Anti-Semitism Upswing:  Connected Wisdom’s Comparison of 13 National Reports

Jewish people on all continents watch anxiously as anti-Semitic attacks appear to be on the rise worldwide.  We wonder if our senses deceive us.  Can we actually be sliding into an abyss of anti-Semitism that we believed modernity had dispelled?  A comparison of reports on the incidence of anti-Semitic attacks in 13 countries in Europe, North America, and Australia cast a harsh light on reality of our situation.

The efforts of The European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) developed the following working definition of anti-Semitism likely similar to definitions used in the compilation of the 13 reports examined here by Connected Wisdom.

“Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

While the types of anti-Semitic incidents in these reports likely involve hate crimes or criminal attacks against Jewish people and property, anti-Semitism manifests itself in a much broader variety of forms. For that reason, the figures cited in these studies probably represent just the tip of the iceberg of worldwide anti-Semitism.

The following charts provide visual highlights of the findings of Connected Wisdom’s comparison of 13 reports on the incidence of anti-Semitism across Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, United Kingdom, USA, Australia, and Canada.

Reported Incidents by Country_image_Fig. 1

In reports from thirteen countries providing statistics on the numbers of anti-Semitic incidents in the year 2013, there were 5,225 reported incidents of anti-Semitism.  By 2014, the numbers of reported anti-Semitic incidents had risen to 7,262.  This represents an increase of 2,037 anti-Semitic incidents reported in the countries studied within just one year’s time.  While only Canada and Germany reported more than 1,000 incidents in 2013, by 2014 the UK had joined their ranks.  The number of incidents reported in the UK in 2013 was 535, compared to an alarming 1,168 in 2014.  In other words, the number of incidents in the UK had roughly doubled within one year.  A similar situation can also be observed in France.  In France, 423 anti-Semitic incidents were reported in 2013.  This number had more than doubled to 851 incidents of anti-Semitism in 2014.  If trends of this magnitude continue for even one more year, both the US and France will join Canada, Germany, and the UK in the dubious distinction of being the sites of more than 1,000 anti-Semitic attacks per year.

Percent Increase by Country_image_Fig. 2

The magnitude of the staggering rise in reported anti-Semitic attacks against Jewish people and their property becomes even more apparent when percentages of increase within merely one calendar year are examined.  Overall, there was nearly a 40% increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents reported in countries scattered around the globe.  However, when the average percentage of increase in the rates of anti-Semitic incidents across six European countries (UK, France, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Czechoslovakia) is calculated, the rate is a shocking 71%. The much lower percentage of increase in countries geographically isolated from Europe greatly moderates the overall rate of increase in anti-Semitic incidents globally.  Both the UK (118%) and France (101%) had more than a 100% rise in rates of anti-Semitism within one year’s time.   This comparison may provide insight into areas of the world where Jews are increasingly vulnerable.

Proportion Total Incidents_image_Fig. 3

In 2014, Israel was home to almost 43% of the world’s Jewish population, and the US to 40%.  While less than 1% of the worldwide Jewish population in 2014 lived in Germany (0.8%), 25% of reported anti-Semitic incidents took place in Germany during the eleven years studied in the Connected Wisdom comparison.  The pattern was similar in Canada.  In 2014, Canada was home to 2.7% of the world’s Jewish population, yet accounted for 20% of anti-Semitic attacks reported among the 13 countries compared in the Connected Wisdom study.   Germany (25%), Canada (20%), and the US (20%) accounted for 65% of reported anti-Semitic incidents among thirteen countries compared.  The UK (11%), France (9%), and Australia (6%) accounted for slightly more than a quarter of reported anti-Semitic incidents over eleven recent years.  Overall, just six countries—Germany, US, Canada, UK, France, Australia—were the location of more than 90% of 60,822 reported anti-Semitic incidents during the eleven years covered in the Connected Wisdom comparison.  The remaining seven countries—Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden—were home to only 9% of the reported anti-Semitic attacks.

It is important to note that the types of anti-Semitic incidents accounted for in the Connected Wisdom comparison make up only a fraction of the vast spectrum of types of anti-Semitism.  A brief list of unmeasured forms of anti-Semitism certainly includes:  1) anti-Zionism expressed as de-legitimization, demonization, and the application of double standards to Israel, 2) actions and impacts of the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, 3) Holocaust denial and glorification by government leaders, religious leaders, and the media, 4) the promulgation of demonizing cartoons and posts, as well conspiracy theories directed towards Jewish people, via social and print media.

No matter how you cut it, there is certainly substantial reason for grave concern regarding both the incidence of anti-Semitism and rising rates worldwide.  With the painful lessons of the past firmly in mind, we would do well to understand the phenomena revealing before our eyes and to unite our efforts to transform the situation.


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Vital Statistics:  Jewish Population of the World

Connected Wisdom Source Studies

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2004-2010: Forum against antisemitism; 2011–2014 Jewish Community of Prague

Denmark, Mosaic Religious Community (MT) (2015), Rapport om antisemitiske hændelser i Danmark 2014.

CNCDH annual reports


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CST, Antisemitic incidents report 2014, p. 4

ADL yearly USA antisemitism audit

Annual Reports