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April 17, 2023 12:33 pm

Haredi Jews Main Victims of Antisemitic Violence, According to New ADL-Tel Aviv University Report

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Hasidic Jewish community members of Stamford Hill celebrating Purim. Photo: Alan Denney/Flickr.

Haredi Jews are the principal victims of antisemitic violence in western countries, according to a new report surveying antisemitic incidents and trends in 2022.

The report — jointly published on Monday by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and Tel Aviv University — noted that “Haredi Jews are the main victims not only because they are easily identifiable as Jews, but also because they are perceived as vulnerable and unlikely to fight back.”

It added that while the the attacks examined in the report “are legally defined as antisemitic hate crimes, the motivations of the perpetrators are not easy to discern and could be driven by a deeply held antisemitism, hatred for Israel, bullying, or a combination of the three.” A case study of antisemitic attacks in the Stamford Hill neighborhood of north London, where around 30,000 British Haredi Jews reside, drew the observation that “with most offenders not being prosecuted and a majority of the more minor offenses most likely not even reported, the motivations of the attackers can only be speculated. What is clear, however, is that the victims would not have been attacked had they not been Jewish.”

The report examined antisemitic activity in several countries, including the US, where nearly 4,000 antisemitic incidents were recorded in 2022, Russia, where President Vladimir Putin’s regime has promoted antisemitic conspiracy theories in tandem with its invasion of Ukraine, and several EU nations that witnessed alarmingly high levels of antisemitism during 2022.

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“Reports by law enforcement and the ADL suggest antisemitic incidents and attitudes intensified across the United States compared to 2021, which itself saw record numbers of incidents,” the report stated. It pointed out that the “New York Police Department (NYPD), the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), and the Chicago Police Department (CPD) registered an alarming number of incidents. The three cities have the largest Jewish populations in the United States – approximately 1.5 million, 519,000, and 292,000, respectively.”

In Russia, the report observed that as “Russian troops in Ukraine faced one humiliating defeat after another in 2022, members and associates of Putin’s fascist regime resorted to Holocaust distortion and vicious antisemitic slander.” It cited as one example an article in a pro-regime outlet attacking the French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy’s defense of Ukraine’s democratic government, asserting: “This 74-year-old French citizen, born to a family of Algerian Jews, smells blood with his nose and, without delay, flies to lap it up — and for good money.”

Within hours of the report’s publication, the country where it attracted the most critical attention was Israel — a consequence of its condemnation of anti-Arab statements uttered by far right members of the Israeli Knesset.

“Soul-searching is required in Israel as well. In recent months, several Jewish Members of Knesset have made chilling racist remarks that would have immediately terminated their careers in any other western democracy,” Prof. Uriya Shavit of Tel Aviv University said in an accompanying statement. “It is sad that this needs to be said on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, but Jewish racism is no better than any other kind of racism. It must be condemned, banned, and eradicated.”

The claim drew an angry response from Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, the head of the far right Otzma Yehudit party. Yishai Fleisher, a spokesperson for Ben Gvir, told Israeli news outlets that the ADL was abusing the “sacrosanct” memory of the Holocaust by turning the fight against antisemitism into a partisan affair.

The ADL “has for a long time now used its remaining influence to attack Jewish nationalism — which means attacking the Israeli voter — instead of fighting the real enemy of the Jewish people and Israel which is the Progressive-Jihad axis,” Fleisher said.

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