Anti-Semitic Violence Rises in 2000

The year 2000 saw an explosion of anti-Semitic violence worldwide. The number of violent incidents in Europe in October and November alone, now estimated at close to 200, may well be higher than the number of incidents of serious violence against Jews in 1999 for the entire world.

The eruption of Israeli-Palestinian violence last fall in the Middle East — sparked by right-wing Israeli politician Ariel Sharon's visit in late September to a Jerusalem shrine — fueled anti-Semitic violence around the world.

Also, in the United States, anti-Semitic rhetoric on the far right heated up after the August selection of Sen. Joseph Lieberman, a Jew, as the Democratic vice-presidential nominee. Studies have shown that worldwide, anti-Semitic violence fell significantly between 1994-1999 (after a major increase following the end of the Cold War in 1989).

Similarly, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) found that the number of Americans holding strongly anti-Semitic views decreased from 20% to 12% between 1992 and 1998. But last year's violence may mark the beginning of a worrisome new anti-Semitic trend.

Here, compiled with help from the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the ADL, are some key incidents from 2000:

Jan. 13, Russia
A Moscow Jew is murdered in what Jewish officials fear is a hate crime.

Jan. 15, Italy
Accused Serbian war criminal Arkan is murdered, spurring the increasingly neofascist fans of the Lazio soccer club to honor him with signs. Lazio fans are already known for signs like one telling Jewish soccer fans that "Auschwitz Is Your Homeland; The Ovens Are Your Homes." In 1999, Lazio backers were accused of planting bombs at two anti-fascist sites.

Feb. 9, California
Vandals smash windows and burn religious books at a Jewish community center in Ventura.

March, Argentina
Soccer fans at a match in Buenos Aires taunt opposing Jewish fans by chanting "We're going to make soap out of the Jews" and hurling bars of soap.

March 15, California
Two trucks at a Jewish-owned business are destroyed by fire in Petaluma. A scrawled message on a nearby truck reads, "Die, Jew."

March 22, Poland
Hours after people celebrating "Tolerance Day" remove racist graffiti from local buildings, vandals cover a Lodz synagogue with anti-Semitic messages.

April 20, Germany
On Adolf Hitler's birthday, a Molotov cocktail is thrown at a synagogue in Erfurt.

April 20, Greece
Vandals deface a synagogue and Holocaust memorial in Thessaloniki.

April 26, England
A teenager is imprisoned for attacking a Jewish boy in Bensham.

April 28, Pennsylvania
A Jew and four other minorities are murdered in an apparent hate crime and two synagogues are shot at near Pittsburgh.

April 28, Russia
The car of a Jewish leader is set afire after being covered with swastikas in Borovichi.

May 4, Washington
A 30-by-60-foot swastika is painted next to a freeway on Mercer Island.

May 17, Texas
Three teenagers are arrested in Santa Fe for threatening to hang a Jewish boy.

May 26, Greece
A Jewish cemetery is vandalized in Athens.

May 27, Pennsylvania
Arson destroys a synagogue in Philadelphia.

June 10, South Africa
A bomb injures three people outside a Jewish bagel restaurant in Cape Town. Police blame a militant Muslim group for this and other violence.

June 11, New York
Four Hasidic Jews are stabbed on the beach at Coney Island by a gang of Hispanic youths.

June 29, Massachusetts
A man from Palmer pleads guilty to making anti-Semitic threats against a Jewish college student. He had sent the student a photo of Holocaust victims as a "reminder" and had written "Armageddon is at your door ... kike! — and I am he."