Increase in anti-Semitic attacks linked to Gaza
A surge in attacks against Jewish people and synagogues in Belgium, Britain, France, and the Netherlands in December 2008 coincided with the Gaza offensive, concludes study by European Union's Fundamental Rights Agency.VIENNA – Europe has seen a significant increase in anti-Semitic attacks since Israel's 22-day offensive in the Gaza Strip and the onset of the global economic crisis, a report said on Monday.
The study by the European Union's Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) showed the number of anti-Semitic incidents in EU countries declined in 2007 and most of 2008 only to see an upsurge since December.
"This recent surge in anti-Semitic incidents is reason for great concern," said FRA Director Morten Kjaerum.
"While it is too early to draw conclusions, there are indications that this rise could partly be affected by the situation in the Middle East, as well as by the global financial crisis."
The EU agency noted an increase in attacks against Jewish people and synagogues in Belgium, Britain, France, and the Netherlands.
Two Belgian synagogues - one in Brussels, the other in Charleroi - were attacked in January as well as the house of a Jewish family in Anvers, the FRA said.
More than 130 anti-Semitic incidents were recorded in France since December, including notable attacks on three synagogues, one in Toulon, another in Toulouse and the third in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis.
Six Dutch synagogues and Israeli community buildings were attacked in January. There were 24 anti-Semitic incidents recorded in Britain in January, while other attacks were recorded in Spain, Sweden and Germany, the study said.
"Everyone has the right to feel safe and protected, whatever religious belief or ethnic origin. Political and community leaders across the EU have an obligation to make it clear that intolerance and aggression in any form are completely unacceptable," said Kjaerum.
AFP / Expatica