(PDF version)

SICSA-- The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism - The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
ACTA--ANALYSIS OF CURRENT TRENDS IN ANTISEMITISM: A special research unit of SICSA


Acta No. 2, Jerusalem: Sicsa, 1993


Cyclical Patterns in Antisemitism: The Dynamics of Anti-Jewish Violencein Western Countries since the 1950s
by

Simon Epstein

Copyright  ©1993, Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism. All rights reserved

Abstract

Anti-Jewish incidents, as recorded by various institutes and monitoring agencies in Western countries, appear to follow cyclical and universal patterns on the axis of time. A dynamic analysis permits identification of peaks and ebbs in the phenomenon.

This article suggests possible explanations for the recorded waves of antisemitic incidents.

Introduction

The destruction of Jewish graves in Carpentras, France in 1990, and the German riots in 1992 have leapt into public awareness, and provoked vehement reactions. These major events fit into a larger pattern, difficult to define inasmuch as its contours are sometimes vague -- a series of synagogue and cemetery desecrations, hostile daubings, threatening letters, and other aggressive actions recorded in Jewish communities all over the world. In Jewish journals, and among community leaders and organizations for defense against antisemitism this is regarded with either indifference or anxiety. Viewed separately, such incidents are not, as a rule, very grave, but they reveal a pattern of hostility toward Jews which is significant and certainly deserves analysis.

This paper is an attempt to reconstruct the recent history of this phenomenon and to trace its fluctuations of intensity over the past thirty years.In the first part the cycles of incidents will be examined, while in the second, an attempt will be made to interpret the cyclical pattern of the phenomenon thus revealed.1

 

I. The Cycles

Three principle waves of anti-Jewish incidents have been recorded in the West since the end of the 1950s.2

The Swastika Epidemic (1959-1960)

This first wave, which came to be dubbed the "swastika epidemic" was observed in Western Europe, the United States, and Latin America. It started with the desecration of a synagogue in Cologne on December 25, 1959 by two young Germans who were promptly apprehended and severely punished. Some 685 incidents were recorded in Germany, and over 600 in the United States. All told, nearly 2,500 incidents were recorded in 400 localities throughout the world. Most of them occurred in January or February 1960, and consisted of cemetery and synagogue desecrations and graffiti. Cases of a graver character, such as assaults on Jews and arson were rare, but some were also reported. This wave, which erupted unexpectedly, was of a universal character and spectacularly widespread.3

There was a strong reaction in worldwide Jewish communities, in Israel, and in the world press. Jewish organizations staged numerous protest rallies where ardent rhetoric of the "Never again!" variety were heard. A wealth of articles appeared demanding new means of struggling against antisemitism, yet offering the classical solutions which had been advocated as far back as the end of the nineteenth century and throughout the 1920s and 1930s: legal action, education, diverse kinds of counter-propaganda, and so forth. Public figures and heads of government expressed their indignation. Chancellor Adenauer of Germany, for example, urged his compatriots to give a "good beating" to the young vandals caught in the process of daubing anti-Jewish slogans. Tens of thousands of people took part in a march organized in Berlin on January 8, 1960. The matter was also brought before the UN which investigated and unanimously condemned such actions.

The first explanation that emerged right after the events attributed the worldwide phenomenon to a ramified, omnipresent, and clandestine "Nazi International". Laying the blame on organized Nazism could account for the simultaneous and universal character of the desecrations, and could then enable Jewish organizations to demand law-enforcement action against neo-Nazis. Other hypotheses posited various ideological origins for the anti-Jewish acts, although these remained marginal in comparison to the prevailing virulent public denunciations of an assumed underground Nazi network. Thus, West Germany accused East Germany and other communist countries of launching anti-Jewish agitation in order to impinge on its diplomatic prestige. A few Zionist groups blamed Nasser and the Arab states, while some anti-Zionists blamed Israeli agents and Zionist organizations of perpetrating the acts in order to accelerate the immigration of Jews to Israel. The idea that Jews themselves were desecrating their synagogues could be found in some antisemitic writings of the period.

Annoyingly, police reports in various countries, followed by serious studies, failed to confirm the existence of any international Nazi plot. Investigations concluded that the desecrations were perpetrated by young men-- often very young --  acting alone or as members of small gangs. They themselves chose their targets (synagogues or cemeteries), their methods of action (always very primitive), and the signs to mark their presence (a swastika, an anti-Jewish slogan, or both). Their actions were not generated by some satanic plan, but were spontaneous. The swastika epidemic proved to be the result of a multitude of local initiatives. There was no conscious operational coordination nor global planning.

A second series of interpretations then arose which attempted to take into account the epidemic's sociological, rather than political, character, claiming that propagation by imitation was at work. Having learned that a synagogue in Germany had been desecrated, youths in Antwerp or Paris, in California or New York, would spontaneously decide to daub hostile slogans on the synagogue in their own neighborhood. Thus, the media's emphatic reaction to the acts could be held responsible for the rapid spread from city to city and country to country.4

This second approach, which led to a "denazification" and hence to a relative de-dramatization of the epidemic, still left many crucial questions unanswered. There has never been any proof that every youth that took part in a desecration did so only after learning that this had been done in other regions or countries. It is also unclear why the propagation was so swift and why youths in Stockholm or Buenos Aires would suddenly decide to draw a swastika on a Jewish building. The wave's two principle traits -- its universality and its unexpected onset -- still have no adequate explanation.

The factors that triggered the swastika epidemic remain a mystery, but not a single observer at the time questioned its anti-Jewish character. Both the Nazi conspiracy, and the spontaneous imitation hypotheses saw the wave as an alarming signal of renewed anti-Jewish activities. All voiced a certain anxiety and urged redoubled vigilance.

 

Some Intermediary Jolts

The crisis proper (end of 1959-beginning of 1960) was preceded by an increase in the number of anti-Jewish incidents in 1958-1959, and was followed by considerable anti-Jewish activities in 1960, 1961 and 1962, which would later be explained in part as a reaction to media reporting on the kidnapping of Eichmann and his subsequent trial in Jerusalem. The year 1963 was quieter, with the number of anti-Jewish incidents dropping to the mid-1950s level.5

Taken as a whole, the period between the early sixties and the middle of the seventies was characterized by a low level of anti-Jewish incidents. However, numerous outbursts were registered around 1965, primarily in Germany (where the Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands [NPD] was gaining strength), as well as in France and in the U.S. Some anxiety was expressed in many countries in the early 1970s, but inaccuracy of the measuring instruments in that period prevents us from reliably assessing the fluctuations of intensity (by contrast, data collected in the 1959-1960 period was more accurate and reliable). Statistical methods remained limited in effect and unsophisticated, despite the pioneering efforts of two institutions -- the Verfassungsschutzstelle monitoring Germany, and the Bulletin of Anti-Semitic Events, edited in Israel, which records such incidents in the Western world as a whole.6

The Wave of the Late Seventies and Early Eighties

This second wave was of considerably longer duration than the swastika epidemic -- several years, as against three months -- and undeniably of a greater intensity. In its essential features, i.e., its geographical universality and unstructured nature, it was similar to the previous wave.

Though it definitely did not reach apocalyptic proportions, nor disrupt the regular life of Jewish communities, the number of anti-Jewish incidents in the West as a whole reached an unprecedented level. There was a qualitative change, as compared with 1959-1960. More serious crimes, such as arson of Jewish-owned premises, bombing attempts, and physical assaults occurred, as well as intermediate-level incidents such as synagogue and cemetery desecrations, and low-level acts like threatening letters and insults to individual Jews. The rise began in 1977, was sustained in 1978, gained further momentum in 1979 and peaked in various countries in 1980, 1981, and 1982. The growing numbers and changeable pattern of these incidents were accurately described by the existing German and Israeli statistical institutions. In addition, two other systems began to publish the data they had gathered: one, established by the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith (ADL), dealt with the United States; the other, set up by France's Ministry of the Interior, covered that country.7

This wave was also spontaneous, and the culprits who were apprehended invariably belonged to the same sociological categories and were either the classical type of young vandals acting together with other gang members, or the pathological antisemite acting on his own. Some types of assaults, such as bombing attempts, required a more sophisticated operational infrastructure than less serious incidents such as desecrations and graffiti.

The numerous groups perpetrating the acts often bore menacing names reflecting their image of a glorious past: The National Socialist Party of Germany, Das Reich Brigade, Adolf Hitler Division, etc. However, their numbers were not commensurate with their pretenses -- the "parties," "brigades" and "divisions" in question were in effect but a handful of militants and sympathizers. In no country to date has the indisputably resurgent violent antisemitism crystallized into a unified centralized structure. The whole phenomenon remains fragmentary and multipolar, made up of a plethora of minuscule and unstable cells, which spring up, act, disappear, and reappear when suitable occasions arise. The anti-Jewish effervescence of the late seventies and early eighties was largely inorganic, which does not mean that it was insignificant or that there was no concomitant resurgence of neo-Nazi organizations of the classical type.8

Two new elements, which had not existed previously, were responsible for a somewhat confused Jewish perception of events, and were linked to two lines of argument aimed at reassuring the Jewish community.

Firstly, the wave of anti-Jewish incidents occurred simultaneously with a wave of anti-Israel terror in which assassination attempts were made against both Israeli and Jewish targets all over the world. This radical campaign, unknown in 1960, commenced following the Six Day War of 1967, and climaxed after the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Moreover, the UN resolution equating Zionism with racism triggered a large-scale anti-Zionist campaign aimed at delegitimizing the State of Israel and denying its right to exist. Thus, numerous analysts ascribed the anti-Jewish incidents as a whole to Palestinian terrorism, or to international terrorism generally. This stance ignored the gravity -- and in some cases even the very fact -- of the resurgence of anti-Jewish incidents of local origin. This "Palestinization of antisemitism" had a divertive effect, blocking the awareness of the resurgence of locally-initiated anti-Jewish violence, which, though limited, was nevertheless clearly pronounced.

The second element was the wave of violent acts against non-Jewish ethnic minorities and immigrant workers which erupted concurrently with anti-Jewish incidents. Few in number in 1960, minority populations in Western Europe had increased dramatically by 1980 and became a target for racist attacks. Jewish fears were assuaged somewhat by the thought that Blacks, Turks or Arabs were the targets of attack; Jews could see themselves as secondary victims who were not under threat.

These two rationales of reassurance were used by different circles -- the pro-Israel public zealously upheld the "Palestinization of antisemitism", and the Jewish liberal left deplored the plight of immigrant workers and ethnic minorities. Occasionally, Jewish newspapers and public figures led to confusion by citing both lines of thought at the same time. Arabs, and to a lesser degree, American Blacks, alternated as the "bad guys" and the "good guys," depending on the rationale adopted.

In addition, some commentators claimed that a Soviet offensive aimed at undermining the democratic world was behind the anti-Jewish incidents. Others, more subtle, ascribed to the communist strategy a design to make it appear as if neo-Nazism was rearing its head. In support of these contentions, the results of public opinion polls on the Jewish issue in many countries seemed to indicate that anti-Jewish prejudice was on the downgrade; and it was noted that there was no significant parliamentary representation by ultra-right parties. There was also a tendency to criticize the methodologies of the data collectors, as well as their results. It was alleged, for example, that Christian cemeteries were also being desecrated (though this was unsubstantiated), thus allowing for a minimalization of the factual data on the growing number of Jewish cemetery desecrations in that period. Sometimes absurd comparisons were made between current levels of antisemitism (e.g., desecrations of several synagogues) and World War II levels (six million Jews slaughtered). Such comparisons, of course, automatically precluded any realistic assessment of the phenomenon.9

Though far from being apocalyptic, this anti-Jewish wave was definitely more intense than that of 1959-1960. Logically, this should have caught the attention of the Jews and alerted them. Was Jewish public opinion in 1980 less disposed to admit a possibility of an anti-Jewish relapse than it was in 1960? People kept inventing a new kind of "antisemitism without antisemites," relegating the hate to faraway places like Moscow, Tripoli or Beirut, while deliberately excluding New York, London and Berlin from the field of their investigation, and hastily reaching the conclusion that extreme right antisemitism no longer existed.

On the Wane (1983-1986)

The second wave abated, and the years 1983-1986 saw a considerable drop in the number of incidents simultaneously, or almost simultaneously, recorded by the various organizations monitoring antisemitic events worldwide and using different measuring methods. While it was true that in 1986 the annual level of anti-Jewish incidents was higher than in the "dead season" of the 1960s and the first half of the 1970s, it was definitely lower than the 1977-1982 level.10

Perceiving this ebb, those who had been alarmists congratulated themselves on having been on the alert and attributed the drop in violence to their own vigorous action.11 Those who had urged calm interpreted the drop in incidents as confirmation of their assumption that antisemitism was dead and buried or almost so.12 Those who had denied the value of statistics two or three years earlier when it indicated a rise in the number of incidents, now accepted its scientific merit.

The Wave of the Late Eighties and Early Nineties

Although there was a waning of antisemitic acts in the period 1983-1986, there was also, during this period, an increase in right wing political activity. Franz Schönhuber founded the Republican Party in Germany in the autumn of 1983. Nine years later, in April 1992, this party carried 11 per cent of the vote in Baden-Würtemberg, and in March 1993, it carried 9.3 per cent in Frankfurt. In France, the Front National under Jean-Marie Le Pen made its first electoral thrust in the town of Dreux in 1983, and has been winning 11-14 per cent of the vote since 1984. The Vlaams Blok in Belgium, the FPÖ in Austria, and the Lombardy League in Italy also scored successes in the 1991 and 1992 elections. In the United States, David Duke and Pat Buchanan, though not elected, made an impressive showing in the political campaign. It must be remembered that the ability of such parties and individuals to become established in the political scene for any significant length of time depends in part on the electoral systems operating in the various countries.

Alongside these right wing electoral victories, a new wave of anti-Jewish incidents began after 1987, and in 1988 attained an intensity approaching the maximum pitch registered during the previous wave. The total figures for 1990 in France and the U.S. surpassed the highest peaks of the early 1980s. As in the two previous waves, this one affected all Western countries, and consisted of a multitude of acts of medium and mild gravity perpetrated for the most part by youths, some of them neo-Nazi, acting in gangs or alone. Anti-Jewish vandalism and racist violence perpetrated by skinheads caught the attention of observers already concerned over the electoral advances of the extreme right.13

This time the perception of the crisis was more realistic. With the collapse of the communist empire, further references to a sinister Kremlin plot, and any ill-timed "Sovietization" of antisemitism, were obsolete. The improved diplomatic position of Israel, and the decline in international terrorism of Palestinian or other origin, compelled commentators to accept the unpleasant but irrefutable fact that European antisemitism is rooted in Europe itself and not in the Middle East.

The electoral successes of nationalist and racist parties at last eradicated the complacent attitude which had still seemed possible in 1980 -- that extreme right parties in Europe were a thing of the past. Heartening myths, which had gained currency ten years previously and suggested that the end of antisemitism was in sight, were now seen as untenable. Yet other interpretations were developed aimed at reassuring the Jewish communities.14

Attempts are made to discount the methods of data collection and interpretation, and to discredit the organizations which perform this task. One of the arguments most widely circulated in this connection is that the ADL has a direct and vital organizational stake in painting the picture black and exaggerating the menace: an alarmist report, it is alleged, would mobilize the militants and sensitize the donors; thus the ADL would naturally be inclined to dramatize the situation in order to gain increased donations and expand its organization.15

Such an argument, however, disregards data collected by governmental bodies, such as those in Germany and France. It also ignores the fact that the tables of incidents compiled by the ADL reflect the peaks of outbursts as accurately as the ebbs (such as occurred in 1983, 1984, 1985, and 1986). And it overlooks the U.S. Federal statistics on hate crimes, which irrefutably confirm the credibility of the ADL findings.

Then there is the allegation that the disquieting statistics are being circulated by Zionist organizations in order to encourage Jews to emigrate to Israel, or by the Israeli government in order to cement national unity or sweep internal and external difficulties under the carpet. However, virtually all of the organizations collecting data on antisemitism are non-Zionist. The Jewish movements combatting racism are pro-Israel in that they ardently advocate the Jewish state's right to exist, yet their ideology rejects the postulates held by many Zionists -- that Jew-hatred is everlasting, and that it is impossible to combat it in the Diaspora. And it would be utterly nonsensical to ascribe "Zionist" motives to French and German governmental agencies that collect statistics on anti-Jewish violence in those countries.16

One argument often heard has been that the upsurge in anti-Jewish violence of the 1980s represents no more than an increased rate of report. Jews, it is alleged, are more inclined than in the past to apply to the police or community institutions when they have been victimized. The actual scope of violence is stable, but the rate of recorded cases increases. Yet it can be seen that the quantity of recorded cases dropped dramatically from 1983 to 1986, with no indication that the rate of report was diminishing in that period.

Another widespread practice is to take the sum total of anti-Jewish incidents recorded during a given year in a given country and claim that the figure is low, even ridiculously so if one bears in mind  the number of Jews living in that country. The conclusion one is expected to draw is that hundreds of incidents annually for a Jewish population of tens or even hundreds of thousands are really insignificant. This observation is often advanced to dismiss interest in collecting data about anti-Jewish incidents, but it quickly reveals its underlying lack of logic. By definition, we are now going through a period of low or intermediate antisemitism. Therefore the aim of statistical systems is precisely to gauge antisemitism in a period when it is weak, at the time and in the country where it is still  marginal and harmless despite its indisputable resurgence. So one cannot justifiably reject a measuring instrument intended for periods of low intensity on the plea that the intensity it is registering is low. On the contrary, one should carefully analyze the trends revealed by the results of statistical research: both the rises and falls over years, and especially the cyclical alternations.17

A look at the German riots of the summer and autumn of 1992 served to clarify some of the issues. The neo-Nazi renascence was very much in the public eye. Commentators could not attribute the riots to Islamic fundamentalism, to Palestinian intractability, or to the anti-Zionist left, as they had during the violence of the early eighties when it was claimed that antisemitism no longer existed. Very few held the ADL and its purported financial difficulties, or the Israeli government and its supposed Zionist paranoia, responsible. In their mass character and their resonance in the media, these riots marked the culminating point of the crisis that had begun in 1987.

Unaware that extreme right violence had been increasing in Germany since 1987 (that is, prior to the collapse of the communist system), many commentators attributed the riots to the social tensions resulting from the reunification of Germany in 1990, and thought they were limited to the former GDR. Other commentators seized the opportunity to exploit the spectacular character of the riots; recalling the sinister past, they proclaimed a "Germanization" of the anti-Jewish crisis of the early 1990s, while showing little interest in the data on anti-Jewish violence in other Western countries. Conversely, and equally erroneously, other authors preferred to "de-Germanize" the crisis and insisted that racism existed quite as strongly in other countries as well. Thus to them, events in Germany appeared less grave.18

Ignorance of the past can give one much cause for rejoicing. The Jewish community, liberals, and pro-democracy advocates believed that the big demonstration of protest against the desecration of the Jewish cemetery in Carpentras in May 1990 was the first of its kind. In fact, it was just one in a long series of public demonstrations against antisemitism which began in 1892 -- two years before the Dreyfus affair. The mass protest in Germany in 1992 made the impression that German democracy was now able to defend itself,  since both the country's leaders and the population were willing to take to the streets. People have forgotten the scope of the demonstrations that followed the assassination of Walter Rathenau (a Jew, then Germany's foreign minister) in 1922, and which rallied hundreds of thousands of socialists, democrats and liberals to the country's major cities.19

On the whole, the worldwide wave of the late 1980s and early 1990s has been perceived more realistically by Jewish public opinion than that of the early 1980s. It has been seen as an indication of a new upsurge of neo-Nazi activities with a very serious potential of hatred toward Jews and foreigners. Is the more realistic perception due to the wave itself being more powerful, or is it because the re-emergence of antisemitism in post-communist countries imparts a still greater dimension to it?

In any case, Jewish reaction has tended to follow traditional patterns. Numerous international symposia and conferences have been sponsored denouncing the threat in conventional rhetoric (i.e., what is being said is nothing new, but the speakers think it is). Antisemitism has been castigated as a threat to democracy in general and not only to Jews; and Jews have declared that they will not let themselves be persecuted but will strike back. Traditional mechanisms in the fight against antisemitism have again been set in motion: legal action, solidarity between Jews and non-Jews, rallying the masses, educating the younger generation, and, if the need arises, physical self-defense.

The Immediate Prospects

The rostrum artillery is still booming, but many signs seem to indicate that the general trend is destined to make another about-face. French and U.S. figures show a decline in 1992 -- the first after five years of an uninterrupted climb. It cannot be asserted as yet, but it is quite possible that the present wave will soon pass its apex and a lull in anti-Jewish activities can be expected in the coming few years. An analysis of figures for the years 1992, 1993, and 1994 will clarify this.20

II. Interpretation of the Phenomenon

Analysis of the data of the last three decades indicates that anti-Jewish violence in the Western world follows a pattern of multi-annual phases of lulls and upsurges alternating on a time axis. It is universal in that it is observed simultaneously, with slight variations and some exceptions, in all of the countries under review. Each crisis gives rise to a multitude of interpretations in Jewish public opinion and reactions ranging from alarmist to reassuring, or mixed. None of the responses has any effect whatsoever on the phenomenon itself, which imperturbably pursues its oscillating course.

What is the motive force behind the lulls and upsurges? Current developments and the situation in this or that country may furnish some explanations for local outbursts but cannot explain the worldwide character of the phenomenon. Some may theorize that "flare-ups" of incidents are triggered by important events covered by the media which focus on some Jewish aspect of the events for several days or weeks. Examples are the series of incidents that followed the broadcast of the American television drama Holocaust in 1979 and those that accompanied the Israeli siege of Beirut in 1982. The desecration of the Jewish cemetery at Carpentras in 1990 was followed by anti-Jewish violence, and a crisis in January 1991 was connected to the Gulf War. Though quite impressive, each of these flare-ups was brief and of little significance compared to the multi-annual upsurges and lull fluctuations. "Flare-ups" do not account for the anti-Jewish cycles recorded over the last three or four decades.21

Correlations with the Ethnic Crime Rate, General Crime Rate, and Economic Crises

Only a global and multi-annual analysis can make evident a global and multi-annual phenomenon. This naturally prompts us to look for correlations, that is, to try to link the anti-Jewish incidents to external variables bearing on them, which are also universal and oscillating.

The first set to be considered is violent acts committed in each given country against ethnic groups other than Jews. Such a correlation was found in Germany in the 1980s: a decline in anti-Jewish as well as in anti-Turkish incidents (1983-1986). The renewal of violence in the late 1980s was general and affected both Jews and other ethnic minorities. By contrast, in France the relapse does not fit into this correlation pattern --  the anti-Maghrebian actions (excluding threats), went on during the 1980s, while anti-Jewish actions fell in the mid-1980s and rose sharply toward the late 1980s. Besides, the swastika epidemic of 1959-1960 was purely anti-Jewish and was not accompanied by any anti-black incidents in the US or anti-immigrant ones in Western Europe. True, at that time there were not many immigrant workers in Europe, but this is not the case with Blacks in the US. In other words, here the correlation seems to be fragmentary.

An analysis of the statistics reflecting ethnic violence completely dispels the widespread belief that Jews are less affected by racist outbursts than Blacks or immigrant workers. This belief ignores the fact that Jews are everywhere far less numerous than the co-victims with whom they are being identified. Thus, in France, there are several hundred thousand Jews; whereas the immigrant population numbers four or five million. The cases of anti-immigrant violence registered by the Ministry of the Interior exceed those against Jews by a factor of only two or three. In 1990, the number of anti-Jewish incidents of all kinds taken together exceeded even the number of anti-Maghrebian incidents. There are five million Jews in the US and nearly thirty-one million Blacks. Still, Federal government statistics record that 16.7% of racist incidents registered in twenty-three states in 1991 were anti-Jewish as against 35.5% anti-Black ones, that is, at most a double rate. In Germany, for that matter, no analysis of the totality of incidents in that country can ignore the fact that the Jewish population is forty thousand, i.e., less than one percent of the number of foreign workers.

So, if taken proportionately to the populations, not in absolute figures, attacks against Jews seem to be more frequent than against immigrants in Europe or Blacks in the U.S. Certainly, it may be that the rate of reporting may be higher for Jews than for other ethnic minorities. Undoubtedly, a detailed analysis must also take into consideration not only the quantity but also the nature of the incidents. These two qualifiers may influence, but they do not contradict the basic assertion that any comparison of violence must take into account the size of the Jewish population compared to other ethnic groups affected by racist incidents.22

Another set of factors to be considered is the general crime rate in the countries concerned. It is worthwhile to compare the evolution of anti-Jewish incidents with criminal offenses such as murders, thefts, rapes, etc., committed in a given country as a whole.

Statistics since the 1950s and 1960s reflect an increased number of criminal offenses observed in many countries. In the U.S. and France, crime statistics show accelerated growth over the late 1970s and early 1980s, stabilization and a drop in the mid-1980s, and a new rise in the late 1980s and early 1990s. These figures may correspond to the long-term upward trend in the number of anti-Jewish incidents as well as to their fluctuations over the last fifteen years. Yet, in some countries, such as England and Germany, there was no decline in the overall crime rate during the mid-1980s, while anti-Jewish incidents dropped dramatically over the same years. As for the swastika epidemic, it cannot be linked to any upsurge in the general crime rate, as none was recorded in that period. Therefore, there are some grounds for concluding that there is a correlation between anti-Jewish incidents and the general crime rate, but this correlation is only partial and not sufficient to throw light on the phenomenon in its totality.23

The study of economic trends offers a promising field for comparative research. In the modern epoch, there have been three major anti-Jewish waves erupting simultaneously with three worldwide economic depressions. The first wave occurred in the latter third of the nineteenth century, and subsided with the economic recovery in the first years of the twentieth century. The second coincided with the so-called "crisis of reconversion" after the First World War. It was expressed in renewed anti-Jewish activity at the beginning of the 1920s, violent in some countries and only verbal in others. The third wave was connected with the Great Depression beginning in 1929. During the 1930s, there was a considerable deterioration in the position of Jews and a significant advance of racist and fascist organizations. As for the present, it would be perfectly natural to try to find out whether the quantitative fluctuations of anti-Jewish incidents recorded since 1945 correspond to significant fluctuations in the economic activity of the capitalist world.24

The swastika epidemic did not correlate directly to any alteration of economic indices in Western countries. But if considered as part of a larger wave of anti-Jewish incidents (1958-1963), it may be seen as the wave's apex and it is possible that it corresponded to the American and European recessions of the late 1950s and early 1960s. The low level of incidents in the 1960s and early 1970s may be attributed to the considerable economic growth, with only slight short-term slow-downs that the capitalist countries were experiencing in that period. The correlation did not manifest itself during the years that followed the first oil crisis of 1974: although there was a drastic slump in business activity in the West coupled with growing unemployment, the increase in anti-Jewish incidents remained moderate. The second oil crisis triggered by the overthrow of the Shah of Iran in 1979, and the Iraq-Iran War of 1980 plunged the Western countries into a crisis that lasted until 1982 or 1983. This time, anti-Jewish incidents increased significantly, reaching a point where they seemed to fit into the pattern linking surges of anti-Jewish activities to the economic crises described above.

The drop in anti-Jewish incidents in 1983-1986 corresponds rather accurately to the significant economic upsurge in the West in 1983 and especially in 1984. On the other hand, the resurgence of violence in 1987 took place against the background of a prolonged period of economic growth. True, the U.S. Stock Exchange collapsed in October 1987, but the main economic indices of the Western countries remained favorable. The year 1988 showed good economic growth, and the unemployment rate in the OECD member countries in effect kept falling until 1990. Other indices began to deteriorate only in 1989, and the crisis proper did not set in until 1990. In Germany, the resumption of extreme right and neo-Nazi activities, begun in 1987, preceded the social crisis that accompanied the country's reunification. There was a discrepancy between anti-Jewish incidents and economic indices, the former showing an increase two or three years before signs of an economic recession became pronounced. The correlation here seems less definite than in the early and mid-1980s.25

Thus, there is a vague correlation with the general increase in crime, and a certain -- but not absolute -- correlation with changes in the economic situation. There is a hypothesis which rejects any correlation between the above factors and anti-Jewish violence, since some phenomena exist by themselves. Their socio-cultural impact is so great that they do not fit into any correlative pattern. Antisemitism in all its forms certainly belongs to the category of centuries-old historic phenomena which follow their own rhythms of upsurge and abatement, being occasionally influenced by some external variables. Thus, one may assume that the waves of anti-Jewish violence are governed by some autonomous laws of emergence and abatement, with the exception of certain incidental and fragmentary congruities. This hypothesis deserves closer scrutiny.

Frequency and Intensity

Two questions merit our attention. The first is to know whether the rhythm of activating anti-Jewish incidents is regular or not, that is, whether the waves take place at constant or changing intervals. The data at our disposal seem to support the hypothesis of irregularity. However, the lack of reliable information for the early 1950s, and insufficient data for the 1960s and 1970s require the researcher to exercise caution in making such an assertion.

The second question concerns the level of violence: whether its intensity remains constant, each wave reaching a level comparable to that of the preceding ones, or whether its intensity keeps growing, each wave exceeding the earlier ones. The wave of the 1970s was indisputably graver than the swastika epidemic, and the present wave seems more intense than the second one. The statistics for 1992 and for 1993 (to be published in 1993 and 1994, respectively) will prove definitive in this respect, and no serious conclusions can be drawn before these are made public.

Events may develop in either of two directions. In the case of a stable oscillatory movement, things would take a relatively peaceful course and the forecast for the future would be ups and downs identical to the earlier waves. A more pessimistic scenario, which sees the oscillatory movement gaining momentum, would foresee a considerable rise in anti-Jewish activities after a few years of temporary abatement.

In both cases, the high points of violence would be preceded and followed by phases of diminished violence with a pronounced drop in the number of incidents. In both cases, the phenomenon's periodical character would impel Jewish communities to adopt a less alarmist attitude to peak phases and a less euphoric one to slumps. The anti-Jewish cycles do not lend themselves to clear-cut, peremptory or categorical assertions, be they of the "Hitler-is-back" or the "antisemitism-has-been-done-away-with" type.

In any case, in order to track the frequency and intensity of anti-Jewish incidents in the future, an improvement of the statistical instruments at our disposal is needed. Contacts between the various data collection agencies should be strengthened; systems of classification and definitions used by these bodies should be harmonized; research into the methodology of observation and quantification of antisemitism should be encouraged; and a comparative study of the current data obtained with the data observed before the Second World War and during the 1920s should be undertaken.

The Necessary Integration of Various Indicators

As a phenomenon, anti-Jewish incidents are essentially spontaneous. Acts of this kind are not devised by some clandestine center nurturing sinister plans and evolving infernal theories. They remain confined to the marginal strata of Western society, and perpetrators of such acts are subject to judiciary and police prosecution. The phenomenon at present is of a tolerable intensity, even at its high points. Yet it is by no means harmless. Its recurring waves are testimony to hostility toward Jews which, far from diminishing, tends to grow over time. Specifically, it is located at the intersection of popular and structural antisemitism. Given the appropriate circumstances, under-age vandals who desecrate synagogues could grow up to become adherents, militants, or leaders of overt or covert antisemitic political movements. The bridge between the two is very often and very easily crossed, although the dynamic relationship established between anti-Jewish violence and the organizational crystallization of antisemitism still awaits an in-depth study. Here, as in other questions, there is still a discrepancy between the anti-Jewish realities themselves, and the perception of these realities.

A study of associated phenomena would make it possible to examine antisemitic crises in the totality of their manifestations and not only from the specific and restrictive angle of anti-Jewish incidents. One should take into account, for example, the election returns of extreme right parties, which also show cyclical gains and losses. Figures are available on the circulation of anti-Jewish periodicals, as well as the membership figures for racist groups that are closely monitored in some countries; their ups and downs can thus be traced over the years. Public opinion polls on the Jewish question are also useful, provided they are carefully analyzed and conducted in conformity with professional standards and ethics. However, results obtained in public opinion polls do not seem to be of a cyclical character and to a great extent do not correspond to the tendencies observed in other indicators of antisemitism. This presents an interesting and challenging problem which has yet to be analyzed. Other aspects of antisemitism seem difficult, even impossible, to quantify at first glance, but should also be considered. For example, any worldwide study of the modern waves of antisemitism must take into account the slow but steady dissemination of the theses negating the Holocaust. Do they advance linearly or cyclically? In any case, are they correlated or not with the universal waves of anti-Jewish violence and/or electoral thrusts of the extreme right? These are some of the questions that a scholarly observer of Jew-hatred will have to tackle in the effort to produce a general understanding of the phenomenon.

Conclusion: Measuring Antisemitism

The discussion on modern antisemitism lacks adequate documentation. Due to the absence of a reliable measuring system, observers have to make do with a fragmentary and impressionistic perception of reality. It is wrong to affirm that there is no antisemitism, that it is insignificant, that it is on the rise, or that it has assumed gigantic dimensions at a given place or moment, if there is no objective scale unaffected by the subjective preferences of those who make the appraisal. It would be senseless to express anxiety at antisemitism being on the rampage, or heave a sigh of relief when it seems to recede, or rejoice over its complete disappearance, if we do not have at our disposal a measuring system allowing us to make comparisons over time.

Like every social phenomenon, antisemitism must be observed quantitatively as well as qualitatively. There are many things that cannot be explained by figures, but figures furnish the necessary base without which understanding is confined to intuition, correct or false, and to verbose but meaningless explanations. The numerical data on antisemitism make it possible to pass from an emotional and subjective approach to a rational and objective perception.

But how can antisemitism be measured? When serious outbreaks occur, casualties can be counted and damage assessed. The statistical results can be accumulated for each country or epoch respectively. Quantification is more complicated when antisemitism is in a mild phase (which by definition excludes extreme violence or mass murder). In such periods, anti-Jewish acts are manifested at the fringes of the societies concerned and do not present an immediate danger to the everyday life of the Jewish communities. It is difficult to gauge subtle and scattered phenomena. Indicators are needed that would allow one to note the evolution of the phenomena, yet these are difficult to establish and research produces diverging interpretations. In particular, any effort to quantify antisemitism comes up against considerable psychological resistance and clashes with a widespread conviction that it is not worthwhile to try to keep track of a marginal and harmless phenomenon.

Hence the paradox in this study of cycles of anti-Jewish incidents. At a stage when antisemitism is still weak, objections to any attempt at rationalization and systematization flow from all directions. And yet, it is precisely at this stage that it is crucial to grasp its fluctuations of intensity, to identify its inflection points, and to discover its long-term patterns of behavior.


Notes and References

1. This study is confined to Western countries for which information on anti-Jewish acts has been available for several decades, and to acts of local origin -- that is, those perpetrated in France by the French, in Great Britain by the British, in Germany by the Germans, and in the United States by Americans. The paper will not include analysis of international terrorist assaults against Jewish and Israeli targets worldwide, which follow another kind of logic, have a peculiar rhythm and are not necessarily connected with anti-Jewish violence of a spontaneous and popular nature. An analysis of anti-Jewish acts in the former Soviet bloc is not included, as the instruments for statistical observation are inadequate there.

2. The analysis should also have included data on the resumption of anti-Jewish agitation recorded in Europe around 1950. Unfortunately, there are no statistics for this period.

3. Cf. Oscar Cohen, The Swastika "Epidemic" and Anti-Semitism in America, (New York: ADL, 1960); "The Swastikas on the Wall -- A Survey of Reactions," The Wiener Library Bulletin, Vol. XIV:1, 1960, pp. 209-13;  La vie juive, September-October 1960. For the international reaction to the event and diverse interpretations of it, see the numerous articles in the New York Times, Le Monde, and Ha'aretz, January-February 1960.

4. See  Why the Swastika? --A Study of Young American Vandals (New York: Institute of Human Relations Press, The American Jewish Committee, n.d.); H. D. Stein, J. M. Martin, and A. Rosen, The Swastika Daubings and Related Incidents of Winter 1960 -- An Explanatory Study Centered in the New York Metropolitan Area, (New York: Research Center, New York School of Social Work, Columbia University, 1961); David Caplovitz and Candace Rogers, Swastika 1960 -- The Epidemic of anti-Semitic Vandalism in America, (New York: ADL, 1961). In the same vein is the White Book issued by the Federal Government of Germany which emphasizes the fact that half of the apprehended youths had no political affiliation whatsoever (cited in the American Jewish Year Book, 1961, p. 261).

5. On the mounting number of incidents in 1958-59, prior to the "swastika epidemic", see Caplovitz and Rogers, Swastika 1960, p. 26; and Le droit de vivre, Droit et Liberte during 1958 and 1959. On antisemitism the world over after the epidemic, see Current Anti-Semitic Activities Abroad -- A Survey, (New York: The American Jewish Committee, Institute of Human Relations, 1963).

6. On the incidents in 1965 and 1966 in Germany, see Erfahrungen aus der Beobachtung und Abwehr Rechts-Radikaler und antisemitischer Tendenzen im Jahre 1966 (Bonn: Ministry of the Interior of the Federal Republic of Germany, 1967); in France, see the anti-racist newspapers Le droit de vivre, and Droit et Liberté; in the United States, the American Jewish Year Book: 1966, p. 163, and 1967, pp. 68-69; and Saul Carson, 165 Temples Desecrated -- The Inside Story of Anti-Semitism in America Today, (New York: Popular Library, 1971).

Incidents of the late 1960s and early 1970s were recorded in the Bulletin of Anti-Semitic Events. A considerable rise was obvious in Germany in 1971, but it gradually diminished in subsequent years. Cf. the retrospective graphs in Betrifft: Verfassungsschutz '74.

Worthy of mention among the few studies that appeared at the time is Alfonso M. Di Nola, Antisemitismo in Italia 1962/1972, (Florence: Vallecchi, 1973). Di Nola devised a method of classification of anti-Jewish incidents in Italy.

7. The Bulletin of Anti-Semitic Events gives the following totals for non-Communist Europe: 127 incidents reported in 1976, 180 in 1977, 265 in 1978, 588 in 1979, 714 in 1980, 701 in 1981, 855 in 1982.

According to the German data, the total number of excesses imputed to the extreme Right (neo-Nazi or not) was 616 incidents in 1977; 992 in 1978; 1,483 in 1979; 1,643 in 1980; 1,866* in 1981; 2,475* in 1982. The number of purely anti-Jewish incidents reached 272 in 1979; 263 in 1980, 328* in 1981, 479 in 1982, as reported by the Verfassungsschutz for the corresponding years. The figures marked by an asterisk (*) are figures rectified in subsequent reports, not the ones which appeared in the original report.

The French figures are insignificant for the year 1979, when the system was set up: 25 threats and 20 acts directed against Jews. They skyrocketed to 266 (190 threats and 76 acts) in 1980, dropped to 96 (70 threats and 26 acts) in 1981 and rose to 169 (135 and 34) in 1982, as reported in the retrospective statistics of the Interior Ministry published in 1991 -- La lutte contre le racisme et la xenophobie, (Paris: Commission Nationale Consultative des Droits de l'Homme, 1992). The rise during the years 1976-1980 was covered by the anti-racist French press.

American statistics for 1980 are incomplete and count 489 incidents, including 377 acts of vandalism and 112 threats and assaults. In 1981, anti-Jewish incidents reached 1,324 (974 and 350); and in 1982, 1,422 (829 and 593). Fewer acts of vandalism in 1982 heralded the subsequent general decline in the number of anti-Jewish incidents, as reported in the Audit of Anti-Semitic Events for the corresponding years (New York: Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith). According to Earl Raab, "Anti-Semitism in the 1980s," Midstream, February 1983, 49 acts of vandalism were committed in 1978, 120 in 1979, 377 in 1980, and 974 in 1981.

The discrepancy between the European total published by the Bulletin of Anti-Semitic Events and the figures published in each country is explained by the differing methods of collecting, classifying, and processing the information. It should be noted that in spite of such differences, the trend is clearly the same.

8. The booklet Anti-Semitic Incidents in the Community (New York: American Jewish Committee, Institute of Human Relations, 1982), p. 14, gives a reassuring interpretation based on the spontaneous character of the incidents and the young age of the offenders.

9. For a systematized analysis of the various types of reassuring interpretations, see Simon Epstein, Cry of Cassandra -- The Resurgence of European Antisemitism, (Bethesda: National Press, 1985). For an illustration of the arguments cited, see, for example: "Anti-Semitism -- A Statement by the American Jewish Congress," Congress Monthly, March 1981; Anti-Semitism in America: A Balance Sheet, (New York: American Jewish Committee, Institute of Human Relations, 1981); Stephen J. Roth, "Anti-Semitism in the Western World Today," Research Report, (London: Institute of Jewish Affairs, June 1981; "Antisemitism Today -- A Symposium," Patterns of Prejudice, Vol. 16, no. 4, 1982.

On communists seeking to create the impression of resurgent antisemitism, see, Annie Kriegel, Is Israel to Blame? (Paris: Robert Laffont, 1982), pp. 29-38. Kriegel also accuses some "classical Zionists" of claiming a resurgence of antisemitism, albeit in pursuit of other aims; see Le droit de vivre, October 1984. Among the imaginative and prolific literature of the 1980s only Kriegel points to such a Soviet-Zionist convergence.

10. The total figures for Europe cited in the Bulletin of Anti-Semitic Events show an undeniable downward trend: 554 incidents in 1983, 402 in 1984, 392 in 1985, 285 in 1986. The level of 1986 is comparable to that of 1978. The same figures can be found in "Terrorism Against Jewish and Israeli Targets in Europe 1980-85," Research Report (London: Institute of Jewish Affairs, September 1986), p. 2.

The French figures gave 91 incidents (70 threats and 21 acts) for 1983, which rose to 95 (80 and 14) in 1984, dropped to 66 (56 and 10) in 1985, and to 59 (57 and 2) in 1986, the lowest figures for any year of the decade. Source: 1991 -- La lutte contre le racisme et la xenophobie, (Paris: Commission Nationale Consultative des Droits de l'Homme, 1992).

The ADL statistics show a drop to 1,020 (670 acts of vandalism and 350 threats and assaults) in 1983, a slight rise in 1984 (as was also the case in France) to 1,078 (715 and 363), then a fall to 944 (638 and 306) in 1985, and to 906 (594 and 312) in 1986. Here, too, the year 1986 marked the ebb of the wave.

The Canadian figures roughly follow the same curve. The year 1984 was marked by an extremely high total number of incidents (126) while in 1985 it fell to 95, and the figure for each of the years 1986 and 1987 was 55. In Canada, the ebb came in 1986 and 1987. Source: 1991 Audit of Anti-Semitic Events, (Ontario: League for Human Rights of B'nai B'rith Canada, 1992).

In Germany, a significant drop was recorded in 1983 (1,347* incidents of an extreme Right origin, neo-Nazi or not, of which 239 were of a directly anti-Jewish character). A certain rise was marked in 1984 (1,714 of which 310 were directly anti-Jewish in nature), and in 1985 (1,677 of which 390 were anti-Jewish). A pronounced drop was marked in 1986 (1,281 and 269). The decade's ebb for Germany was in 1984, and 1986 exceeded it only slightly. Source: Verfassungsschutz reports for the corresponding years. The figures marked by an asterisk (*) are those rectified in subsequent reports, not the ones which appeared in the original report for the corresponding year.

For the Netherlands, the picture is different: in the years 1985 and 1986 the figures were higher than in 1984. Le droit de vivre, June-July 1987.

11. ADL Director Abraham Foxman attributed the decline in incidents in the U.S. to tougher judiciary measures and to greater educational effort: Batfutsot, February-March 1986.

12. An example of self-congratulation on not succumbing to panic was Charles E. Silberman: A Certain People: American Jews and their Lives Today (New York:Summit Books, 1985), p. 335. An instance of forecasting the decline of antisemitism: Herbert A. Strauss, "Anti-Semitism As A Political Tool," in Yehuda Bauer, ed., Present Day Antisemitism, (Proceedings of the Eighth International Seminar of the Study Circle on World Jewry under the Auspices of the President of Israel, Chaim Herzog, Jerusalem, 29-31 December 1985) (Jerusalem: The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1988), pp. 125-45.

13. Increased numbers of incidents were reported in France: 88 incidents (75 threats and 13 acts) in 1987; 100 (85 and 15) in 1988; 167 (149 and 18) in 1989; 392 (372 and 20) in 1990 (the year of the desecration at Carpentras); 224 (184 and 40) in 1991, showing a considerable drop in the number of threats but a twofold increase in the number of antisemitic actions as against the previous year. Source: 1991 -- La lutte contre le racisme et la xenophobie, (Paris: Commission Nationale Consultative des Droits de l'Homme, 1992).

The Canadian figures show the same ascending curve: 112 anti-Jewish incidents in 1988; 176 in 1989; 210 in 1990; 251 in 1991. Source: 1991 Audit of Anti-Semitic Events (Ontario: League for Human Rights of B'nai B'rith Canada, 1992).

In Great Britain in 1987, 133 anti-Jewish incidents were reported; the figures are 202 for 1988; 232 for 1989; 335 for 1990; 353 for 1991, as noted in the statistics of the Board of Deputies. See also The American Jewish Year Book, 1992, p. 306.

The United States reported 1,018 anti-Jewish incidents in 1987 (694 acts of vandalism and 324 threats or attacks); 1,281 (823 and 458) in 1988; 1,432 (845 and 587) in 1989; 1,685 (927 and 587) in 1990; 1,879 (929 and 950) in 1991, exceeding the 1981 and 1982 levels. Source: ADL. The Federal statistics on hate crimes amply confirm the general trends as expressed in the ADL reports; see the Jewish Telegraphic Agency --  Daily News Bulletin, January 6, 1993.

On Australia, see Antisemitism World Report (London: Institute of Jewish Affairs, 1992), p. 99.

The numerous reports of the Antisemitism Monitoring Forum under the auspices of the Secretariat of the Government of Israel (which appeared after the Bulletin of Anti-Semitic Events publications) confirm beyond all doubt the upward trend registered in each of the countries toward the end of the 1980s. For all the countries, see the Antisemitism World Report, and Anti-Jewish Propaganda 1991, (Jerusalem: The Project for the Study of Anti-Semitism, Tel Aviv University, the Anti-Semitism Monitoring Forum, The Government Secretariat, 1992).

14. A superb collection of reassuring interpretations can be found in "Antisemitism in the 1990s: A Symposium," in Patterns of Prejudice, Vol. 25:2, 1991. See also Jerome A. Chanes, "Anti-Semitism in the United States: On the Rise or On the Decline?" Midstream, January 1990, pp. 26-30; Earl Raab, What Do We Really Know About Anti-Semitism -- and What Do We Want to Know?, (New York: The American Jewish Committee, Institute of Human Relations, 1989). Many researchers note a curious discrepancy between the popular Jewish perception that antisemitism is mounting, and what they as researchers maintain -- that antisemitism is on the decline.

15. Thus Arthur Herzberg, quoted by Shlomo Shamir in Ha'aretz, May 29, 1990.

16. See Theodore Stanger and Hannah Brow, "Rethinking Jewish History," Newsweek, May 18, 1992, and Barnett Litvinoff, "Time to Stop Whingeing," The Jewish Chronicle, June 26, 1992; see also Guidon Samet, Ha'aretz, March 25, 1992 and Hannah Zemer, Davar, March 27, 1992, as well as the reply by Israeli Government Secretary-General Eliakim Rubinstein in Ha'aretz, April 5, 1992.

17. To illustrate this argument, see Judith Bolton, The Jerusalem Post, June 22, 1990, in which she gives an account of the Anti-Defamation League report on anti-Jewish incidents. On the use of the same argument concerning the wave of the early 1980s, see Nathan Perlmutter, Patterns of Prejudice, Vol. 17, No. 4, 1983, p. 12. It should be noted that many commentators who discuss figures on antisemitism know relatively little about social science methods, and often raise questions which have already been addressed in textbooks on social or criminal statistics.

18. The German figures have been mounting since 1987, as is the case for other Western countries. In 1987, there were 1,447 incidents imputed to the extreme Right and targeted against Jews, immigrants, or the public in general. The figure was 1,607 in 1988; 1,853 in 1989. It reached 1,848 in 1990, increased considerably in 1991, and in 1992 exceeded by a wide margin the highest levels registered since 1945. The number of desecrations of Jewish cemeteries, synagogues and monuments to the Holocaust victims, which were only part of the incidents registered in the country mounted in an irregular but still indisputable fashion -- 42 cases in 1987; 62 in 1988; 56 in 1989; 84 in 1991. Source: Verfassungsschutz.

19. Moshe Zimmerman hails the huge demonstrations and mass meetings of 1992, but does not refer to the demonstrations of 1922: Ha'aretz, January 29, 1993.

20. ADL figures indicate 1,730 incidents in 1992, as against 1,879 in 1991. French figures also indicate a clear decrease. British figures for 1992 are still on the rise. See also: Survey of Antisemitism in Europe in the First Quarter of 1993 (Tel-Aviv: The Project for the Study of Antisemitism, Tel-Aviv University, 1993)(in Hebrew).

21. It should be noted that these "flare-ups" present a formidable methodological problem. They may be real, that is, reflect an incontestable rise in small anti-Jewish crime. But they may also result from an optical effect, provoked by an improved media coverage following a dramatic event that sensitized the public. Jewish communities, anti-racist organizations and the press are inclined to trace and publish all information concerning anti-Jewish incidents. Hence the "dark figure" hiding some part of the antisemitic reality diminishes considerably, and numerous incidents that formerly went unnoticed now immediately come to light and are added to the statistical base, creating the impression of a flare-up. Proceeding from what is known today, one must conclude that the two effects (the real one and the optical one) are mixed here, and we are thus far incapable of determining the ratio.

22. Sources: for Germany, reports of the Verfassungsschutz; for France, statistics of the Ministry of the Interior; for the United States, Federal statistics on hate crimes.

23. Source: International Crime Statistics, published annually by the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol). For the U.S., refer to the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, (Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1991). For the United Kingdom, A Digest of Information on the Criminal Justice System, Ed. by Gordon C. Barclay, Home Office, Research and Statistics Department, 1991. See also, Irvin Waller, Introductory Report-- Putting Crime Prevention on the Map, International Conference on Urban Safety, Drugs, and Crime Prevention, pp. 12 and 13. For retrospective statistics over the past hundred years, see Dane Archer and Rosemary Gartner, Violence and Crime in Cross-National Perspective, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984).

24. On the correlation between economic crisis, the growth of unemployment and a rise in the general crime rate, see "Estimating the Social Costs of National Economic Policy: Implications for Mental and Physical Health, and Criminal Aggression," A Study Prepared for the Use of the Joint Economic Committee, Congress of the United States, 1976.

25. Source: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Historical Statistics 1960-1990, (Paris, 1992); OECD Economic Outlook, June 1992. Correlations for the early 1950s cannot be drawn due to the scarcity of statistical data on anti-Jewish violence for that period. 


APPENDIX A:
1- ADL Audit of Anti-Semitic Episodes: Vandalism, Harassments, Threats & Assaults,
Year by Year, National Totals



2- Threats and actions in French statistics



return to top
 

SEARCH

Only this site

Home

Events

Research

Felix Posen Bibliographic Project

Search the Bibliography

Antisemitism International

ACTA

Posen Papers in Contemporary Antisemitism

Articles

Publications

Conferences -  recording

Archives

Center's Staff

Web Resources

עברית

 

The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism
The
Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Mount Scopus, 91905 Jerusalem, Israel

Tel: 972-2-5882494
Fax: 972-2-5881002

e-mail:  sicsa@mscc.huji.ac.il

 

המרכז הבינלאומי לחקר האנטישמיות ע"ש וידאל ששון

האוניברסיטה העברית בירושלים - הר הצופים, 91905

ירושלים

פקס: 5881002

טל: 5882494 

דוא"ל: sicsa@mscc.huji.ac.il

 

Copyright © 2011 The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. All Rights Reserved.