The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) published its annual list of the “Top Ten Worst Anti-Semitic and Anti-Israel Incidents,” which ranks the worst anti-Semitic and anti-Israel people and incidents the Jewish world has encountered in the past year.
By: Benjamin Brown
The Los Angeles-based Human Rights organization presented its latest edition of the list at a press conference in New York on Wednesday, which included UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and US Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib.
- Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the UK Labour Party, tops the list. The SWC wrote that “in a year awash with anti-Semitism on both sides of the Atlantic,” no one had done more “to mainstream anti-Semitism into the political and social life of a democracy” than the Labour Party under Corbyn.
A poll conducted among British Jews by the Jewish Leadership Council found that 47% of respondents said they would “seriously consider” leaving the UK if Corbyn became Prime Minister. The SWC had released news that Corbyn would be heading the list five days before the UK General Election on December 12th. Labour suffered major losses, with Corbyn announcing he will resign in the near future.
- In second place, the SWC listed attacks against Jews by domestic terrorists in the US and Germany. Deadly incidents in 2019 include an attack on a kosher supermarket in Jersey City, an attack on a synagogue in San Diego County and the attempted bombing of a synagogue in Pueblo, Colorado, in which the perpetrator also planned on poisoning the synagogue’s drinking water.In Europe, the Yom Kippur attack on a synagogue in the German city of Halle is listed. After the attacker failed to break down the door to the synagogue, in which 80 Jews were praying, he killed two non-Jewish civilians. In his manifesto, the attacker described himself as judenkritisch, critical of Jews. The 27-year-old also denied the Holocaust in his live stream of the attack.
- In Italy, 89-year-old Holocaust survivor and Senator-for-Life Liliana Segre had to be placed under police protection after receiving scores of death threats. The Auschwitz survivor had previously suggested a “national commission to battle hatred and bigotry.”
- Murder charges were dropped against a Muslim who had killed a Jewish kindergarten teacher in France. A court decided that the man had suffered a “massive psychotic episode” after smoking marijuana and would not stand trial for murder.The perpetrator broke into his victim’s flat, allegedly reciting verses of the Quran while attacking her. The attacker, who had beaten his victim before throwing her off the balcony of her flat, later claimed he had “felt persecuted” and “oppressed” when he saw the Torah and chandelier in her home.
- US Congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib both made the list for anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli statements.Omar had accused Jews of dual-loyalty and alleged that US support for Israel was fueled by “Jewish money.” Tlaib, the first American Congresswoman of Palestinian Decent, had criticized colleagues opposing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. She also claimed that it was her ancestors, Palestinians, who had “provided” a homeland for Holocaust survivors.
- Hate crimes against Jews in New York drew national attention, following a report by New York Police stating that with 159 incidents, over half of the 309 hate crimes reported had targeted Jews.
- German Ambassador to the United Nations Christoph Heusgen made the list following his representation of Germany in the United Nations Security Council, during which he equated “Israeli bulldozers” with “Hamas rockets.”Following Hamas’ firing of 130 rockets on Israel, Heusgen declared: “We believe that international law is the best way to protect civilians and allow them to live in peace and security and without fear of Israeli bulldozers or ‘Hamas rockets’.”
The SWC also accused Heusgen of voting in favor of 25 “Anti-Israel resolutions.”
- The targeting of Jews on North American Campuses made headlines in 2019 with students and their respective unions of universities and colleges throughout Canada and the United States supporting the BDS movement. Criticism was countered as hindering freedom of speech.Incidents included a Jewish student threatened with impeachment by the McGill University Student Union if she traveled to Israel on a Hillel-sponsored trip.
- Anti-Semitic hate crimes are becoming increasingly frequent in Sweden.On the 81st anniversary of the Reichskristallnacht stickers depicting the yellow Judenstern, which Jews were forced to wear under Nazi rule, were placed on Jewish sites. The stickers also appeared in Denmark where private residences of Jews were targeted. Additionally, 84 Jewish graves were vandalized in the town of Randers.
The SWC accused Sweden of not protecting its minuscule Jewish community against anti-Semitic attacks.
- A Florida-based pastor and conspiracy theorist who runs a successful YouTube channel and radio-show spoke of the Trump impeachment proceedings being “a Jew coup”.”That’s the way the Jews work. They are deceivers. They plot. They lie. They do whatever they’ve had to do to accomplish their political agenda,” the pastor told followers. “Should the Jews take over the country, they will conduct a purge… That’s the next thing that happens when Jews take over a country – they kill millions of Christians,” Rick Wiles said.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is named after the famous Nazi-hunter. The NGO conducts Holocaust research and describes itself as “confronting anti-Semitism, hate and terrorism, promoting human rights and dignity, standing with Israel, defending the safety of Jews worldwide, and teaching the lessons of the Holocaust for future generations.” (TPS)