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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Anti-semitism up, violent incidents down in 2011

A great example of spin in three different headlines for the same topic.

Ha'aretz:

Report: Anti-Semitic incidents down 27 percent in 2011


Arutz-7:

Anti-Semitic Incitement and Harassment Up in 2011


YNet:

'Hate crimes against Jews becoming more brutal'


So, which  is it? 

As of this writing, the report is not available on the website of the Kantor Center that did the study, but Arutz-7 seems to have copied the executive summary, so that is the best we can do for now:
The Kantor Center's Program for Study of Anti-Semitism and Racism at Tel Aviv University released their 2011 Anti-Semitism Report on Wednesday.

The report noted both a "continuation and even escalation of harassment and incitement" and a "considerable decline in major violent incidents world wide" targeting Jews during 2011.

"The year 2011 marked a worldwide continuation and even escalation of acts of harassment and incitement, including verbal threats, insults and abusive language and behavior. Such acts have increased dramatically in recent years in various parts of the world, yet the most troubling phenomenon is in-your-face harassment, a daily occurrence, especially in western Europe, as well as in Australia and Canada, mainly against visible Jews, in the street, in public places and in the vicinity of Jewish sites, and against children and youth in schools. These acts are not fully reported due to the lack of proper monitoring in some countries, and cannot be counted," the report summary read.

"The level of major violent incidents (with or without the use of weapons, vandalism and direct threats) decreased in 2011 by 27% compared to 2010 (446 and 614, respectively – the US is only partly included). The decline in the UK (105 cases), France (114) and Canada (68), where 63% of all major violent incidents worldwide were registered, and where large Jewish communities reside, had an impact on the overall statistics. In other countries, such as Australia, Belgium, Ukraine the numbers of these incidents remained almost the same, , and in others such as Lithuania and Belarus it even increased. Still, statistical data shows that physical violence remained on a high level compared to former years, and that attacks turned more brutal and harmful.

"The reasons for the decline in the number of major violent incidents are not clear cut: they may include the absence of a major confrontation between Israelis and Palestinians, such as Operation Cast Lead in 2009 and the Marmara flotilla in 2010, which had sparked violent action against Jews; the fact that much of the far right violent activity was directed in 2011 against Muslim, Roma and other immigrant minorities; the "Arab Spring" which perhaps attracted much attention among Muslim youth in Europe; the growing number of complaints and litigations successfully filed by Jewish individuals and organizations against perpetrators and inciters; and the intensified efforts of Governmental agencies and NGOs to promote legislative and public tools against racism, anti-Semitism included.

"Reasons for the continuing high level of harassment and incitement may include: radicalization among young Muslims mostly from immigrant families and growing acceptance of anti-Semitic allegations; escalated animosity among militant extreme rightists whose activity intensified probably because of the economic crisis and the problems posed by multiculturalism; the growing use of the cyberspace, with its websites, blogs and social networks, which readily disseminates anti-Semitic messages, and anti-Zionist and anti-Israeli incitement often expressed in anti-Semitic terms. These messages are loudly heard in university and college campuses as well as in mosques, and are carried by the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanction) campaigners; and the atmosphere created by the radical left's rhetoric and by expressions and accusations used and leveled in the mainstream discourse.

"The main allegations against the Jewish communities and Israel, perceived as a Jewish state, continue to be the holding of global power, including control over world economy, and constant conspiring according to Israel's interests, thus being responsible for economic and political crises, including incitement for and against the revolutions in the Arab world. These allegations are coupled with the labeling of Israel as a racist, Nazi-like illegitimate state, and its supporters as accomplices to an evil entity," the summary concluded.

It looks like Ha'aretz' headline is the least accurate because only violent incidents have decreased, not all incidents.

When the report is available we can see if there is anything interesting that the news media is missing.