29 per cent increase in anti-Semitic incidents recorded

The Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic recorded 1128 incidents of anti-Semitism last year, which is 254 more or a 29 percent increase on the previous year, the federation stated at a press conference on Wednesday. Most of the incidents centred around Internet hate speech such as articles, social media posts, anonymous comments and discussion posts, comprising 98 per cent of all recorded incidents. The organisation described the increase as a worrying trend. Federation president Petr Papoušek blamed the rise in anti-Semitic incidents on the overall atmosphere in society, which he says was significantly affected by the covid-19 pandemic.

The recorded incidents included threats of or calls for physical aggression, although only one actual physical assault was recorded. Cases of anti-Semitic violence are still quite rare in the Czech Republic, but the federation warned that an analysis of foreign violent anti-Semitic attacks and the profile of their perpetrators showed that acts of violence are almost always preceded by radicalization and hate speech on the Internet. However, it stressed that overall the Czech Republic is a safe country for the Jewish community, especially in comparison with other Central and Western European countries.

The Ministries of the Interior and Foreign Affairs are currently working on a national strategy to combat anti-Semitism and according to Veronika Roubíček Šternová from the Security Policy Department of the Ministry of the Interior, the Czech Republic will also address this issue during its forthcoming EU Presidency.

Author: Anna Fodor