Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry

Antisemitism Worldwide 2018 Report is Released

Wednesday, 1 May, 2019


The most disturbing finding identified in 2018, is the sense of insecurity prevalent among Jews and confirmed by surveys. They do not feel an integral part of society anymore and sometimes they even sense a state of emergency. Antisemitism is mainstreaming, even normalized as a constant presence, in the public as well as in the private sphere. A rise of 13% in the number of major violent antisemitic incidents was registered; 13 Jews were murdered.


  • The year 2018 and the beginning of 2019 witnessed an increase in almost all forms of antisemitic manifestations, in the public space as well as in the private one. A sense of facing a state of emergency situation is increasing among Jews in some countries; physical insecurity and questioning their place in society and in the parties that were their political home are more prevalent. The calls "Jews to the gas" and death to the Zionists" are openly and publicly voiced. 13 Jews were murdered during 2018, the largest number compared to previous years.


  • The number of the major violent cases monitored by the Kantor Center team has increased by 13%, from 342 to 387. The countries with the highest number of cases are the US (over 100 cases); the UK (68); France and Germany (35 each); Canada (20); Belgium (19) the Netherlands (15); and Argentina (11). It should be noted that the numbers of reported cases in Eastern Europe have been much lower in comparison to Western Europe, going down from 12 cases in the Ukraine in 2018 to a few in each of the other countries.


  • The main modus operandi remain cases of vandalism (216, 56%); threats (89, 23%); and weaponless means (55, 14%).These numbers show that while the use of weapon and arson is in lower numbers, most of the attacks are against people. Indeed, at least 138 people were attacked (36%) and private property was damaged (104 cases, 27%). The reason is that persons and their property are less protected than synagogues (47 cases, 12%) and community centers (22, 6%). Cemeteries and monuments are still a traditional target (76 cases, 19%).


Numbers pinpointed by the Jewish communities and governmental and non-governmental agencies are monitored according to different criteria that vary from one country to another. They most often include all types of cases, from the major violent ones, to harassment, insults, minor threats, verbal assaults, Holocaust denial and social media shaming. It should be noted that insults and harassment hurt more than the actual violence, for they create the antisemitic atmosphere.


A few examples: In Italy 197 cases of all types were registered, a 60% increase; in South Africa – 62 incidents, a rise of 25%; in the UK – 1652 documented incidents, a rise of 16; in France - 541 incidents from 311 in 2017, a 74% rise; in Australia – 366 cases, a rise of 59%. A 22% rise was recorded in New York as well, and 14% in Berlin. In the US the overall number declined from1986 to 1879, yet the number of assaults almost tripled, from 21 to 59.


Antisemitism is no longer only a part of the activities of the triangle, made of the far right, the extreme left and radical Islam. It has mainstreamed, and became a constant presence of reality. A Report of the French Ministry of the Interior and the Jewish community depicts antisemitism in France during 2018 as a daily occurrence. The anti-Zionist discourse has mainstreamed as well and the use of antisemitic motifs has increased, with no specific trigger, and despite the fact that no military confrontation took place between Israel and its neighbors since 2014.


A host of wide-scope surveys confirm the Jews’ perceptions and fears regarding antisemitism: The FRA (Fundamental Rights Agency) interviewed 16,500 Jews in 12 countries; CNN conducted 7,000 interviews among the general population; and the Eurobarometer interviewed 23,640 people in 28 countries. All reached the same conclusion. 85% of the FRA interviewees regard antisemitism as the most severe problem, yet do not report on some 75% to 80% of the cases they faced. CNN found that 40% see Jews as threatened by racist violence, and 89% of those interviewed by the Eurobarometer believe antisemitism has recently increased. A 16% rise in private space incidents was registered in the US.


Still, a number of encouraging achievements have been reached during 2018. Antisemitism has been recognized by governments, multi-national organizations and leaders as a serious problem, to be seriously taken care of: conferences and seminars to discuss the problem had been held and publicized; and publications and educational material have been prepared for further education and discussion. The Working Definition of Antisemitism has become a yard-stick, a test of values and norms, and is increasingly adopted by more states. A catalogue of means to combat antisemitism was presented to the European Union, that declared its commitment to develop.

The full report can be read online or downloaded as a PDF file by pressing the following link or on the picture  of the cover page below.