Anti-Semitism is a phenomenon that exists, to varying degrees, in every region of the world.
Since the late 1990s, U.S. embassies in many nations have noted an increase in anti-Semitic incidents, such as attacks on Jewish people, property, community institutions, and religious facilities. Other governments, international institutions, and nongovernmental groups have documented similar trends, including the United Kingdom Parliament, the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), and the NGO Human Rights First.
Reinforcing these findings, in 2006 Tel Aviv University’s Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism, which produces the most comprehensive, global statistical analysis of anti-Semitic incidents, saw the highest number of physical, verbal, and visual manifestations of reported anti-Semitism since 2000.
Nowhere is anti-Semitism more prevalent than in the Arab and Muslim world, where anti-Semitic themes are transmitted and disseminated to the population at large by means of school textbooks, the mass media, and the fiery sermons of clerics who openly call for genocide against the Jews. Islam's historical enmity toward Jews was exacerbated by the creation of Israel in 1948 -- an event that became widely known in the Arab world as Al Nakba, "The Catastrophe." From the creation of Israel, historical Islamic anti-Semitism was highlighted by campaigns aimed at dismantling the State of Israel as a political and geographical entity. Muslim anti-Semitism has also found expression in the agendas of terrorist groups such as Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and Hamas, which are dedicated to the destruction of Israel and the mass murder of Jews -- and which have carried out thousands of violent attacks against Jewish civilians.
Iran is a particular hotbed of Islamic anti-Semitism. Under the leadership of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran has promoted Holocaust denial to a greater degree than any other country. In a December 2005 declaration on live Iranian television, Ahmadinejad described the Holocaust as a “fairy tale” that had been invented in an effort to justify Israel's existence. At a December 2006 Holocaust-denial conference sponsored by the Iranian Foreign Ministry, the nation's Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, revealed his government's underlying motives: “If the official version of the Holocaust is thrown into doubt, then the identity and nature of Israel will be thrown into doubt.”
The Syrian government, likewise, routinely demonizes Jews through public statements and official propaganda. On Hezbollah’s Al Manar television station, for instance, a program entitled Al-Shattat, or Diaspora, is replete with anti-Semitic themes. One episode in particular graphically depicts a Christian child being ritually murdered by Jews who discuss their plans to use his blood as an ingredient for making matzoh.
Similarly, in Bahrain in June 2002, the independent newspaper Al-Wasat published a cartoon depicting a Jewish man impaling a swaddled infant on a spear, furthering the anti-Semitic blood libel that Jews kill children.
In Saudi Arabia, there are television programs based on the infamous forgery Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, which puts forth the notion of a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world. In addition, Saudi schoolbooks present the Protocols as an authentic document.
Traditional anti-Semitism is widespread also in Russia and Central and Eastern Europe. In the Eastern European country of Belarus, state enterprises freely produce and distribute anti-Semitic material.
The Interregional Academy of Personnel Management, a private institution in Ukraine commonly known by the acronym MAUP, is one of the most persistent anti-Semitic institutions in Eastern Europe. In Poland, the conservative radio station Radio Maryja is one of Europe’s most blatantly anti-Semitic media venues.
Anti-Semitism has experienced a rebirth in pockets of Western Europe as well, particularly as Western elites stigmatize Israel and become partisans of the Palestinians. In France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere, violence against Jews has become a significant concern.
In a 2007 opinion poll, citizens of various European countries were asked whether or not they agreed with two specific statements: (1) "Jews have too much power in the business world,” and (2) “Jews have too much power in international financial markets.” Respondents in Austria expressed agreement with those assertions at rates of 37% and 43%, respectively. In Belgium, the corresponding figures were 36% and 40%; in France, 28% and 28%; in Germany, 21% and 25%; in Hungary, 60% and 61%; in Italy, 42% and 42%; in Poland, 49% and 54%; in Spain, 53% and 68%; and in Switzerland, 41% and 40%.
Contemporary anti-Semitism in the West is particularly prominent among the well-educated elite on university campuses in the U.S. and Europe. Its standard-bearers are professors who support, and sometimes lead, “divestment” and boycott campaigns directed against Israel. In a few extreme cases, their hatred for Israel is combined with a tolerance of Islamic terrorists, American and European Neo-Nazis, and even Holocaust deniers.
In recent years, increases in reported anti-Semitic incidents have also been reported in Argentina, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa.
In Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez has publicly demonized Israel and has promoted stereotypes about Jewish financial influence and control, while Venezuela’s government-sponsored mass media have become vehicles for anti-Semitic discourse.
Adapted, in part, from "Contemporary Global Anti-Semitism: A Report Provided to the United States Congress," by the U.S. Department of State (2008).