London (CNSNews.com) - Attacks on Jews in Europe have increased as violence in the Middle East has escalated, according to a report on anti-Semitism that European officials have refused to officially release.
The research was commissioned by the European Union Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia and carried out by the Center for Research on Anti-Semitism at Berlin's Technical University after an upsurge in anti-Semitic violence in Europe in early 2002.
However, the European Union Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) declined to release the findings, saying there were problems with the data and with the researchers' definition of anti-Semitism. The authors of the report called the decision "political" and alleged that EUMC officials were unhappy with their conclusions.
Although the report was initially kept under wraps, legislators and Jewish groups across Europe posted copies of the research on the Internet this week.
The report said that although the frequency of recent anti-Semitic attacks doesn't represent a record high in post-war Europe, a definite upsurge in violence was recorded during early 2002.
"This wave of anti-Semitism started with the 'Al-Aqsa-Intifada' in October 2000 and was fueled by the conflict in the Middle East and the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon ... which triggered off a fierce debate on the causes of radical Islamic terrorism," the researchers wrote.
"From the perpetrators identified or at least identifiable with some certainty, it can be concluded that the anti-Semitic incidents in the monitoring period were committed above all either by right-wing extremists or radical Islamists or young Muslims mostly of Arab descent, who are often themselves victims of exclusion and racism," the researchers concluded.
Some European leaders and writers were also responsible for anti-Semitic statements, the researchers said, and they warned that such views may increasingly move into the mainstream.
"Anti-Semitic statements and sentiments often linked to Israeli government policy were found in the mass media and were also expressed by some politicians and opinion leaders," the report said.
The researchers said during the time period studied, May to June 2002, desecration of synagogues and cemeteries, anti-Semitic graffiti, threatening and insulting mail and Holocaust denial were mostly carried out by far-right groups.
Physical attacks on Jews and the destruction of synagogues, on the other hand, "were acts often committed by young Muslim perpetrators."
"Many of these attacks occurred either during or after pro-Palestinian demonstrations, which were also used by radical Islamists for hurling verbal abuse."
"In the extreme left-wing scene, anti-Semitic remarks were to be found mainly in the context of pro-Palestinian and anti-globalisation rallies and in newspaper articles using anti-Semitic stereotypes in their criticism of Israel," the report said.
The researchers suggested that new monitoring measures be put in place to track anti-Semitism and that pressure should be put on Internet service providers to crack down on anti-Jewish web sites.
The report was obtained by the European Jewish Congress and was posted on the web sites of several affiliated Jewish organizations and European parliamentarians.
A spokeswoman for a French umbrella group, CRIF, criticized European officials for failing to release the report.
"The real reason that it was not released is that it is not politically correct to speak of Muslims and those who come from Arab countries (in this way)," the spokeswoman said by phone from Paris on Wednesday.
The report also found a home on the web site of Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a German Green Party representative in the European Parliament.
"Even if this report is problematic and controversial, it would be worse not to publish it than to make it accessible to the public," Cohn-Bendit said in a statement. "In a democracy, we need transparency and an open debate rather than censorship - for whatever reason."
The EUMC has insisted that the anti-Semitism research was flawed and has announced that it will bring out its own report early next year.
In a statement released Tuesday, the center said it is facing a "challenge of its credibility" and that the controversy "presents the strongest challenge for the EUMC since its foundation in 1997."
"There is a danger that this could destabilize the center and draw it away from its core business," the statement said.
"Directly after having obtained the results of the interim data collection on anti-Semitism ... the EUMC decided to have a special focus on anti-Semitism in 2002 and 2003."
A report on anti-Semitism will be published by the center in the first three months of 2004, officials said.
See Earlier Story:
European Officials Refuse to Release Anti-Semitism Report (Nov. 24, 2003)
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