Shimon Wiesenthal Center ranks the top ten worst antisemitic incidents of 2022

As usual, the Shimon Wiesenthal Center released its ranking of the top ten most prominent antisemitic incidents of 2022 amid a year of rising antisemitism.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) released its list of the top ten worst antisemitic incidents of 2022. The Jewish human rights organisation described “a tremendous increase of Jew-hatred that infected mainstream culture, academics, and media across the world,” reports The Jerusalem Post.

According to SWC Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, “politicians offer words of solace to Jewish victims but failed to take effective measures to curb the attacks, while UN diplomats, cultural and academic elite often legitimise hatred of the Jewish state.”

The list goes as follows:

Telegram, with more than half a billion users, is a leading messaging app. Due to its encrypted messaging and lack of content moderation, it has become a hub for antisemitic groups and movements.

SWC researchers have identified over 400 Telegram groups and channels. The organisation claims that some channels brazenly promote antisemitic tropes and stereotypical images and incites to murder Jews. Neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups openly organise and share propaganda on this platform.

Black Hebrew Israelites, the extremist group, have been active since the early 20th Century and rose to prominence in the ‘80s. Rapper Kanye West and Brooklyn Nets basketball player Kyrie Irving brought the group back into the spotlight in late 2022, with West at the forefront of numerous antisemitic controversies with his scandalous Twitter posts. Irving’s controversy arose when he posted a link to an antisemitic film, due to which he was handed a multi-game suspension.

Both figures’ claims are rooted in the Black Hebrew Israelite Movement’s ideology that black Jews are the true and “rightful” Jews, the “chosen people” of the Bible – whereas the Jews of today are “impostors” who stole their identity.

Instances of antisemitism on college campuses in the United States have been on the rise in the past few years, especially as the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement continues to make a stronghold at universities.

Antisemitic incidents include nails being found in the tires of a Jewish professor’s car, students using class time to accuse Israel of “ethnic cleansing”, and a Jewish professor finding swastikas carved in her office and her keyboard drenched in urine.

Other antisemitic incidents were sparked by anti-zionism, with a professor giving a lecture supporting an armed campaign to destroy the state of Israel and a student group vowing to “never invite a speaker who supports Zionism or the State of Israel.”

Attacks on Jewish people in major global cities have been on the rise. Orthodox Jews are attacked regularly in New York City, especially in Jewish neighbourhoods in Brooklyn. In the US, 63% of religious-based hate crimes have been against Jews; however, the issue is not unique to the States. Numerous antisemitic incidents took place in the United Kingdom in 2022 and elsewhere in Europe; in Germany, synagogues were vandalised, and antisemitic attacks took place at Berlin metro stations.

Incidents at Congregation Beth Israel included a foreign armed terrorist man taking four Jewish hostages in the small synagogue in Colleyville, Texas. However, shortly after the incident, a special agent of the FBI said that the hostage-taker wasn’t specifically focused on “the Jewish community”, a claim which angered many Jewish leaders and sparked disagreement from the victims of the attack, with Hostage Jeffrey Cohen saying “he bought into these very dangerous stories that the Jews control the world, and the Jews control the government, and the banks, and the media.”

Iran’s Center for Jewish Studies published more than 1,000 antisemitic essays in 2022, which contained historical hatred of Jews and anti-Israel screeds “on behalf of the nefarious Khamenei regime,” including the “Blood Libel,” which alleges that the roots of “child-killing” by Zionists in Palestine lies in the Torah. Accusations in the articles included statements that Jews are responsible for paedophilia, drug trafficking, prostitution, and all of Iran’s problems.

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas said that Israel had committed “50 Holocausts” against the Palestinians, a statement which German prosecutors opened a four-month investigation into.

The UN Human Rights Council had compared Israel to Nazis, delegitimising Israel while legitimising Palestinian terrorism, claims the SWC in the report. The Center describes Italian Lawyer Francesca Albanese, who was appointed as the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories earlier this year, as a “walking anti-Israel encyclopedia,” stating that she has expressed sympathy for Palestinian terrorist groups.

Rapper Kanye West attained the number one spot for fuelling antisemitic hate crimes and normalising anti-Jewish hate speech. His anti-Semitic rhetoric also goes in hand with anti-Jewish conspiracy theories spread on social media.