Anti-Jewish Attacks On The Rise

December 6, 2000

Source: The Boston Globe

On December 6, 2000, The Boston Globe reported that "the Palestinian-Israeli battles that have convulsed the Middle East since late September have sparked the most intense wave of assaults on Jews and Jewish institutions worldwide since World War II, Jewish leaders say. In France, more than 50 synagogues have been attacked, some more than once, according to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, one of several organizations monitoring the events. Most assaults were fire bombings, but there also have been numerous stonings, targeting students and worshipers as well as buildings. In Germany and Britain, synagogues have been stoned and others hit with Molotov cocktails. The Al Mujahiroun Muslim group widely distributed leaflets and posters in London, Manchester, and Birmingham declaring that 'the final hour' for establishment of God's kingdom on earth 'will not come until the Muslims kill the Jews.'...Fewer incidents have occurred in the United States and Canada, but Molotov cocktails have been thrown or fires set in more than a dozen North American cities...Stone-throwers, graffiti-scrawlers, and attackers of individual Jews have made clear they believe any Jew is a fair target of retribution for Israel's attempts to suppress Palestinian rioters and demonstrators...Elan Steinberg, executive director of the World Jewish Congress, said the outbreaks 'underscore the anti-Jewish, rather than anti-Israeli, character of the violence being directed by Palestinian figures in the Middle East.' Steinberg said this is particularly disturbing to Jews, in Israel and elsewhere, who have advocated a political solution to the Mideast dispute...Rabbi Marvin Hier, head of the Wiesenthal Center, criticized Palestinian leaders for complaining that the Israeli Army is firing on civilians while 'Jewish schools, community centers, and synagogues are under attack all over the world' by Palestinians and their supporters...Many Muslims condemn the violence against Jews and Jewish institutions but say it is understandable. 'We don't approve of this,' said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations. 'We don't like for a synagogue to be attacked with a firebomb any more than a mosque. But whenever you have this level of conflict and violence, it is not just going to be just localized.' Hooper agreed the conflict is now far more focused on religion than in the past, but unlike Jewish leaders who said considerations of race and religion were an overlay on a basically political situation, he felt religion is the core issue...Many Jewish leaders said they are concerned about the apparent indifference of most countries to the attacks on Jews and synagogues at the same time that their representatives in the United Nations are supporting resolutions sharply critical of Israel's response to Palestinian protests."