Europe has seen a “worrying escalation” of anti-Semitic acts amid fresh hostilities in the Israel-Palestine conflict, it’s been claimed.
The spike, which has seen incidents in Britain, France, Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands, has been condemned as “simply unacceptable” by the European Network Against Racism (ENAR).
The increase comes amid the latest outbreak of violence in the region, which has seen the deaths of 1,460 Palestinians, mainly civilians, and 63 Israelis, the majority soldiers.
There has been criticism of Israel’s actions – notably from the US government, which said the civilian casualties had been too high.
Sarah Isal, chairwoman of ENAR, said: “This spike in anti-Semitism across Europe is simply unacceptable. A fight for justice – in this case support for the Palestinian cause – is entirely legitimate but cannot succeed by perpetrating racist acts and denying the rights to security and protection of European Jews.”
ENAR claims anti-Semitic graffiti and flyers are appearing in cities across Europe, including Liege, Belgium, where one café owner put up a sign saying dogs were welcome but Jews were not allowed.
The Community Security Trust, which advises Britain’s estimated 260,000 Jews on safety, said there had been 130 anti-Semitic incidents in July, the second highest month on record.
Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual head of the world’s 80 million Anglicans, said: “While it is acceptable to question and even disagree with particular policies of the Israeli government, the spike in violence and abuse against Jewish communities here in the UK is simply unacceptable.
“We must not allow such hostility to disrupt the good relations we cherish among people of all faiths.”
Anti-Jewish incidents have also take place in Germany and France in recent weeks, including petrol bomb attacks on synagogues and cultural centres.
ENAR says in The Netherlands there has been a spike of online anti-Semitic hate speech, with 400 reported incidents in the last two weeks.
ENAR added: “This situation is provoking a climate of fear among Jewish communities in Europe. Many are renouncing their visibility in public spaces for fear of retaliation. Jewish organisations and representatives – including the most progressive – are receiving threats and are under police protection.
“People have the right to express their opinions and their dissent publicly. However, this should under no circumstances give way to racial hatred towards communities that are linked to countries whose policies are in breach of the fundamental rights of other populations.”