Austria witnesses surge in anti-Semitic incidents

The two main reasons for this unprecedented surge are the current tensions in Israel, as well as the spread of conspiracy theories among COVID-19 protesters as over a quarter of the cases are related to some kind of coronavirus conspiracy, the IKG has said. [Shutterstock/AndriiKoval]

Over 560 anti-Semitic incidences were reported in the first half of 2021, which is the highest number ever to be reported and almost twice as much as last year’s figure, according to the Jewish Religious Community (IKG).

The two main reasons for this unprecedented surge are the current tensions in Israel, as well as the spread of conspiracy theories among COVID-19 protesters as over a quarter of the cases are related to some kind of coronavirus conspiracy, the IKG has said.

“The pandemic has led to a radicalisation at the margins of society,” Interior Minister Karl Nehammer told Der Standard.

“Since the start of the pandemic, crude conspiracy theories are frequently merging with anti-Semitic attitudes and manifests themselves in antidemocratic behaviour,” Nehammer added.

To tackle the problem, the Austrian government has initiated several projects to fight anti-Semitism and has established a grant of more than €700,000 for the security of the Jewish community.

The government also passed a national anti-Semitism strategy earlier this year, which proposed several measures. Some of the proposed measures, like the establishment of a Centre for Antisemitism Research, have already been implemented.

(Oliver Noyan | EURACTIV.de)

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