Nearly half of Western European believe that Jews exploit the persecution of their past as a method of extorting money, according to an annual Jewish Agency report released on Sunday.
A joint report on anti-Semitism conducted by the Agency and the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs found that 42 percent of those polled by the University of Bielefeld in Germany agreed that “Jews exploit the past to extort money.
The countries in which the highest percentage of the population agreed with that statement were Poland and Spain.
According to the Jewish Agency, there were more anti-Semitic incidents in 2009 than in any year since the Second World War. In the first three months of 2009 – immediately following Israel’s three-week offensive on the Gaza Strip – there were as many anti-Semitic incidents recorded as in the entire year of 2008.
In France, for example, there were 631 anti-Semitic incidents recorded in the first half of 2009, compared to 474 in all of 2008.
Worldwide, eight people were killed in attacks last year.
The report indicates that there were two murders linked with anti-Semitism in the United States in 2009 – one of a female university student in Connecticut and the other of a non-Jewish guard at the Holocaust museum in Washington, D.C.
This rise in anti-Semitism is stemming from both the political Left and Right, according to the Jewish Agency.
At the press conference at which the report was released, officials referred to a film that has been making the rounds in recent days that charges Israel with stealing organs at the IDF hospital in Haiti.