Antisemitism hits historic high in Austria

With 965 incidents, antisemitism in Austria reaches all-time high in 2021 since documentation began 20 years ago.

Last year, a total of 965 antisemitic incidents were reported to the Reporting Office for Antisemitism of the Jewish Community of Vienna (IKG), an increase of 65% compared with 2020 (585 incidents), reports The Jerusalem Post.

This was the highest number of recorded antisemitic incidents since documentation began 20 years ago. The number only represents those that were brought to the attention of the authorities, and “it must be assumed that there is a larger number of unrecorded incidents” since “the report counts only those antisemitic incidents that were reported and that, following evaluation by the experts at the Reporting Office for Antisemitism, were found to be clearly antisemitic under the IHRA definition,” the report said.

The largest number of incidents occurred in May, a total of 167, which the IKG attributed to the military escalation between Palestinian terrorists and Israel, along with the extremist far-right activity connected to the coronavirus pandemic.

The second highest number was 113 antisemitic incidents in November, presumably due to new measures to prevent coronavirus and the announcement of vaccine mandates.

Most of the reported antisemitic incidents took place on social-media networks. The number of incidents reported on the basis of personal perception was 292, while 131 incidents were recorded in online environments.

IKG secretary-general Benjamin Nägele said: “The two main reasons for the rise in antisemitic incidents during 2021 were right-wing extremists participating in the demonstrations against the corona measures as well as antisemitic demonstrations pretending to be criticizing the State of Israel. Additionally, there is an increasing number of community members who are willing to report such incidents, providing us with a clearer understanding of the dimension regarding antisemitic cases in Austria.”