Sunday, April 23, 2017

Austria: Anti-Semitic incidents reach new record in 2016

Via Israel Hayom:
A record number of anti-Semitic incidents, ranging from verbal and online threats to physical assaults, was recorded in Austria last year, a non-governmental organization said in a report published on Thursday.

The number of cases rose to 477 in 2016 from 465 in 2015, when it jumped by about 200 from 2014, the Forum Against Anti-Semitism said.

The report follows a finding by Austria's BVT domestic intelligence service indicating that in 2016 incidents of xenophobia, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism were on the rise in Austria. The small country has been swept up in Europe's migration crisis and the refugee influx has become a hot-button issue.

"It is of course alarming. We now have two consecutive years at a record level," said Oskar Deutsch, president of the Jewish Community of Vienna (IKG).

Deutsch said Austria's Jewish community numbers 13,000 to 15,000 people in an overall population of 8.8 million.

Growing concerns about jobs and security, often in connection with immigration, have fueled growing support for the far-right Freedom party, which was founded by former Nazis. It is now running first in opinion polls.

The Freedom party is strongly critical of Islam and denounces anti-Semitism, but its efforts to court Jewish voters have shown few signs of success. The IKG, the main body representing Austrian Jews, says the party is still xenophobic.

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