Report on Antisemitism in German-speaking areas of Switzerland in 2018
The Federation of Jewish Communities of Switzerland (Acronyms in German) and the Anti-Racism and Antisemitism Foundation (GRA) published today the 2018 Antisemitism Report on Antisemitism in German-speaking areas of Switzerland in 2018. It shows that the number of physical and verbal antisemitic incidents remains stable outside the Internet. Antisemitic statements and threats on the Internet and in social media continue to raise concern.
In 2018, 42 antisemitic incidents were recorded (without online incidents). This included 1 violent attack, 11 acts of verbal abuse, and 5 acts of hate signs. There were no acts of vandalism. However, it is assumed that a large number of incidents are not reported – SIG and GRA write in a joint media statement. For the reporting year 2018, the report on antisemitism was thoroughly processed. It shows more detailed analyzes and statistics, as well as more comprehensive clarifications regarding definitions and methods.
Compared to other European countries, such as Germany or France, the outcome is less violent antisemitic attacks, the report said. However, the extent of antisemitic statements and threats on the Internet is expected to be at a high level, similar to what is happening in other European countries. More than 90 percent of the incidents documented in Swiss Germany have been recorded on the two social media platforms Facebook and Twitter.
In terms of content, two-thirds of the incidents, including those on the Internet, fall under the category of “antisemitic conspiracy theories” and “antisemitism attributed to Israel.” Antisemitic conspiracy theories are becoming more common for the time being, according to GRA and SIG. According to the claim, antisemitism attributed to Israel often arises due to events in the Middle East, which are identified as factors that initialize and motivate them (triggers). For a limited time, the result is a much larger number of antisemitic incidents. As the report of antisemitism describes it, such initializing and motivating factors (triggers) should be blamed for the eruptions of such waves of antisemitic acts.
The scope of hate speech on the Internet has grown on the Internet, in general, for years. According to the authors of the report, it is clear that most of the antisemitic posts are not published anonymously. Often, the authors appear openly with their recognizable name and profile picture, so they can also be identified. SIG and GRA are of the opinion that there is an urgent need for action on hate speech on the Internet. This demand is directed, on the one hand, to the political system, and on the other hand to those that present and offer social media platforms. They argue that tackling hate speech is urgently needed, and yet steps must be taken that will also be characterized by increased commitment to addressing the public and prevention.