Antisemitism surges worldwide in wake of Gaza campaign

Written by on May 18, 2021

Antisemitic incidents in the US, UK, Canada and beyond have spiked significantly since the beginning of the IDF’s military campaign in Gaza last week. 

According to the Community Security Trust, the communal Jewish security organization in the UK, there were 86 antisemitic incidents from May 8 to May 17, compared to just 16 incidents in the ten days prior. 

In one shocking incident on Sunday, a convoy of some six private vehicles bearing Palestinian flags drove through the St John’s Wood neighborhood in north London on Sunday with one individual shouting from a loudspeaker in one of the cars “F**k the Jews,”  “F**k their daughters,” “F**k their mothers,” “Rape their daughters,” and “Free Palestine.”


“F**k the Jews” “F**k their daughters” “F**k their mothers” “Rape their daughters”

“Free Palestine”

Finchley Road, London, this afternoon!@CST_UK

— SussexFriendsofIsrael (@SussexFriends) May 16, 2021

A video of the incident was widely circulated on social media. 

Following the incident, the Metropolitan Police announced Sunday evening that the car had been tracked by a police helicopter and stopped, and four men arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated public order offences.

They were taken into custody and released on bail on Tuesday, but are also under suspicion for a similar incident in Manchester which took place late on Saturday night. 

The incident evoked outrage in the UK, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Leader of the Opposition Sir Keir Starmer, and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan all condemning the occurrence.

“There is no place for antisemitism in our society,” Johnson tweeted on Sunday afternoon.

“Ahead of Shavuot, I stand with Britain’s Jews who should not have to endure the type of shameful racism we have seen today.”

Starmer described the incident as “Utterly disgusting,” adding “Antisemitism, misogyny and hate have no place on our streets or in our society. There must be consequences.”

Khan tweeted “Hate crimes are inexcusable and have no place in our city. I’ve been in touch with the Met Police Commissioner about the appalling reports of antisemitic attacks this weekend.”

In the US, numerous antisemitic incidents have been reported by the Anti-Defamation League in recent days against the background of the IDF’s Operation Guardian of the Walls, including numerous comparisons of Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.

The working definition of antisemitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance specifically defines such comparisons as antisemitic. 

At anti-Israel protests in San Francisco and Boston on Saturday, participants held signs alleging that Israeli is committing a “Holocaust” against the Palestinians, while in Austin, Texas, a protester carried a sign that showed a swastika superimposed over the Star of David on the Israeli flag.

In Dearborn, Michigan, a sign was spotted in the crowd that read, “It wasn’t okay in Nazi Germany — Why is it okay in Palestine.”

On May 16, a group of about twenty pro-Palestinian demonstrators chanted “Intifada!” and “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” across the street from the Temple Beth Israel synagogue in Skokie, Illinois. 

“Targeting a Jewish religious institution with anti-Israel activism is a form of antisemitic intimidation,” noted ADL. 

And the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs in Canada expressed “grave concern” over “the wave of violence and antisemitism impacting communities across Canada,” which it said is connected to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. 

It noted that pro-Palestinian protestors assaulted pro-Israel counter demonstrators at a rally in Toronto on Saturday and comparisons made between Israel and Nazi Germany, including placards equating the Nazi swastika with the Israeli flag. 

Mayor of Toronto John Tory said on Twitter that “Hate, anti-Semitism and violence have no place in our city,” adding “Any violence against our city’s Jewish community or members of any other community in Toronto is absolutely unacceptable.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted following the violent demonstrations that “Everyone has the right to assemble peacefully and express themselves freely in Canada — but we cannot and will not tolerate antisemitism, Islamophobia, or hate of any kind,” adding “We strongly condemn the despicable rhetoric and violence we saw on display in some protests this weekend.”

CIJA also pointed to a disturbing video on TikTok made by a student at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario in which she appeared to endorse stabbing attacks on Israelis, burnt an image of an Israeli flag, and showed an Israeli flag drawn on toilet paper. 

.@Laurier student posts a horrific TikTok video glorifying stabbing people in Israel, comparing them to toilet paper and garbage.

This type of incitement for violence & antisemitism must be investigated @LaurierPres – your Jewish students deserve to feel safe at your school.

— (@StopAntisemites) May 14, 2021

A spokesman for the university said it was “ following up on this situation and will take the appropriate action.”

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