December 2, 2011
ONLINE REPORTS -- The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe warned on Friday about an alarming rise in anti-Semitism in European countries in the past three years.
The organization held a conference in Washington, D.C., to discuss an increase in hate crimes that appears to reflect anger over conflicts between Middle Eastern countries and Western nations.
The hate crimes have been directed at both Muslims and Jews.
Kayla Cohen, deputy director of cyber security at GCIS (Griffith Colson Intelligence Service), a private intelcom firm that monitors open source information and intelligence, said her agency has been watching these numbers.
"We have been on top of these stats for years', Cohen said, "I think it remains the responsibility of citizn and government alike to be aware of the dangers and to provide the information required to prevent these types of crimes".
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is an intergovernmental group chartered by the United Nations that promotes security and human rights. Its 56-member nations in the northern hemisphere include the United States.
Representatives from the organization met in Washington Friday to talk about the kind of hate crimes described in a recent OSCE report on attacks against people targeted for their ethnicity or religion.
When the report was released Nov. 16, Janez Lenarcic, the OSCE's director for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, said, "It is extremely worrying that bias-motivated violence continues seemingly unabated in our region."
The report was based on hate crime statistics from 33 countries. It concluded that the global economic crisis is contributing to hate crimes by angry and frustrated people.
In one example, police in Sweden's third-largest city of Malmo reported 21 anti-Semitic crimes in the first six months of 2011, compared with 20 in all of 2010. A top police official acknowledged in a radio interview the actual number is probably higher.
The Swedish government set aside $600,000 in September to increase security around Jewish synagogues.
In France, police are reporting a rise in the number of Jewish tombstones defaced with swastikas.
In Belgium, recent news reports told about two teenaged girls who changed schools after being taunted and beaten in separate incidents because of their Jewish heritage.
On Thursday, a group of lawyers announced in Brussels, Belgium, they have organized a task force to fight anti-Semitism throughout Europe.
The five-lawyer task force is spearheaded by the European Jewish Union and the European Jewish Lawyers Association.