Attacks on Jews worldwide 'worst since Nazi Germany'

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The Independent Online

Jewish leaders are asking the United Nations to condemn a recent wave of anti-Semitic attacks around the world which, they say, have reached levels unprecedented since the rampages of Nazi thugs against Jews in Germany in 1938.

Jewish leaders are asking the United Nations to condemn a recent wave of anti-Semitic attacks around the world which, they say, have reached levels unprecedented since the rampages of Nazi thugs against Jews in Germany in 1938.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles has presented Kofi Annan, the UN secretary-general, with a catalogue of 200 anti-Semitic incidents that have occurred in scores of countries since violence returned to the Middle East at the end of September, including in Britain.

The organisation, which keeps memories of the Holocaust alive to help eliminate anti-Semitic sentiments more than half a century later, was also highly critical of the UN for failing to recognise the attacks. It stopped barely short of suggesting that the UN itself had inadvertently encouraged them.

"There has been nothing but total silence on the unprecedented anti-Semitic attacks," commented the founder of the Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi Marvin Hier, after handing the list of incidents to Mr Annan in New York on Thursday night.

"We don't believe there has ever been, except going back to 1938 to Kristallnacht, as many synagogues desecrated and attacked in such a short time."

Most of the incidents, ranging from the scrawling of graffiti to the stoning of worshippers and the distribution of leaflets urging Muslims to kill Jews, have happened in France, the Center said. But they have also been seen in Britain, Canada, the US, Germany, Russia, Brazil, Italy, Spain and elsewhere. According to the list 93 synagogues in different countries have been vandalised since 28 September.

A synagogue was broken into in Efrat on the West Bank yesterday by vandals who daubed walls with swastikas and anti-Semitic slurs in Arab, police in Jerusalem said last night. "This is the first time such a thing has happened," said the mayor of Efrat, Eitan Golan.

Rabbi Hier noted that the worst of the attacks had broken out after the UN Security Council responded to the worst of the violence in the West Bank by condemning Israel.

Many Jewish leaders consider the UN to be biased towards Palestinian interests while being unwilling to speak up for Jews when they are threatened. The UN Charter, Rabbi Hier said, demanded that it speak for both sides.

Mr Annan, however, has been striving to end Israel's comparative isolation within the UN. His efforts appeared to have paid off when he was invited to the region recently to help mediate between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

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