War in Gaza spurs hate crimes against Muslims, Jews in US, Europe

War in Gaza spurs hate crimes against Muslims, Jews in US, Europe

IANS Photo

Washington, December 17 (IANS) A seven-year-old Palestinian-American boy was killed while his mother was injured by their landlord in Illinois state of the U.S. ten days after Hamas attacked Israel on October 7.

Around a month later, a 69-year-old Jewish man was killed during a dueling pro-Israel and pro-Palestine rally in California.

In November, three Palestinian college students were shot and injured in Vermont.

The cycle of violence continues feeding of escalated anti-Semitism and Islamophobia sweeping across the U.S and indeed in other parts of the world in the aftermath October 7 attack and the invasion of Gaza by Israel.

Anti-Defamation League, which tracks anti-Semitism around the world, also reported an incident in Paris which on Tuesday.

“A man entered the office of a kindergarten director who is Jewish, brandished a large knife, and said, ‘You’re a Jew. You’re a Zionist. Five of us are going to rape you & cut you up like they did in Gaza’,” the group said in a post on X.

There has been a marked increase in both anti-Semitism and Islamophobia since October 7. ADL has said it recorded 2,031 anti-Semitic incidents between October 7 and December 7, which is 337 per cent more than the 465 incidents recorded over the same period in 2022.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, an advocacy group for Muslim Americans, has said it has received 2,171 complaints of anti-Muslim and anti-Palestinian bias.

The rift has been playing out in U.S. colleges where anti-Semitism reached an alarming level that ended in the resignation of the president of one of the top universities following a congressional hearing.

At another congressional hearing, FBI director Christopher Wray said: “The reality is that the Jewish community is uniquely targeted by pretty much every terrorist organisation across the spectrum. And when you look at a group that makes up 2.4 per cent, roughly, of the American population, it should be jarring to everyone that that same population accounts for something like 60 per cent of all religious-based hate crimes, and so they need our help.”

“This is a threat that is reaching, in some ways, sort of historic levels,” he said.

A similar escalation is underway across the Atlantic Ocean. London Police has said that they had recorded a 1,353 per cent increase in anti-Semitic offenses this month compared to the same period last year, while Islamophobic offenses going up by up by 140 per cent after the October 7 attacks.

“Regrettably, despite the increased presence of officers we have seen a significant increase in hate crime across London," police said in a statement.

“This includes abuse directed at individuals or groups in person or online, racially or religiously motivated criminal damage and other offenses.”

Authorities in France and in other European countries have reported a similar spike in anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.