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July 21, 2014

Hate on Display: Anti-Semitism in Anti-Israel Demonstrations Across Europe

Jews attacked. Synagogues targeted. Israel demonized. These patterns of anti-Semitism were seen at many anti-Israel demonstrations around Europe this past weekend.

On Friday, a protestor in Berlin attacked an Israeli man wearing a kippah, who happened to be passing the demonstration route. The same day in Lyon, France, a protester hit a Jewish teenager in the head while yelling, “I want to kill all the Jews.” He was arrested on the spot by police. The same murderous intent was reportedly expressed in Zurich, where demonstrators chanted, “Jews into the sea!”

On Friday, in Essen, Germany, anti-Israel protesters broke off from a demonstration and headed towards a synagogue, clearly intending to attack it.   Police stopped them, arrested fourteen, and charged them with conspiracy to commit a crime.

On Saturday, in Sarcelles, France, anti-Israel protesters threw a Molotov cocktail in the direction of a synagogue, but police had kept them far enough away that the firebomb did no damage. Protesters did manage, however, to burn a kosher supermarket to the ground. The same store had been attacked with an improvised grenade in 2012.

Syn­a­gogue in Ver­celli, Italy

Syn­a­gogue in Ver­celli, Italy

Synagogues in Italy and France were also targeted with anti-Israel banners. “Stop Bombing Gaza. Israel Assassins. Free Palestine” was hung on the synagogue in Vercelli, Italy, on July 18, and an “Israel Assassins” banner was placed on a synagogue in Lyon the next day.

While these banners would not be considered anti-Semitic at a demonstration, they are anti-Semitic when targeting the local Jewish community.

Comparing Israel to the Nazis is also anti-Semitic and prevalent at anti-Israel demonstrations. On Friday, “Israel=Hitler” signs were held up in Brussels. In London, it was “Well Done Israel, Hitler would be Proud.” And in Dublin, Prime Minister Netanyahu is depicted as Hitler on a sign, “Wanted: Zio Nazi”.

On Sunday in Amsterdam, one protester took demonization quite literally: “Stop Sionist [sic] Demons in Gaza.”

 

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