovan king who is also a Moldovan Orthodox saint. Authorities condemned the incident and fined Cibric for his role in it.
On November 10, in Chisinau, several hundred Orthodox Christians marched to warn local authorities against allowing the Jewish community to place a menorah in downtown Chisinau during the upcoming Hanukah celebration. A leader of the Orthodox Youth Association told media that placing the menorah near the statue of Stephen the Great was offensive and constituted a form of oppression of Christians by non-Christians. Chisinau mayor Chirtoaca responded by telling the Jewish community to proceed with plans to place the menorah downtown. Seeking to avoid further desecration of the menorah, Jewish community leaders instead decided to place the menorah on private property in the courtyard of the Chisinau Jewish Community Center. On December 1, the Jewish community dedicated the menorah, and it remained there during the holiday without incident.
In March 2009, after one of Chisinau's synagogues received a shipment of kosher food from abroad for the upcoming Passover holiday, police officers made several visits to the synagogue to search the food parcels.
According to the Jewish Social Work organization, approximately 45,000 Jews resided in the Netherlands.
Anti-Semitic incidents, including threats, verbal abuse, and desecration of monuments and cemeteries, continued to occur. The Center for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI) reported a significant rise in the number of reported incidents in 2009 and 2010. CIDI stated, however, that "serious incidents" remained rare. The frequency of incidents appeared to be correlated with the political situation in the Middle East. For example, incidents sharply increased in June following the Israeli action against the Gaza Flotilla. They included spraying red paint on the front doors of synagogues in the towns of Amersfoort and Utrecht and an incident on June 6, during which passers-by shouted "Heil Hitler" when Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs was speaking at a memorial ceremony at the former concentration camp in Vught. CIDI pushed for more action against anti-Semitic Internet sites, which it characterized as one of the main means of disseminating anti-Semitic and racist ideologies. It also sought tougher action against Holocaust denial, better registration of anti-Semitic incidents, and more attention to Holocaust education. Explicitly anti-Semitic sentiments were widespread among certain segments of the Muslim community, pro-Palestinian groups, and fringe nationalist and neo-Nazi groups.
In its most recent report, the Registration Center for Discrimination on the Internet (MDI) in 2009 reported a sharp increase in anti-Semitic statements. During that year it received 399 reports of anti-Semitism, of which it considered 258 to be punishable, including 41 denials of the Holocaust. Whereas the Web sites of right-wing extremists traditionally accounted for most of the anti-Semitic expressions on the Internet, the MDI found that such expressions were increasingly present on mainstream interactive websites.
On August 19, the Arnhem Appellate Court fined the AEL for a cartoon on the AEL Web site that expressed the idea that Jews deliberately invented or exaggerated the Holocaust (see Section 2.a.).
In September the government initiated an updated action plan to combat discrimination in general and anti-Semitism in particular. The plan underlined the importance of a local approach through cooperation between local authorities and Jewish and non-Jewish organizations to include the reporting and filing of complaints, improved tracking down and prosecution of offenders, and education and the dissemination of information on discrimination. For example, the government sponsored special training courses for teachers, peer education projects, and education programs that focused specifically on anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. It also sponsored the Jewish Moroccan Network, which sought to reduce tensions between Jews and Moroccans.
In early December, Dutch politician and former EU commissioner Frits Bolkstein advised Dutch Jews, particularly those that stand out due to their dress, to leave the country because of what he described as increasing anti-Semitism, especially amongst Dutch Moroccans. After he was criticized for this statement, Bolkstein stated that his intentions were to urge the Dutch "not look away" from the realities and denied that he ever called on Jews to leave the country.
The government-funded Article 1 National Association Against Discrimination set up several projects at elementary, secondary, and vocational training schools to counter racism and discrimination.
There were no reports of anti-Semitic incidents in Curacao, St. Maarten, or Aruba.
The Jewish population is relatively small, consisting of approximately 1,100 persons.
In March a state-owned broadcasting company televised a news feature, highlighting anecdotal reports of bullying against Jewish students, particularly by Muslim youth. Four teachers interviewed anonymously on the news program stated that anti-Semitism had become acceptable among some students, with some denying the Holocaust openly in the classroom and claiming Jews were responsible for the 9/11 attacks.
Shortly after the newscast, Oslo's governing mayor invited representatives from the Jewish community, the Islamic Council, the Christian Council, the Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities (Holocaust Center), and Oslo's Department of Cultural Affairs and Education to discuss how to eradicate harassment of religious minorities. The city's stated goal was to determine the scope of the problem and to introduce targeted measures. In May the Ministry of Education inaugurated a working group to analyze ways to counter racism and anti-Semitism in the country's primary and secondary schools. The Holocaust Center in Oslo was the secretariat for the group.
NGO representatives and leaders of the Jewish and Muslim communities applauded the government's prompt response to the problem identified in the March news program. Some expressed concern, however, that the news feature identified Muslim youth as the main instigators, noting that the problem was more nuanced. The concern led to a debate regarding the existence of anti-Semitism and the line between criticism of Israeli policy and anti-Semitism.
In October one of the country's leading newspapers published on its front page a painting by a prominent Norwegian artist, under the headline "This painting did not get to be hung." The painting, which portrayed a blood-spattered Israeli flag and faceless soldiers over a pile of skulls and body parts, was one of two works removed a few days earlier by French authorities from the artist's traveling exhibit at the French Cultural Center in Damascus. The exhibit had been billed as an homage to the children of Gaza. In an editorial, the rabbi of the Oslo Jewish Community wrote that the painting crossed the line from legitimate anti-Israel criticism to anti-Semitism. The rabbi called on the government to distance itself from the messages in the artwork, which he said could promote hatred and dehumanization of Jews. He also questioned the newspaper editors' decision to publish the painting, which he said steps on "my symbols, my faith, and my cultural identity," without additional context from the Israeli Gaza war that would show the suffering of both sides in the conflict. The editors responded that their decision to publish the painting was not anti-Semitic but was a protest directed at the State of Israel.
A survey conducted during the year in conjunction with the International Civic and Citizenship Education Study, concluded that the vast majority of ninth graders in the country had a high level of awareness about the Holocaust, Nazism, and racism. Ninety-one percent of the 14- and 15-year-olds surveyed knew that six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust, while 9 percent did not. The survey evidenced no discernible pattern of responses among particular ethnic or religious groups.
The government continued to support organizations working to combat racism, discrimination, and anti-Semitism, including organizations such as the White Buses foundation, which took students from the country to Auschwitz and other World War II-era concentration camps to educate them about the Holocaust. In March the country completed a one-year rotating chairmanship of the International Task Force for Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and Research.
The Union of Jewish Communities estimated that the Jewish population numbered approximately 20,000. There were reports of occasional, nonviolent anti-Semitic incidents and occasional desecrations of Jewish cemeteries.
On March 13, vandals defaced the Holocaust memorial in Krakow on the eve of the commemoration of the 67th anniversary of the liquidation of the Krakow ghetto. The vandals spray-painted anti-Semitic slogans and Nazi symbols on the monument. Authorities removed the graffiti before the beginning of the commemoration ceremony, during which the archbishop of Krakow, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, apologized to Jews on behalf of all Christians for the incident. On August 19, the prosecution discontinued its investigation into the incident on the grounds that police had been unable to identify the perpetrators.
On March 18, a Krakow court sentenced three persons to two-and-a-half years' imprisonment for the December 2009 theft of the "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign that hung above the main entrance to the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz. The sign was found cut into three pieces and buried in the woods two days after the theft. Prosecutors charged a Swedish man, who had ties to a neo-Nazi organization, with orchestrating the theft. On December 30, the Krakow Court sentenced the man, who was extradited from Sweden, to two years and eight months imprisonment. The court sentenced two additional persons, who recruited the three thieves, to two years and six months, and two years and four months imprisonment.
On February 23, a Bialystok court convicted five persons of disseminating anti-Semitic literature and inciting hatred and gave each a suspended sentence. The case, which began in 2005, was connected to an ongoing case against Leszek Bubel, a self-proclaimed anti-Semite and leader of a far-right political party. There were no developments in the case against Bubel, who was charged in 2008 with posting a video on a popular Internet site in which he boasted about his anti-Semitism and urged Jews to leave the country. Bubel has repeatedly claimed he is unable to stand trial because of failing health. He previously served six months in jail for inciting racial hostility and defaming Jews.
Unlike in earlier years, there were no reports during the year that the Catholic nationalist radio station, Radio Maryja, broadcast anti-Semitic or racist statements by its viewers during call-in shows.
The government publicly criticized anti-Semitic acts, prosecuted offenders, and supported tolerance education.
The country has made considerable progress in relations with its Jewish communities. The government consistently supported efforts to promote interfaith dialogue and tolerance, as well as initiatives to combat anti-Semitism. However, members of marginal populist and nationalist parties and organizations continued to make some extremist, intolerant, and anti-Semitic statements.
In March 2009 the Education Ministry, in cooperation with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, introduced a curriculum for middle school students aimed at combating anti-Semitism. In particular the materials promoted tolerance by addressing problems of stereotypes and prejudice.
On June 15, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) criticized the country for making insufficient progress in fighting anti-Semitism, noting the lack of comprehensive antidiscrimination legislation.
According to the 2002 census, the Jewish population numbered 5,785. Acts of anti-Semitism, including vandalism against Jewish sites, continued during the year with no appreciable change in the range of 10-12 per year of previous years. In most cases the Federation of Jewish Communities notified authorities, but perpetrators were often not identified.
The NGO Center for Monitoring Anti-Semitism in Romania (MCA Romania) continued to criticize authorities for playing down anti-Semitic vandalism, usually attributing the acts to children, drunks, or persons with mental disorders. MCA Romania noted that Jewish establishments appeared to be targets of choice for vandals and asserted that police investigations of such acts were not thorough. MCA Romania also criticized the lack of prosecutions that might deter future acts. During the year independent observers reported the existence of swastikas on the elevator doors and walls of some blocs of apartments as well as on the fence of a school in Bucharest.
On April 13, unidentified individuals stole property from the administrative building of a Jewish cemetery in Bucharest. On April 16, unidentified individuals broke into the chapel of the stone-carving workshop of a different Jewish cemetery in Bucharest. In both cases the Jewish Communities Federation filed complaints with Bucharest police. There were no developments in these cases by year's end.
In April local media reported that unidentified individuals drew swastikas on the walls of several buildings and a memorial in Galati and that the local authorities attributed the vandalism to rebellious teenagers, not pro-Nazi individuals.
During the night of May 3, a group of young persons threw stones at the house of the guard of the Jewish cemetery in Craiova. A member of the Jewish community called police, who took steps to restore order in the area. There were no reports of arrests.
In July the National Bank of Romania (BNR) issued a commemorative coin depicting late Patriarch Miron Cristea, who led the Romanian Orthodox Church between 1925 and 1939 and was prime minister from 1938 to 1939. During the latter period Cristea was responsible for revising the citizenship law, stripping approximately 225,000 Jews of their Romanian citizenship. Many of these persons subsequently died during the Holocaust. MCA Romania, the National Institute to Study the Romanian Holocaust Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust Memorial Museum of Washington, the Anti-Defamation League, and other organizations unsuccessfully urged the BNR to withdraw the coin. Both the BNR and the Orthodox Church argued that the coin was part of a collectors' series of five coins (featuring five late patriarchs) celebrating the Orthodox Church's 125th anniversary. The BNR established a commission to study the issue. On August 19, the commission decided not to withdraw the coin on the grounds that the coin "should not be related to Patriarch Cristea's short activity as prime minister."
In October and November, MCA Romania addressed letters to the Gendarmerie units in Galati and Constanta, requesting that their local troop regiments, which bore the names of two generals who were war criminals involved in the deportation of Jews during the World War II, be changed. In November the Gendarmerie units in both localities responded that they had started the procedures necessary to change the names.
On October 25, the prosecutor's office of the Constanta Court of Appeals decided not to prosecute Constanta Mayor Radu Mazare for marching onto a public stage dressed as a Nazi officer, accompanied by his 15-year-old son dressed as a Nazi soldier. The incident occurred in July 2009 at a fashion show at the beach resort of Mamaia. During the year before the decision, authorities closed the case and then reopened it and referred it to the Constanta branch of the Division in Charge of Organized Crime and Terrorism (a specialized department of the Prosecutor General's Office). The investigating prosecutor's decision to close the case definitively after concluding that Mazare's gesture was not a crime since it was committed in the interest of art.
There were no reported developments in the 2008 desecration of 131 gravestones in a Jewish cemetery in Bucharest, in which the police named as suspects four students ages 13 to 15, or in the April 2009 desecration of 20 gravestones in a Jewish cemetery in Botosani, in which police suspected four 14- to 16-year-old students.
Extremist organizations occasionally held high-profile public events with anti-Semitic themes. The New Right Organization, the Professor George Manu Foundation, and the Party for the Nation continued to sponsor events, including religious services, symposia, and marches, commemorating leaders of the pre-World War II era Legionnaire Movement. Such events took place during the year in Sibiu on January 13 and May 25, Braila on March 14, Ramnicu Sarat on September 22, and Tancabesti on November 28. They attracted small numbers of persons.
On May 13, four Greek Catholic priests in Dragomiresti, Maramures County, dedicated a memorial cross commemorating heroes of both world wars and anticommunist fighters, many of them pro-Nazi and anti-Semitic legionnaires. The family of an anticommunist fighter erected the cross.
On June 15, the 121st anniversary of the death of national poet Mihai Eminescu, Greater Romania Party (PRM) Secretary General Gheorghe Funar stated that Eminescu was killed by Jews who did not like his political writing and poems. He added that a Jewish doctor poisoned the poet with mercury. The executive director of the National Institute to Study the Romanian Holocaust Elie Wiesel labeled the statement anti-Semitic and underscored that Funar did not offer any evidence to support his allegations.
MCA Romania and the National Institute to Study the Romanian Holocaust Elie Wiesel criticized a Romanian documentary film entitled The Portrait of the Fighter as a Young Man, which was produced with state funding and shown at several international festivals. The film presented the activity of an anti-Communist group led by Ion Gavrila Ogoranu, a member of the right-wing, fascist Legionnaire Movement.
MCA Romania repeatedly warned that anti-Semitic, racist, xenophobic, and nationalistic views continued to be distributed via the Internet.
During the year the extremist press continued to publish anti-Semitic articles. The New Right movement and similar organizations and associations continued to promote the ideas of the Iron Guard (an extreme nationalist, anti-Semitic, pro-Nazi group that existed in the country in the interwar period) in the media and on the Internet. Organizations with extreme right-wing views also republished inflammatory books from the interwar period.
During the year the publications of the extreme nationalist PRM headed by Corneliu Vadim Tudor continued to carry statements and articles containing strong anti-Semitic attacks.
The law prohibits denial of the Holocaust in public; however, there were no prosecutions under this statute during the year.
During the year public and private television stations broadcast talks shows that expressed anti-Semitic views and attitudes. On November 13, during a talk show televised nationally, well known journalist Ion Cristoiu spoke about Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, the founder of the Legionnaire Movement, who was widely known for harsh anti-Semitism and violence. Cristoiu stated that Codreanu had been "the most honest and honorable Romanian politician from the interwar period" and called him a "Romantic hero." MCA Romania criticized the show and its producer. Several dozen intellectuals and public figures encouraged the president of the national television station, Alexandru Lazescu, to dissociate the station from Cristoiu's statements. In his reply Lazescu regretted that Cristoiu's statements hurt the feelings of those who had been affected by the violence, anti-Semitism, and crimes against mankind of that "black period" of the country's history, "for which the Legionnaire Movement is considered responsible." Lazescu noted that the television's Ethics and Arbitration Commission would consider this issue. On December 9, the National Audiovisual Council publically admonished the national network for having violated the principle of maintaining the balance by providing a plurality of opinions.
Extremists such as Ion Coja, a professor at the University of Bucharest, continued to deny publicly and on the Internet that the Holocaust occurred in the country and that the country's leader during World War II, Marshal Ion Antonescu, participated in Holocaust atrocities in territory administered by the country.
The government continued to make progress in its effort to expand education on the history of the Holocaust in Romania. The study of the Holocaust is included in history courses in the seventh, ninth, 11th, and 12th grades. On various occasions throughout the year, high-level officials continued to make public statements against extremism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and Holocaust denial.
The law to combat anti-Semitism and to prohibit fascist, racist, and xenophobic organizations includes the oppression of the Roma as well as the Jews in its definition of the Holocaust.
An estimated 250,000 Jews lived in the country, constituting less than 0.25 percent of the population, according to government sources and various Jewish groups. Some researchers believed that the number was underreported due to the hesitation of some Jews to publicly identify their background. Although Jewish leaders reported improvements in official attitudes towards Jews, anti-Semitism remained a problem at the societal level. Violent attacks against Jews were infrequent, with only a few episodes occurring during the year.
According to a May 24 report from Jewish.ru, soccer fans from St. Petersburg angry about their team's loss in a game held in Rostov-on-Don beat up Roman Kosarev, a Jew, and shouted anti-Semitic epithets. Authorities began an investigation and promised to bring those responsible to justice. There were no further developments by year's end.
There continued to be reports across the country of vandals desecrating Jewish synagogues and cemeteries and defacing Jewish religious and cultural facilities, sometimes combined with threats to the Jewish community, although the amount of vandalism is generally decreasing. The SOVA Center, an NGO that seeks to combat extremism and nationalism, registered six acts of anti-Semitic vandalism. There has been a reduction in vandalism due to a decrease in the activities of nationalist groups Russian Way and Resistance, which had been very active in these crimes.
On March 12, anti-Semitic slogans were written in graffiti on the walls of a synagogue in Izhevsk. Two minors were charged in the incident. On April 20, Adolf Hitler's birthday, anti-Semitic graffiti appeared in several parts of Ulyanovsk, according to the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia. Anti-Semitic graffiti and leaflets appeared frequently in many regions, including at a Communist Party meeting in Ulyanovsk on May 1.
The SOVA Center also reported desecrations of graves in Jewish cemeteries in Nizhny Novgorod, Makhachkala, and Kaliningrad in 2009. Officials often classified these crimes as "hooliganism." In many cases in which local authorities prosecuted cases, courts imposed suspended sentences. In some cases, however, the hate crime motive was taken into consideration. According to the Moscow Bureau for Human Rights, law enforcement officials were investigating vandalism in Voronezh, where 20 gravestones in a local Jewish cemetery were knocked down on July 27. On October 7, anti-Semitic inscriptions appeared on a Jewish synagogue in Barnaul. At year's end the local police were investigating the incident.
On June 22, an explosion next to a synagogue in Tver took place in the middle of the night, damaging the exterior of the building but causing no casualties. The governor of the Tver Region announced that he would take the investigation of the attack under his personal control. As of the end of the reporting period, there was no further information on the attack.
On October 28, a Moscow Court sentenced a 22-year old neo-fascist with links to the Nationalist Socialist Society to life imprisonment for killing 15 persons, some of whom were Jewish. According to the head of the Ministry of Interior' Scientific Research Institute, there are more than 150 neo-Nazi groups in Russia, and the number was rising.
In September 2009 skinheads in Khabarovsk threw Molotov cocktails into a synagogue and into the house of a policeman who had been investigating cases of extremism. Khabarovsk Anti-extremist Department police detained the group, and criminal proceedings were opened against two of the suspects. They faced up to five years' imprisonment for the synagogue attack and up to life imprisonment for the attack on the police officer.
Anti-Semitism on television or in other mainstream media was infrequent and was more likely to appear in low-circulation newspapers or in pamphlets. However, according to the Moscow Bureau of Human Rights (MBHR), anti-Semitic material on Russian-language Internet sites increased during the year.
There were several instances in which the government successfully prosecuted individuals for anti-Semitic statements or publications. On March 12, a court in Izhevsk gave a one-year suspended sentence to neo-Nazi Russian National Unity member Andrey Mokrushin for painting swastikas and anti-Semitic threats on the walls of a local Jewish community center, according to the Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union. On February 3, a court sentenced the editor of the anti-Semitic newspaper Orthodox Rus to three years in a prison colony for inciting ethnic and religious hatred for distributing an anti-Semitic film, Russia with a Knife in the Back.
On May 27, a court fined a Novosibirsk man 1,000 rubles ($33) for distributing the Nazi propaganda film Eternal Jew. On July 9, a Tyumen court dismissed incitement charges against college professor Svetlana Shestakova for a series of lectures in which she claimed that Jews ritually kill Christian children. The court dropped the charges due to the expiration of a statute of limitation, according to the Union of Councils of Former Soviet Jews.
On June 30, the editor of the newspaper Russian Truth was fined 450,000 rubles ($14,720) for inciting ethnic hatred in a 2006 publication entitled Why don't people like the Jewish mafia?
The government has publicly criticized nationalist ideology and expressed support for legal action in response to anti-Semitic acts. However, the Liberal Democratic Party organized a July 10 Duma roundtable called "On the Question of Recognizing the Genocide of the Russian People," which resulted in a declaration blaming the "international Zionist financial mafia for genocide against the Russian people."
Federal authorities, and in many cases regional and local authorities, facilitated the establishment of new Jewish institutions. Vladimir Putin, both as president in 2008 and subsequently as prime minister, publicly criticized anti-Semitism and supported the establishment of the Museum of Tolerance by the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia. Work continued on a 2.7 billion ruble ($89 million) complex on land donated by the Moscow city government to house the museum as well as Jewish community institutions, including a school and a hospital.
While the law bans hate speech, translations of anti-Semitic literature were available from ultranationalist groups. Approximately 100 different anti-Semitic books were sold in bookshops. Right-wing youth groups and Internet forums continued to promote anti-Semitism and use hate speech against the Jewish community.
Holocaust education continued to be a part of the school curriculum at the direction of the Ministry of Education, and the role of the collaborationist National Salvation government run by Milan Nedic during the Holocaust was also debated as part of the secondary school curriculum. There was a tendency among some commentators to minimize and reinterpret the role of national collaborators' movements during World War II and their contribution to the Holocaust in the country.
Jewish community leaders and 2001 census data estimated the size of the Jewish community at approximately 3,000 persons.
Organized neo-Nazi groups, estimated to have 500 active members and several thousand additional sympathizers, promoted anti-Semitism and harassed and attacked other minorities. Jewish community leaders expressed concern that some media coverage in the country exhibited anti-Semitic undertones.
In November 2008 the cabinet approved a penal code amendment that would toughen penalties for extremist acts. President Gasparovic vetoed the amendment, stating that it did not sufficiently define extremism and extremist acts. NGOs also expressed concern that the amendment's ambiguity could be misinterpreted or misused to repress perceived enemies of government including NGOs or media. In June parliament overrode the veto, and the amendment took effect in September. The amendment provides penalties of two to six years' imprisonment for individuals convicted of membership in an extremist group and three to eight years' imprisonment for production of extremist materials.
There were numerous reported acts of anti-Semitism. Police arrested individuals in Roznava, Nitra, Kolinany, Dolne Obdokovca, and other towns for painting swastikas on public buildings or propagating fascist ideology.
In 2007 two young men were arrested and charged with defamation against an ethnic group; the men shouted Nazi slogans at the Bratislava rabbi and his son as they were leaving a synagogue. The case was pending trial at year's end.
While direct denial of the Holocaust was uncommon, expressions of support for the World War II-era Slovak fascist state, which deported tens of thousands of Slovak Jews, Roma, and others to their deaths in German concentration camps, occurred during the year.
In March approximately 250 persons gathered in front of the presidential palace in Bratislava to commemorate the 71st anniversary of the founding of the wartime fascist Slovak state in 1939 and pay respect to its president, Jozef Tiso, who was executed for treason after World War II. Immediately before the extremists commemorated Tiso, human rights activists organized a march to promote tolerance, also in front of the presidential palace.
The Nation's Memory Institute (UPN) provided access to previously undisclosed records of the Slovak regimes from 1939-89, and in past years politicians such as the Slovak National Party Chairman Jan Slota made efforts to abolish it. In April 2009 parliament elected Arpad Tarnoczy, former chairman of the Union of Anti-Communist Resistance (ZPKO) and known for his pro-Tiso sentiments, to the UPN supervisory board. The ZPKO published a newsletter, Svedectvo (Testimony), that Jewish community officials criticized for advocating the wartime fascist state. Tarnoczy previously unveiled a monument to Jozef Kirchbaum, a leader of the war time fascist Hlinka Guard.
The Ministry of Interior pursued violent extremist groups, and police monitored Web sites hosting hate speech and attempted to arrest or fine the authors. The government also continued implementing its action plan to fight discrimination, racism, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism. During the year the government organized educational programs on minority and human rights issues. High school and university curricula promoted tolerance, and students could also compete in annual essay contests that focused on human rights issues.
There are approximately 300 Jews in the country. Jewish community representatives reported some prejudice, ignorance, and false stereotypes of Jews propagated within society, largely through public discourse. There were no reports of anti-Semitic violence or overt discrimination.
The government promoted antibias and tolerance education in the primary and secondary schools, and the Holocaust is a mandatory topic in the contemporary history curriculum. On January 27, Prime Minister Pahor attended "Shoah—We Remember," a memorial held in the country's only synagogue, which is located in Maribor. On September 5, the Jewish community, with the support of local government officials, held the fifth annual European Day of Jewish Culture festival. President Turk was the honorary patron for the celebrations held in Ljubljana, Maribor, and Lendava.
According to Jewish community leaders, while violence against members of the approximately 48,000-member Jewish community was rare, anti-Semitic incidents, including graffiti against Jewish institutions, continued.
On March 1, the media reported that the Israeli Embassy in Madrid had received letters from elementary school children from various public schools in Madrid accusing Israel of killing children. Israeli media accused Spanish schools of inculcating anti-Semitism.
In March a Barcelona court sentenced Pedro Varela to a 33-month prison sentence for distributing materials that justified genocide. He was also fined 2,880 euros ($3,860) and ordered to destroy all books and objects seized in his bookstore. These included items such as a bust of Hitler, a swastika, military hats, pictures, and national socialist posters. His store sold books that justified political regimes which sought to destroy a racial group and which despised Jewish and other minorities.
On June 9, 19 members of the neo-Nazi group Blood and Honor were found guilty of illicit possession of arms and for inciting hate for racist and anti-Semitic reasons. As of year's end, they were awaiting sentencing and the prosecutor was seeking sentences that ranged from two to five years in prison.
On September 9, as part of an initiative to raise awareness and promote tolerance, the government released its first official report on anti-Semitism in the country. The report outlined findings from its survey research and highlighted the government's commitment to combat anti-Semitism.
On November 22-25, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Casa Sefarad-Israel, in cooperation with Holocaust memorial institutions in Germany and France and the Spanish General Counsel of Advocates, organized a seminar for 25 leading Spanish jurists concerning the legal dimensions of the Holocaust and their implications for the treatment of legal issues in the present day. The seminar included meetings with German and French experts as well as Spanish diplomats.
Leaders of the Jewish community estimated that there were 20,000 Jews in the country. Several anti-Semitic incidents were reported in Malmo and Stockholm, including rocks thrown at a Jewish community center and two bomb threats. In conjunction with the Gaza flotilla incident on May 31, leaders of the Jewish community reported that several of its members received threats via e-mail, text messages, and telephone calls. Anti-Semitic statements increased in blogs and Internet forums.
In January the regional newspaper, Skanska Dagbladet, ran a series of articles on the Jewish community in Malmo. In response, Mayor Ilmar Reepalu reportedly asserted that Malmo's Jews bore part of the responsibility for the attacks against the community since they failed to criticize Israel's action in Gaza in 2009 and added, "We accept neither anti-Semitism nor Zionism." Reepalu subsequently claimed he was deliberately misquoted. However, on February 21, the British Sunday Telegraph quoted Reepalu as saying, "There have been no attacks on Jews and, if Jews here [in Malmo] want to move to Israel, they are free to do so." Reepalu faced heavy criticism. After meeting with the Jewish community, Reepalu stated he realized the seriousness of the situation with hate crimes against Jews in Malmo.
During the year the newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported that "furious" Swedish climbers were demanding changes to the names of rock-climbing routes in the Jarfalla area, some of which bore names related to Nazis and the Holocaust, such as "Himmler," "Kristallnacht," "Third Reich," "Crematorium," and "Swastika." Most of these nicknames were given between 1987 and 2001, but the press only picked up the story during the year. One of the climbers involved in the original naming told the press that he picked the name because he thought the route was "horrible" and had to be "defeated." Despite general agreement – including from the Swedish climbing community – that the names were offensive, the private publishers of the climbing guide have not yet changed them. By custom, climbers who blaze routes name them, sometimes leading to highly insensitive monikers across the world, including in North America.
The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency cooperated with religious communities on a national level to promote dialogue and to prevent conflicts leading to anti-Semitic incidents. In June the NCCP presented its annual study on hate crimes in 2009, including anti-Semitic, anti-Islamic, and other religion-related hate crimes. In 2009 there were 591 reports of hate crimes involving religion, of which 250 were anti-Semitic crimes (42 percent of religion-related hate crimes), up from 159 in 2008. Of the hate crimes involving religion in 2009, 15 percent reportedly had a white-supremacist motive, an increase of 3percent from 2008.
The NCCP's report stated that crimes against persons and damage of property/graffiti were the most common offenses related to religion. The most frequent anti-Semitic crimes were against persons with 130 reported incidents in 2009. According to the report, 28 percent of anti-Semitic crimes were ideologically motivated. Religious hate crimes more frequently occurred in religious places or at home. The victim rarely knew the perpetrator, and the majority of both suspects and victims were men. By March police completed investigation of 50 percent of the hate crimes involving religion that were reported during 2008. Approximately 2percent of these hate crimes were still under investigation, and police dropped 48 percent for lack of evidence or failure to meet the standards of a hate crime.
Representatives from the national unit to train police officers to detect hate crimes visited high schools to raise awareness of hate crimes and encourage more victims to report abuses. Information for victims of hate crimes was available in several languages, and interpreters were provided to facilitate reporting. In March the Skane police appointed a special investigator for hate crimes in each of the five subregions within the Skane police district.
According to the 2000 census (the most recent official data available), there were 17,914 members of the Jewish community, constituting 0.24 percent of the population.
The Geneva-based Intercommunity Center for Coordination Against anti-Semitism and Defamation recorded 153 anti-Semitic incidents in the western, French-speaking part of the country in 2009 compared with 96 in 2008. They ranged from verbal and written assaults to offensive graffiti and acts of vandalism against Jewish property. The Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities recorded 28 anti-Semitic incidents in the German-speaking part of the country, compared to 21 incidents in 2008. The federation noted in its annual report that serious incidents such as violent attacks against Jews and denials of the Holocaust were very rare in the country.
The law penalizes public incitement to racial hatred or discrimination, spreading racist ideology, and denying crimes against humanity. On October 21, a farmer from Sigriswil was fined 3,600 Swiss francs ($3,842) for having published anti-Semitic conspiracy theories in a local newspaper.
The country is a member of the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and Research.
There were some reports of anti-Semitic incidents against members of the Jewish community, which numbered approximately 23,000. Jewish leaders in the country believed that occurrences of anti-Semitism were directly related to events in the Middle East; however, Jewish community members reported that they did not feel they were held responsible for these events by most of the public. After the "Free Gaza" flotilla incident on May 31, government leaders at all levels emphasized through public speeches that Turkish Jews were distinct from both Israeli citizens and the Israeli government, and they asserted that the country's Jews should be protected. Jewish community leaders noted that after the event they received extra police protection, which prevented a few acts of vandalism against community property. Nonetheless, they expressed concerns about the rising anti-Semitism in the country.
In June an individual was arrested on charges of planning the assassination of rabbis. Although he stated that he "hated Jews" personally, he denied the accusation of planning the killings.
A variety of newspapers and television shows continued to feature anti-Christian and anti-Jewish messages, and anti-Semitic literature was common in bookstores.
An estimated 103,600 Jews lived in the country, comprising approximately 0.2 percent of the population, according to government census data and international Jewish groups. Local Jewish leaders estimated the number of persons with an ethnic Jewish heritage to be as high as 370,000.
There were a number of acts of anti-Semitism, some involving vandalism of Jewish property. According to the Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of Ukraine's (VAAD) there were nine incidents of vandalism during the year compared with 19 incidents in 2009, and 13 in 2008. There were no reports of violent incidents of anti-Semitism.
In April a Jewish cemetery in Ternopil was desecrated. Other vandalism included the August 12 desecration of a Jewish cemetery in Pavlohrad, paint thrown on a Jewish community building in Sumy on October 12, the November 17 and November 19 desecrations of Holocaust monuments in Kirovograd and in Sevastopol, and paint thrown on the walls of a synagogue on December 9 in Sumy.
As of year's end there were no reports that authorities had identified suspects or made arrests in cases of vandalism against Jewish property in 2009, including swastikas on the walls of Jewish Charity Center in Melitopol, Nazi symbols on the front door of the Kyiv office of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and paint splashed on the monument marking the birthplace of Rabbi Menachem Schneerson in Mykolayiv.
During the year members of marginal populist and nationalist parties and organizations continued to make occasional extremist, intolerant, and anti-Semitic statements.
In January unidentified individuals in Sudak, Crimea were reported to have passed out leaflets calling for genocide against Jews in the country. As of the end of the year, there had been no further developments in the incident.
On September 10, the Prosecutor's Office in Zakarpattia closed an investigation into charges of hate speech against Serhiy Ratushnyak, the former mayor of Uzhhorod. Citing findings by legal and linguistic experts, the prosecutor stated Ratushnyak's comments made in 2009 reflected his opinion about Jews and could not be described as hate speech. Ratushnyak was charged in August 2009 with inciting ethnic hatred, hooliganism, and abuse of office after he allegedly used anti-Semitic rhetoric and attacked a campaign worker for a rival presidential candidate. Ratushnyak, who was known for making racist and intolerant comments, ran as a marginal candidate in the presidential elections.
On November 10, the National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council issued a warning to the Kherson Television and Radio Company about racist and anti-Semitic remarks made by former city councilman Serhiy Kyrychenko in 2009 on a local radio show, Vik. In frequent appearances on the program Kyrychenko accused Jews of robbing the country's people and plotting to enslave Ukrainians and exterminate Slavs. The Kherson Oblast Prosecutor's Office also opened a criminal case against Kyrychenko on charges of inciting interethnic hatred. In December the prosecutor completed a pretrial investigation and sent the case to court.
Anti-Semitic articles continued to appear in small publications, although their number and circulation continued to decline. According to VAAD, 46 anti-Semitic articles were published in major print media outlets in 2009, compared with 54 in 2008 and 542 in 2007.
VAAD said the sharp decrease in anti-Semitic publications was due primarily to concerted political and social pressure by NGOs, the government and the Jewish community on the Academy of Personnel Management (MAUP). In previous years, MAUP, a private higher-education institution, accounted for nearly 90 percent of all anti-Semitic material, but has now ceased the publications.
In November 2009 according to media reports, self-described "writer and philosopher" Vyacheslav Gudin told a group of 300 persons that 15 Ukrainian children who had been adopted in Israel were taken to Israeli medical centers and used for "spare parts." He further asserted that 25,000 Ukrainian children had been taken to Israel over the previous two years to harvest their organs. His allegations, which mirrored past anti-Semitic "blood libel" claims, were circulated on the Internet by radical right-wing groups. Members of the Odesa Jewish community called on the prosecutor's office to investigate the ZaZUBR group, which had published Gudin's materials in its newspaper, ZaZUBRina, and on its Web site. Prosecutors opened a case but did not bring charges against anyone involved. In addition, the government reportedly opened an investigation into the validity of Gudin's remarks; however, at year's end no further information was available about the details of the investigation.
Senior government officials and politicians from various political parties continued efforts to combat anti-Semitism by speaking out against extremism and social intolerance, and by criticizing anti-Semitic acts.
The SCNR, together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Internal Affairs, State Border Guard Committee, State Customs Service, State Committee for Tourism, and other agencies, cooperated to support Jewish pilgrimages to the burial site in Uman of Rabbi Nakhman, founder of the Bratslav Hasidic movement. According to Jewish leaders approximately 23,000 pilgrims traveled to Uman in September. Growing numbers of Jewish pilgrims have been visiting burial sites of prominent spiritual leaders in Medzhybizh, Berdychiv, and Hadyach.
According to the government the SBU acted to prevent at least six hate crimes in 2009 and 2010, including illegal activities by skinhead groups in Cherkassy and Dnepropetrovsk and an attack on the cultural center Hesed Haim in Sumy.
The Jewish population numbered approximately 300,000. There was a small spike in anti-Semitic incidents after the Gaza flotilla incident on May 31. The Community Security Trust, a group that tracked anti-Semitic activity, reported 74 anti-Semitic incidents in June alone with 28 occurring in the first week of the month. Anti-Semitic acts from January to June were fewer than during the same period in 2009 (the year of the conflict in the Gaza Strip) but continued to be slightly higher than in 2008. The incidents included property damage, threats, abusive behavior, and mass-produced or mass-mailed anti-Semitic literature.
In September researchers from the Simon Wiesenthal Center discovered dozens of anti-Jewish Facebook pages from the UK and other countries. The group said that Facebook officials were "very cooperative" in disabling the sites.
According to the BBC, in October vandals sprayed "Nazi graffiti" on the doorstep of the UK Holocaust Center.
In November, BBC Panorama determined that about 5,000 pupils were being taught the official Saudi national curriculum in UK schools. Education Secretary Michael Gove said that there was no place for anti-Semitic or homophobic lessons in British schools.
Some anti-Jewish political commentary and editorial cartoons appeared, usually linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, without government response.
Anti-Israel sentiment is common in the media and at times devolved into anti-Semitic rhetoric. Anti-Semitic editorial cartoons and articles depicting demonic images of Jews and Israeli leaders, stereotypical images of Jews along with Jewish symbols, and comparisons of Israeli leaders with Hitler and the Nazis were published throughout the year, particularly during and following Israeli Defense Force killings of persons on ships carrying aid headed to Gaza in June. The government reportedly advised journalists and cartoonists to avoid anti-Semitism. Government officials insisted that anti-Semitic statements in the media were a reaction to Israeli government actions against Palestinians and did not constitute anti-Semitism. A number of private satellite television stations, licensed by the government and broadcast on government-owned Nilesat, broadcast severe anti-Semitic programming; the programs used video and pictures of the Holocaust to glorify it. Other programs denied or diminished the Holocaust's existence. The government removed 12 of these channels from Nilesat in October. On November 27, an administrative court ordered Nilesat to reinstate five of these stations, which Nilesat did. There were reports of imams using anti-Semitic rhetoric in their sermons, although the Minister of Islamic Endowments instructed imams to avoid anti-Semitism when making anti-Israel remarks. There were no reports of anti-Semitic violence directed toward the country's approximately 100 Jews.
On February 23, police arrested a man who threw combustible material from a hotel facing a downtown Cairo synagogue February 21. The material caught on fire on the street outside the synagogue but caused no damage or injuries. According to multiple press reports, the assailant was scheduled to go on trial in 2011.
The government's anti-Israel stance, in particular the president's repeated speeches decrying the existence of Israel and calling for the destruction of its "Zionist regime," created a threatening atmosphere for the 25,000-person Jewish community. Government officials continued to make anti-Semitic statements, organize events during the year designed to deny the Holocaust, and sanction anti-Semitic propaganda. The government also limited distribution of nonreligious Hebrew texts and required Jewish schools to remain open on Jewish Sabbath.
The majority of the Jewish community, which was estimated to number 117,000 in 1947, left in the years immediately following the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. Virtually all of the remaining Jews left the country over the passage of the following decades. Fewer than 10 Jews remained in Baghdad, and none were known to live in other parts of the country.
The criminal code stipulates that any person promoting Zionist principles, or who associates himself with Zionist organizations or assists them by giving material or moral support or works in any way towards the realization of Zionist objectives, is subject to punishment by death.
There were no reports of anti-Semitic acts.
In both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, Palestinian media published and broadcast material that included both anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic content, which sometimes amounted to incitement. Rhetoric by several Palestinian groups included expressions of anti-Semitism, as did sermons by some Muslim religious leaders. Some Palestinian religious leaders rejected the right of Israel to exist. Hamas's al-Aqsa television station carried shows for preschoolers extolling hatred of Jews and suicide bombings.
Palestinian media not under the control of the PA, particularly those controlled by Hamas, continued to use inflammatory anti-Semitic language. Unofficial Palestinian television broadcast content that sometimes praised holy war to expel the Jewish presence in the region. Some children's programs shown on Hamas television legitimized the killing of Israelis and Jews via terrorist attacks.
Anti-Semitism was present in the media, and editorial cartoons, articles, and opinion pieces sometimes depicted negative images of Jews without government response. Aside from expatriates, there was no resident Jewish community in the country.
Negative commentary regarding Jews appeared in the media. Anti-Semitic rhetoric often originated from self-proclaimed Islamists or conservative opinion writers. These columnists often conflated Israeli actions with those of Jews more broadly, particularly after the May 31 Israeli interception of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, which included several prominent Kuwaitis. School administrators have issued standing instructions to teachers to expunge English-language textbooks of any references to Israel or the Holocaust, and books dealing with these topics remained banned. The government did not make any public statement on textbook censorship. There were no known Jewish citizens and an estimated few dozen Jewish foreign resident employees.
At year's end there were approximately 100 Jews living in the country and 6,000 registered Jewish voters who lived abroad but had the right to vote in parliamentary elections.
During the year Hizballah directed strong rhetoric against Israel and the Jewish population, and it cooperated in publishing and distributing anti-Semitic literature. Al-Manar TV, controlled and operated by Hizballah, continued to broadcast anti-Semitic material that drew no government criticism.
On November 5, the government censored The Diary of Anne Frank from a textbook used by the International College. The action followed a campaign by Hizballah claiming the work promoted Zionism. Hizballah's Al-Manar television channel ran a report condemning the book for focusing on the persecution of Jews.
On September 28, Khaled Shebli Khelo allegedly threw a Molotov cocktail at the Maghen Abraham synagogue, the last remaining synagogue in the country. Security authorities arrested Khelo the same day, and investigations into the incident were ongoing at year's end.
During the year representatives from the Israeli Communal Council reported continued acts of vandalism against a Jewish-owned cemetery in downtown Beirut. The government had not arrested or prosecuted suspects for these crimes as of year's end.
Although no statistics were available during the year, the country's Jewish population was extremely small and possibly nonexistent. There was no functioning synagogue. Discussions between the government and representatives of the former Jewish community on possible compensation for Jewish communal property the government confiscated after 1948 have continued since 2004.
In December the United Kingdom's Guardian reported that in 2008 a Marks and Spencer store in Tripoli had been the target of anti-Semitic accusations by Libya's government. The English-Jewish owned brand's store was closed twice in 2008 for being a "Zionist entity" that supported "the killing of Palestinians." Officials had taken the store's employees in for questioning. Local contacts perceived the attacks as political and aimed at Libyan private business rather than rooted in anti-Semitism. The Marks and Spencer store reopened in 2009 and continued to operate at year's end.
There was no Jewish population, and there were no reports of anti-Semitic acts or public statements by community or national leaders vilifying Jews. Anti-Semitism was present in the media. Anti-Semitic editorial cartoons depicting stereotypical and negative images of Jews, along with Jewish symbols, were published during the year, primarily in the privately owned daily newspaper al-Watan. Unlike in 2009, no overtly anti-Semitic editorials or articles appeared in private or government-owned newspapers.
Qatar does not have an indigenous Jewish community; the few Jews in the country during the reporting period were foreigners with no restrictions on traveling to or working in the country. On occasion, in response to political events and developments in the region, some of the country's privately owned Arabic-language newspapers carried cartoons depicting offensive caricatures of Jews and Jewish symbols and editorial comparisons of Israeli leaders and Israel to Hitler and the Nazis. These occurred primarily in the daily newspapers al-Watan, al-Sharq, al-Arab, and al-Raya, and drew no government response. In a January 2009 sermon on al-Jazeera, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi called for killing Jews "down to the very last one."
There were no known Jewish Saudi citizens and no available statistics concerning the religious denominations of foreigners.
Some vendors at the annual government-sponsored book fair in Riyadh in March offered anti-Semitic publications, including the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Editorial cartoons occasionally exhibited anti-Semitism characterized by stereotypical images of Jews along with Jewish symbols and comparisons of Israeli government actions to those of Nazis, particularly at times of heightened political tensions with Israel. On June 2, daily newspaper Al-Iqtisadiyya featured a cartoon of an Israeli flag with a swastika replacing the Star of David flying over a collection of bones, including skull and crossbones, spread across a Star of David. Anti-Semitic editorial comments appeared in government and private print and electronic media in response to regional political events. On September 15, daily newspaper Al-Madina showed a caricatured Jew whipping an Arab toward "concessions" in a new round of peace talks.
There continued to be reports that Sunni imams, who receive government stipends, used anti-Jewish, anti-Christian, and anti-Shia language in their sermons. There were reports of imams in the Eastern Province who included calls for divine punishment of Jews as part of special prayers. There were reports that the Ministry of Islamic Affairs dismissed some imams for espousing intolerant ideas. During the year the ministry issued periodic circulars to clerics and imams in mosques directing them to include messages on the principles of justice, equality, and tolerance and encourage rejection of bigotry and all forms of racial discrimination in their sermons. Unlike in the previous year, there were no reports that prayers were projected over mosque speakers for the death of Jews and Christians.
The government's multiyear project to revise textbooks, curricula, and teaching methods to promote tolerance and remove content disparaging religions other than Islam began in 2007, but it had not been fully implemented by year's end. While more than 83 school districts in 13 provinces participated in the project, there continued to be anti-Semitic passages in textbooks used throughout the country. The government mandated the removal of controversial terms from school textbooks and the substitution of such terms with the phrase "there is no compulsion in religion." In September the government introduced revised and newly written textbooks across the curriculum for most school grades. Nonetheless, for example, a 2010-11 seventh-grade text contained anti-Semitic language, such as, "The nature of the Jews is duplicity, oath-breaking, and back-stabbing." Anti-Semitic material in Saudi textbooks was used in some schools abroad, some of which may not be funded by the Saudi government. Although textbook reviews and revisions continued at year's end, the revisions were insufficiently extensive to remove all language defaming non-Muslims and pronounced anti-Semitic perspectives.
In May the King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue launched a massive public awareness campaign with 10 different public service announcements to promote dialogue, tolerance, and moderation. The announcements were broadcast during primetime television and major soccer matches and addressed a variety of themes, including promoting respect for others to address formal and informal discrimination and for laws and systems, revising teachers' conduct to encourage rather than disparage students, and handling conflicts cooperatively rather than aggressively. Throughout the year 1,555 certified trainers conducted 66 training programs and workshops on "the culture and importance of open dialogue and communication skills" for more than 500 men and women. The workshops addressed all forms of prejudice and tolerance to nonmainstream groups. In 2008 the UN endorsed the king's Interfaith Dialogue Initiative, which brought together prominent officials and religious and academic scholars to discuss interfaith issues. A mix of high-level government and religious officials openly supported this campaign against religious extremism and intolerant language, especially in mosques and schools.
There were an estimated 100 to 200 Jews living in the country. Jewish leaders reported no acts of physical violence or specific instances of anti-Semitism against, or harassment of, Jewish persons. However, the media contained anti-Semitic material, such as a cartoon in the February 22 newspaper Abidh Wassoud titled "Resistance Prevents Jews From Swallowing the World," which portrayed a Jewish man about to eat the world. Similarly, on November 25, a cartoon appeared in the English-language newspaper Syria News showing Uncle Sam's body with a stereotypical Jewish hat and head with the title "Who's In Charge?" On December 29, the newspaper Al-Thawra pictured Uncle Sam and an old Jewish man standing beside the hospital bed of a sick African child with the heading "Jew, U.S. Fear for Darfur's Health–Due to Darfur Oil."
On June 9, a Syrian delegate in speaking to the UN Human Rights Council claimed that Jewish authorities taught hatred of Arabs to small children. Alluding to the blood libel, she alleged that children on buses in Israel were taught to sing a song as they went to school containing the words, "With my teeth I will rip your flesh. With my mouth I will suck your blood."
The government cooperated closely with and protected the 1,600-person Jewish population. Jews faced some defamation in the media, particularly in reaction to the Gaza flotilla incident in March.
There were no synagogues for the small foreign Jewish population in residence. Anti-Semitism was apparent in news articles and editorials. These expressions occurred primarily in daily newspapers without government response.
The government's stated policy was to protect the country's Jewish community. However, social pressure excluded Jewish citizens, who numbered fewer than 250, from certain occupations. They are not eligible to serve in the military or federal government.
In October two packages containing explosives were sent as cargo on an airplane from the country addressed to former synagogues in the United States; Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula took credit for the mailing.
During the year a cleric resident in the country blogged and released online videos that included the vilification of Jews. According to a foreign NGO, in at least one video, he claimed that Jews had "a hidden agenda" and had infiltrated every government in the world.
A December 19 cartoon in the newspaper Al-Jamhurriya represented a stereotypic individual wearing a hat with a Star of David and sucking on a straw, the caption of which read "Jew sucks dry Palestinian identity."
In 2008 an explosive device was thrown at a Jewish home. The government appeared unwilling or unable to increase security for the remaining Jewish population; perpetrators of violence against the community generally went unpunished.
The historic Saada community of 45 Jews, relocated to Sana'a in 2007 after a follower of the Houthis threatened it, remained under government protection in Sana'a. In 2008 a group of men ransacked and destroyed two homes in Saada Governorate that belonged to a member of the Jewish community living in Sana'a. The attack was believed to have been the work of Houthi rebels.
Approximately 30,000 to 40,000 Jews lived in the country. There were no reports of anti-Semitic acts apart from the distribution of anti-Semitic literature by Hizb ut-Tahrir. Leaders of the Jewish community reported no cases of anti-Semitism by the government or in society.
On April 8, immediately following the April 7 change of government, a banner hung in Bishek's main square which wrote "Dirty Jews and such like Maxim have no place in Kyrgyzstan." Maxim Bakiyev, former president Bakiyev's son, had been criticized by some media outlets for having Jewish advisors.
On April 9, an unknown person set off three gasoline bombs on the grounds of the Bishkek Synagogue, and on September 9, an unknown person threw an apparently homemade bomb packed with nails and screws into the courtyard of the same synagogue. No one was injured in either incident. At year's end authorities were investigating, but no suspects had been identified in either case.
Approximately 1,500 Jews live in the country.
There were no known Jewish citizens or residents, and there were anti-Jewish protests in response to an Israeli humanitarian mission.
When it was announced a team of Israeli doctors was due to arrive in the country to treat eye patients in December, the Islamic Foundation of the Maldives called on the government to break off all diplomatic ties with Israel. The Islamic Foundation claimed that it was against Islam to have "relationships with Jews" and called on the president to "shun all medical aid from the Zionist regime." When the medical team arrived, there were protests against the eye doctors and Israeli flags were burned. The protests were fairly small and Minivan News reported that over 200 Maldivians registered for eye care with the Israeli team.
Although there were no known Jewish communities in the country, anti-Semitic sentiments were commonly found in the vernacular press.
Jewish leaders reported high levels of acceptance in society. There were no reports of anti-Semitic acts or patterns of discrimination against Jews. The Jewish community was unable to meet the registration requirements necessary to have a centrally registered organization, but there were eight registered Jewish congregations throughout the country. Observers estimated the Jewish population to be approximately 10,000 persons, concentrated mostly in Tashkent, Samarkand, and Bukhara. Their numbers continued to decline due to emigration, largely for economic reasons.
Sporadic acts of discrimination and vandalism continued against religious minorities, particularly the Jewish community, consisting of 250,000 to 300,000 members. The Delegation of Jewish Argentine Associations (DAIA) received 503 complaints of anti-Semitism during 2009, representing an increase of 60 percent over 2008. DAIA indicated that the spike in anti-Semitic acts was related to conflicts in the Gaza Strip in early 2009.
The most commonly reported incidents were anti-Semitic graffiti, verbal slurs, and the desecration of Jewish cemeteries, including 40 graves at the Jewish cemetery in Misiones in May. A majority of the complaints were filed in Buenos Aires City. DAIA claimed that cases in the provinces were likely underreported.
In February a judge sentenced Juan Carlos Beica, the leader of a minority left-wing party, to a six-month suspended sentence for his role in organizing the January 2009 anti-Israeli demonstrations in Buenos Aires in protest of Israeli military operations in Gaza. The protests, which took placeoutside the Israeli embassy, AMIA's headquarters, and a hotel owned by a Jewish Argentine businessman and treasurer of the World Jewish Congress, exhibited anti-Semitic imagery. On July 21, a Buenos Aires Appeals Court absolved Beica of the charges and revoked the six-month sentence.
In November an Appeals Court cleared Revolutionary Action Front leader Roberto Martino of charges for an anti-Semitic attack outside the Israeli embassy in 2009. Despite the ruling, Martino remained in pretrial detention at year's end on separate charges, which provoked some left-wing groups supporting Martino to block main transit routes in downtown Buenos Aires to protest his detention.
The investigation into the 1994 bombing of the AMIA building in Buenos Aires that killed 85 persons continued. With Interpol assistance, the federal prosecutor investigating the case continued to seek the arrest of eight Iranians for their alleged involvement in the bombing. In March AMIA case prosecutor Alberto Nisman met with Iranian officials at Interpol's headquarters. The Iranians rejected a proposal for a third state to provide for a fair trial. In September President Fernandez de Kirchner advocated the third-state proposal during her address to the UN General Assembly, but the government of Iran again rejected the proposal in a September 28 letter to the UN.
In March a federal appeals court confirmed the 2009 decision to prosecute former president Carlos Menem, former secretary of intelligence Hugo Anzorreguy, and former federal judge Juan Jose Galeano for their alleged role in the bombing "cover-up." In August a federal judge publicly urged prosecutor Nisman to speed up the investigation regarding Carlos Telledin to bring the case to oral trial. The investigation continued at year's end.
The government continued to support public dialogue to highlight past discrimination and to encourage religious tolerance, including the celebration of Freedom of Religion Day. In October the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Tourism cosponsored an international colloquium entitled "Two Argentine Centuries of Christian-Judeo-Islamic Multiculturalism." The event included documentaries, exhibitions, and religious community speakers.
According to the country's Jewish Confederation, there were approximately 125,000 Jewish residents, of whom approximately 65,000 were in Sao Paulo State and 40,000 in Rio de Janeiro State. It is illegal to write, edit, publish, or sell books that promote anti-Semitism or racism. The law enables courts to fine or imprison anyone who displays, distributes, or broadcasts anti-Semitic materials and mandates a two- to five-year prison term. Nonetheless, there were manifestations of anti-Semitism in the comparison of Israel to Nazis in the media.
Anti-Semitism was rare; however, there were reports of anti-Semitic graffiti, other acts of vandalism, harassment, and threats via telephone and e-mail. Anti-Semitic Web sites continued to operate. Small groups of skinheads, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists operated on the political fringe in Rio Grande do Sul and Sao Paulo states, perpetrating harassment and violence toward Jews and other minority groups. Law enforcement agents monitored these groups.
Jewish community leaders expressed concern over the continued appearance on Web sites of anti-Semitic material compiled by neo-Nazi and "skinhead" groups. The Jewish Federation of Sao Paulo reported that the violence against Jews decreased within the state due to the police work to control skinhead group's actions, but there were anti-Semitic epithets directed at Orthodox Jews in some of Sao Paulo's traditionally Jewish neighborhoods.
In Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, members of the political Party of Socialism and Liberty called for the end of the Israeli state during their allotted electoral campaign television time. The city of Porto Alegre, which has an estimated 15,000 Jews, experienced several neo-Nazi attacks in the past, including the desecration of a cemetery and synagogue. A 2009 plot to bomb two synagogues was also discovered.
Approximately 1.1 percent of the population was Jewish.
The B'nai Brith Canada League for Human Rights received 1,264 reports of anti-Semitic incidents in 2009, an 11 percent increase from 2008. Four-fifths of such reports came from the provinces of Ontario and Quebec (672 and 373 incidents, respectively); the vast majority of the country's Jewish population resides in these two provinces. The 1,264 reports included 884 cases of harassment, 348 cases of vandalism, and 32 cases of violence. There were 185 cases involving attacks on synagogues, Jewish homes, community centers, or cemeteries. Jewish students reported 137 cases of anti-Semitic incidents on university campuses in 2009, compared with 76 in 2008; another 73 involved primary and secondary school settings, compared with 57 in 2008. B'nai Brith also received 435 reports of Web-based hate activity, an 8 percent increase from 2008.
In April a group of individuals in Gatineau, Quebec, allegedly struck a man on the head, yelled anti-Semitic slurs, and chased the man and his Jewish companion with a machete. The Gatineau police closed their investigation of the incident for lack of evidence.
On March 18, police arrested a teenager for the November 2009 spray-painting of anti-Semitic slogans on the Calgary Jewish Centre, the Holocaust War Memorial, and private residential property in Calgary. On July 19, he pled guilty to incitement of hatred to an identifiable group, and mischief against a religious facility. Sentencing remained pending at the end of the reporting period. The conviction constituted the city's first confirmed hate crime.
There were various reports of anti-Semitic incidents during the year, such as acts of vandalism, verbal slurs, bomb threats, and online harassment. Vandalism included desecration of Jewish community institutions, such as schools, synagogues, and cemeteries. In an October 6 press article, the vice president of the Jewish Community of Chile noted various acts of vandalism of homes in Santiago, Lota, and Puerto Montt. There were approximately 15,000 members of the Jewish community.
Neo-Nazi and skinhead groups engaged in gang-type criminal activities and violence against immigrants, gays and lesbians, punk rockers, and anarchists. Some skinhead groups shared the anti-Semitic rhetoric of neo-Nazi groups.
On June 17, the Vina del Mar penal court convicted Elliot Quijada, a neo-Nazi militant, of illegal arms possession as well as of hate crimes for his September 2009 harassment of Lily Perez, who is Jewish, during her campaign for senator. The court sentenced Quijada to 600 days of prison for illegal arms possession and fined him approximately 1.85 million pesos ($3,565) for hate speech.
There were reports of societal abuses or discrimination, including anti-Semitism, based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice. Anti-Semitic acts included graffiti painted on the exterior walls of synagogues and anti-Semitic statements in pamphlets published by small anti-Semitic organizations. The Jewish community had an estimated 5,000 members.
There were some reports of anti-Semitic verbal abuse in public and occasional instances of anti-Semitic graffiti at public universities. The alleged victims did not press charges. Jewish Zionist Center estimated that there were 3,000 Jews in the country.
Jewish community leaders reported that government officials and society generally respected members of their community, which numbered approximately 18,000 to 20,000 according to the Jewish Central Committee. Jewish leaders reported effective cooperation with police investigating incidents of anti-Semitism.
There were reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice, including anti-Semitism.
There were an estimated 9,500 Jews in the country. Jewish leaders reported that much of the anti-Semitic graffiti that appeared in 2009 had not been painted over and was still publicly visible. New anti-Semitic graffiti appeared on the Episcopal Conference's downtown Caracas commercial buildings after their February 7 expropriation by President Chavez; press reports indicated that the buildings were erroneously rumored to be Jewish-owned. The 11 suspects in the January 2009 vandalism and desecration of the Tiferet Israel synagogue in Caracas remained in prison awaiting trial at year's end.
Jewish community leaders publicly expressed concern about anti-Semitic expressions carried in official and government-affiliated media. These expressions often increased following government criticism of Israeli government policies or actions. For example, on June 2, following the Gaza flotilla incident, President Chavez called Israel a "genocidal state" but said he was not an "enemy of the Jews," that Venezuelan Jews "have our affection and our respect," and that he "could not believe that a Venezuelan Jew…would support this kind of massacre." On July 11, an anti-Israel advertisement produced by Tatuy TVC and Phantom Studios aired on government-owned Venezolana de Television during a World Cup soccer game; it showed an Israeli soccer team attacking a pregnant woman, an elderly man, and children, followed by the text, "It's not a game, it's a massacre," and, "We are all Palestinians." In the advertisement boot sounds were audible in the background. On July 12, government-owned newspaper Diario Vea published an article that claimed that "to avenge the Shoah, the Jews commit their own genocide, [they] massacre families and perpetrate other atrocities, like starving the children of Gaza until they die." On July 13, Diario Vea published a political cartoon depicting Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman, with half his face as Adolf Hitler, holding up his hand that was tattooed with a skull with sharp teeth and an Israeli flag on its forehead. Government-affiliated Web site Aporrea.org published an article on August 6 claiming that "the people are the new enemy of the degenerate neo Zionist fascist race, who are a new edition of Hitler's Nazi thinking and his racial superiority madness, which has been recovered by Zionist Jewish and Catholic thieves and assassins."
On August 9, Foreign Minister Maduro met with representatives of the Latin American Jewish Congress, who later stated publicly that the foreign minister had promised to provide security to the Jewish community during the Jewish High Holidays and to monitor anti-Semitism in the media. The government provided increased security to Jewish religious and community centers in response to their concerns.
On September 16, Jewish community leaders met with President Chavez and issued a communique which stated that they had expressed their "profound concern" to the president regarding the "anti-Semitic statements, practically daily, which started years ago, in the official and government-affiliated media." They noted the possible negative consequences of expressions of hate, such as threats to the security and integrity of Jewish institutions and individuals, and "officially requested the President of the Republic to intervene and stop these expressions." In a televised September 17 meeting with PSUV party representatives, President Chavez said the Jewish community had his "respect and affection and can count on the respect of the revolution, of the PSUV, and of the Bolivarian state." With respect to the request to end anti-Semitic expressions in the media, President Chavez called "for all of us to respect the Jewish community in Venezuela as another community, as other Venezuelans." After a temporary lull, Jewish community representatives reported a renewed rise in anti-Semitism in the media. On October 13, government-affiliated Web site Aporrea.com published an article recommending the anti-Semitic book, The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.