Nearly 1,000 anti-Semitic incidents in Austria in 2021, Jewish community group says

VIENNA — Anti-Semitic incidents hit an all-time high in Austria last year, according to a report released Friday.

The statistics, compiled by the Jewish Community of Vienna, recorded 965 incidents in 2021 – the highest number since the organization began documenting them 20 years ago. This figure represents a 65% increase over the previous year, when 585 incidents were recorded.

“The challenge of rising anti-Semitic incidents is a global phenomenon and we are working closely with all parts of society to combat rising anti-Semitic incidents,” said Oskar Deutsch, chairman of the Jewish Community of Vienna.

Of the incidents reported in 2021 in the Alpine nation of 8.9 million, the majority – around 60% – were accounts of “abusive behavior”, including comments and messages in person and online. The second largest category, which accounted for 27% of total incidents, was mass mailings and literature containing anti-Semitic messages and stereotypes.

About 1% of total incidents involved assaults or attempted assaults, 2.5% threats and 10% damage and desecration.

By far the largest proportion of incidents – 461, or 48% of total incidents – could be attributed to people supporting right-wing, far-right and neo-Nazi movements. About 15% came from left-wing individuals and 11% from Muslims. A quarter of the incidents could not be attributed to a particular demographic group.

Demonstrators hold a sign with a crossed out swastika during a rally one year after the formation of a government by the conservative parties Oevp – FPOe on December 15, 2018 in Vienna. (ALEX HALADA/AFP)

Most of the incidents included in the report involved long-recognized forms of anti-Semitism, such as Holocaust revisionism, Israel-related commentary and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

However, coronavirus-related anti-Semitism – such as comparing the treatment of people who refused to get vaccinated or wear a mask to that of Jews under the Nazis – accounted for 28% of all recorded incidents in 2021.

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