Czech Federation of Jewish Communities logged 347 antisemitic incidents last year, police addressed 15
Last year the Federation of Jewish Communities (Federace židovských obcí -FŽO) in the Czech Republic recorded a total of 347 antisemitic incidents, an increase compared to previous years, and according to the group's annual report, published on 4 July, the growth in anti-Jewish sentiment is especially apparent on the Internet even as cases of antisemitic discrimination and physical violence continue to be rare. There were two such physical assaults logged by the Federation for last year, although they also say victims frequently do not report incidents to anybody.
While in 2009 the FŽO tracked 28 antisemitic incidents, in 2013 there were 169 and in 2015, 221. According to the organization, the number of anonymous, antisemitic online commentaries, as well as antisemitic articles, online discussion contributions and social media posts, has long been increasing.
"Antisemitic hate speech on the Internet comprises almost 93 % of all the incidents logged," the Federation said of its own statistics for last year. The online posts, according to the FŽO, traditionally appear on websites that are either anti-liberal or extreme-right.
"A distinct ideological base of operations for the dissemination of antisemitic texts in the Czech Republic in 2018 were the online disinformation platforms, frequently pro-Kremlin ones, from which came more than 36 % of all the incidents we recorded," the Federation pointed out. That material was dominated by deceptive, stereotypical, and/or vulgar allegations about Jewish people, according to the report.
"Conspiracy theories about the myth of global Jewry and its alleged control over the economy, governments, the media and other public institutions are very frequently disseminated," the FŽO warned. Most of the incidents were logged by the Federation in May 2018, when Czech-language antisemitism spiked in association with the news that the Embassy of the USA would be moving to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv and in association with news of the subsequent unrest in the Gaza Strip.
"However, the Czech Republic also remains a safe country for the Jewish community in comparison to other states in the Central European region and Western Europe," the Federation stated. According to the organization, physically violent antisemitic incidents are continuing to happen as one-off occurrences, and both of the physically violent attacks happened in Prague last year.
In April 2018 a new employer physically assaulted and vulgarly insulted a hotel employee because of his assumed origin. In August 2018 a taxi driver physically attacked a foreign national wearing a yarmulke, according to the FŽO.
The group also recorded three cases of Jewish property being desecrated with antisemitic graffiti or symbols, and nine incidents in the category of harassment, threats, or insults made against a specific individual because of his or her actual or perceived Jewishness. As for the Czech Interior Ministry, their reports state that police last year addressed just 15 crimes with an antisemitic subtext, 12 fewer than in 2017.
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