February 26, 2001
The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) is greatly concerned by the spate of anti-Semitic incidents, which appear to be related to Israel-Palestinian tensions.
Immediately after the outbreak of Palestinian violence in late September 2000, those apparently seeking to protest Israeli policy targeted a number of Jewish institutions around the world. Incidents were documented in the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Spain, Belgium, Australia, and other countries. In addition, in a number of anti-Israel demonstrations around the world, placards were displayed with anti-Semitic statements, including those equating Israel with Nazism and those calling for the destruction of Israel. Anti-Semitic incidents diminished significantly after the first few weeks of Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
We are encouraged that in most of the countries in which these incidents occurred, law enforcement stepped up protection of Jewish institutions, and government and community leaders spoke up against the anti-Jewish violence.
In future periods of tension and conflict, we urge government and community leaders to make it clear that they will not tolerate violent attacks against Jewish institutions. Furthermore, we hope that community leaders will make it clear that disagreements over the situation in the Middle East, however passionate, must be expressed with civilized speech and behavior.
In addition, in the Middle East itself, incendiary anti-Semitic articles continued to appear in the Arab media. Articles alleging Jewish conspiracies and perpetuating other anti-Semitic canards appeared in Egypt, Israel’s oldest peace partner, as well as in other countries in the region. In the Palestinian Authority itself, anti-Semitic statements were often included in incendiary anti-Israel declarations.
Anti-Semitism in the Arab world has long been a concern to those in the Jewish community supportive of Arab-Israeli reconciliation. Clearly, when such anti-Jewish biases and prejudices are not addressed and corrected, these sentiments dangerously intensify during times of tension. We call on the Palestinian Authority, Egypt and Jordan to live up to their commitments to eradicate anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement in the media and in the classroom, and begin to seriously educate their populations – children and adults – on Jews, Israel, tolerance and non-violence.