On the European continent, there were a total of 5,954 bias incidents documented in 2019. Of that number 1,311 were anti-Semitic. Jews make up less than 1% of the population. Therefore anti-Semitic incidents accounted for 22% of hate crimes recorded last year in the region.
The statistic is startling. Stop and think and you will realize the hatred of Jews is around 25 times higher than other groups in the population there. Can you explain this? Does it seem desirable or reasonable?
The data on hate crimes comes from a report done by the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). ODIHR in turn is part of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). ODIHR made the report in its annual report published last week. The report is based on data transmitted by governments and watchdog groups.
Of the total incidents, 1,311 were anti-Semitic. The report has the title “2019 Hate Crime Data.” Anti-Semitism was the category with the second-largest number of incidents. There were 2,371 incidents in the more general Racism and Xenophobia category.
Those targeted for their gender or sexual orientation (1,277 cases) made up the third-highest group, followed by Christians (573) and Muslims (507). In one anti-Semitic incident recorded in the report, a woman had her hair and hat pulled violently from behind while speaking Hebrew on the bus in Berlin, Germany.
In another, an Iraqi Muslim man wearing a kippah and carrying several concealed knives was intercepted by guards attempting to enter an Antwerp synagogue in June. The man had used anti-Semitic insults at Jews before the incident.
The report said its figures are not definitive. They may be lower than the number of hate crimes committed or recorded in Europe. America is trending in a very intolerant direction. In America too we are seeing a rising tide of bias incidents. This is an important barometer of America’s cultural change.
When we see rising numbers of incidents in our metropolitan areas it is telling us something. And we are seeing this. This week we had an anti-religious case decided at the Supreme Court. The State of New York was found to be discriminating against Catholics and Jews.
New York’s covid restrictions are being used in targeting these religious groups. This is an act of overt discrimination. Intolerance is a real thing. It is evil and pernicious. We must as a nation hold ourselves individually to a higher standard. Freedom requires tolerance. We need to find, to cultivate, tolerance in our pursuit of freedom. This should become part of our personal values, not a political talking point.