2014 was a “year of unprecedented explosions of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel hatred,” Jewish advocacy group The Simon Wiesenthal Center declared, as it announced its list of the ten worst anti-Semitic and anti-Israel incidents over the last twelve months.
In a telling sign of the degree to which anti-Semitism presents a threat in Europe, the majority of the incidents described took place in European countries ranging from Belgium to Hungary.
At the top of the list is the shocking story of a doctor in the Belgian city of Antwerp who refused to treat a 90 year-old Jewish woman who’d broken a rib. “Send her to Gaza for a few hours, then she will not feel pain anymore,” the doctor told the lady’s grandson, Hershy Taffel, who later filed a discrimination complaint with the police, when he sought assistance for his grandmother on August 1. “It reminds me of what happened in Europe 70 years ago,” Taffel told the Joods Actueel newspaper. “I never thought those days would once again be repeated.”
The Wiesenthal Center also noted that Belgium was the site of the deadliest attack on a Jewish target this year, when a terrorist murdered four people during a gun attack at the Jewish Museum in Brussels in May.
Next on the list is the decision of the Jordanian parliament to hold a moment of silence for the Palestinian murderers of four worshippers and a Druze policeman one day after their November 19 attack on a synagogue in Jerusalem’s Har Nof neighborhood. “I ask God to envelop them with mercy and to grant you with patience, comfort and recovery from your grief…” wrote Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour to the families of the terrorists.
In third place was the invasion of a Jewish home in the Paris suburb of Creteil at the beginning of December. “Tell us where you hide the money, you Jews always have money,” one of the assailants demanded of the young man in the house before they tied up and raped his girlfriend. In his condemnation of the attack, French President Francois Hollande commented that the assault targeted “the greatness of France that finds itself wounded, damaged.”
Fourth place is given over to the infamous “Toiletgate” scandal in Germany, involving the popular leader of the Left Party, Gregor Gysi, the American anti-Semitic propagandist Max Blumenthal, and an obscure, Israel-based ‘filmmaker’ David Sheen. Both Blumenthal and Sheen had been scheduled to give a talk at the German parliament under the auspices of the party when Gysi, alerted to Blumenthal’s demonizing of Israel as the reincarnation of Nazi Germany, elected to cancel the event. After he was spotted in a corridor by Blumenthal and Sheen, Gysi was chased into a bathroom by the two activists, both of whom were ranting hysterically, and forced to lock the door for his own safety.
“By stoking obsessive hatred of and demonizing Israel, members of our party in positions of responsibility are promoting anti-Semitic patterns of argument and a relativization of the Holocaust and the German responsibility for the extermination of millions of European Jews,”said a group of Left Party parliamentarians in a statement explaining why the event was pulled. Blumenthal and Sheen are now banned for life from the German parliament because of their violent behavior.
Other incidents listed by the Wiesenthal Center include
- the demand by the leader of the extreme right-wing Sweden Democrats, Björn Söder, that Jews must give up their Jewish identity in order to be considered full Swedes,
- the hanging of effigies of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres by the anti-Semitic mayor of Erpatek in Hungary, and
- the growing support for the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement in U.S. academic circles.
In addition, the Center said, 2014 was “a year of unending genocidal threats against the Jewish state from
- a nuclearizing Mullahocracy in Iran and
- continuing efforts in Europe to criminalize age-old Judaic practices of Shechita (Kosher slaughter) and Brit Milah (ritual circumcision.)”