Sadly, anti-Semitism reared its ugly head in 2009 in formidable measures, especially in Western Europe. The record number of incidents was the largest since World War II. The first three months of the year saw more anti-Semitism than all of 2008.

The sharpest increase was in France, where 631 anti-Semitic incidents happened in the first half of 2009 (compared with 474 throughout 2008); Britain came in second with over 600 incidents, while the Netherlands recorded 100 anti-Semitic acts – the same number as the year before.

In addition to the increase in the number of cases, the severity of the attacks also escalated. Hundreds of incidents were considered extremely violent, and included eight murders:

Six slain during the terror attack in Mumbai, India.

Johanna Justin-Jinich, a Jewish student, murdered in Connecticut.

The security guard, Stephen T. Johns that was killed during the attack on the holocaust museum in Washington D.C.

This does not count Israeli casualties.

The “modern blood-libel” phenomenon was very much prevalent: one Swedish newspaper article accused Israel of organ trafficking. There have also been reports of Israeli organ trafficking in Haiti. Anti-Semitic TV shows have been broadcasted in several Muslim countries including Turkey.

Also seen was an increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents that stem from domestic political conflicts ahead of elections, like those that occurred in Hungary and the Ukraine, with cooperation between radical left factions and Muslim communities.

The report done by Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism (CFCA) also noted that when governments actively battle Anti-Semitism, it results in cases such as those that were witnessed in the U.S., Ukraine and the Czech Republic.

One of the report’s main findings was that some 42% of Western European citizens, mainly from Poland and Spain, believe Jews exploit their past as victims in order to extort money.

The report was published in time for the International Day against Fascism and Anti-Semitism and the Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz, which happened on January 27th.