Acts of antisemitism rise in Switzerland in 2020

Every year, organisations that fight against antisemitism publish statistics on antisemitism in Switzerland.

Source: Wikipedia

During 2020, CICAD, a non-profit organisation covering French-speaking Switzerland, reported a significant rise in cases, which rose to a total of 147, 144 of which were considered concerning. This represents a rise of 41% compared to 2019 when 100 significant antisemitic acts were recorded.

Most (89%) of these acts of antisemitism involved text and images published online. However, some took place in schools, outside homes and synagogues. The worst acts included nazi salutes, chants and trespass.

More recently in 2021, bacon was left outside the Lausanne synagogue and pork was used to desecrate a synagogue in Geneva, according to a report by RTS in February. A woman left bacon and a toy pig outside the synagogue in Lausanne. Another wiped the door of a synagogue in Geneva with pork before throwing it at the building. According to experts on antisemitism, acts involving pork echo the derogatory folk art of Judensau, found mainly on Christian churches in Germany.

Also in February, antisemitic inscriptions were found on the door of a synagogue in Biel/Bienne, reported RTS.

The number of acts of antisemitism rose 2% from 523 to 532 in German-speaking Switzerland in 2020. Excluding those committed on the internet (485), 47 antisemitic incidents were recorded, according to the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities. Among these were 11 cases of insult and 15 of graffiti. No acts of physical violence were recorded.

Much of the antisemitic activity online was based on conspiracy theories involving secret plots to harm humanity. These canard theories are typically associated with far-right groups and movements focused on dissent, such as anti-vaccination and anarchist groups, according to CICAD. Antisemitic groups seem to be drawn to conspiracy theories related to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities.

Those fighting antisemitism in Switzerland are calling for greater prevention efforts, stiffer criminal penalties and more action from social media companies.

More on this:
CICAD press release (in French) – Take a 5 minute French test now

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