Report on antisemitic incidents in Denmark 2013
An example of one of several “stickers” with extreme right-wing messages found at the entrance to the Copenhagen Synagogue in October 2013 Front page picture: A painted can the appearance of which brings to mind explicit associations with the Holocaust was found on the fence in front of the Copenhagen Synagogue in May, 2013
Published by the Jewish Community in Denmark 1st edition
Contents 1. 2. Executive Summary Introduction 2.1.1. 2.1.2. On AKVAH Contents of the report
Theory and method 3.1.1. 3.1.2. 3.1.3. The concept of antisemitism Categorization of an incident as antisemitic Collection of data
Description and analysis of registered antisemitic incidents in 2013 4.1.1. 4.1.2. 4.1.3. 4.1.4. 4.1.5. Antisemitic incidents in 2013 Overall development from 2012 till 2013 Development from 2012 till 2013 divided into categories Development from 2012 till 2013 divided into months Number of antisemitic incidents as a yardstick of antisemitism in Denmark
Overview of registered antisemitic incidents in 2013 5.1.1. 5.1.2. 5.2.1. 5.2.2. 5.3.1. 5.3.2. 5.4.1. 5.4.2. 6. Assault situations and physical harassment Overview of assault situations and physical harassment Threats Overview of threats Antisemitic utterances Overview of antisemitic utterances Vandalism Overview of vandalism Antisemitism and terrorism 6.1. Suspicious behavior nearby Jewish institutions 6.2. Brief description of suspicious behavior nearby Jewish institutions
1. Executive Summary This report offers a description and analysis of the number of registered antisemitic incidents in Denmark in 2013. The report was drawn up on the basis of cases reported to AKVAH which is part of the security unit in the Danish Jewish Community. In 2013, AKVAH registered up to 43 antisemitic incidents divided into the following categories: assault situations and physical harassment, threats, antisemitic utterances and acts of vandalism. The incidents can be divided into four cases which can be categorized as assault situations and physical harassment, 3 cases of threats, 31 cases of antisemitic utterances and 5 cases of vandalism. It was assessed that out of the 43 registered antisemitic incidents, six incidents only can be characterized as potentially antisemitic. The registered number of 43 antisemitic incidents in 2013 roughly corresponds to the number of registered incidents in 2012 and namely 41. Consequently, no improvement took place despite increased political vigilance as demonstrated for example by a hearing on antisemitism in Copenhagen that was organized by the Copenhagen Municipality in February, 2013. Actually, the hearing led to a number of additional antisemitic incidents and especially so in the case of a young Danish teenager who decided to come forward and tell his story. On the positive side, however, the number of assault situations and cases of physical harassment decreased by half from 8 in 2012 to 4 in 2013 and the number of instances of vandalism decreased from 8 in 2012 to 5 in 2013. Moreover, no cases of discrimination against Jews were registered in 2013. However, the number of threats has remained unchanged so that both in 2012 and 2013 3 incidents were registered and the number of antisemitic utterances rose from 17 to 31. Thus, antisemitic utterances characterize almost 75% of the aggregate number of registered incidents in 2013. A comparison of the number of registered incidents spread over 12 months of a year shows that, in particular, September differs markedly from the rest of the year because approximately one third of the incidents in both 2012 and 2013 took place during precisely that month. During these two years, there were many Jewish Holidays in September and, consequently, there was a larger than usual presence of Jews in the public space nearby Jewish institutions and the Copenhagen Synagogue where many of the incidents occurred. This indicates than an increase in the visibility of Jews in the public space entails an increase in the number of antisemitic incidents.
It is not evident to which extent the number of antisemitic incidents reflects the actual level of antisemitic sentiment in Denmark. First of all, there is some uncertainty whether the number of registered antisemitic incidents reflects the real number of incidents. The real figures probably constitute a bit of a grey area because, as a rule, AKVAH only registers incidents reported by people who approach it. Secondly, it is possible that that the number of antisemitic incidents remains at an artificially low level because many Jews eschew visibility for fear of antisemitism. In other words, one could probably expect a higher number of incidents if Danish Jews were more prominent in the street scene. 2. Introduction 2.1. On AKVAH
In 2011, the Jewish Community in Denmark’s security unit (1) (JSD) set up AKVAH - Section for Mapping and Sharing of Knowledge about Antisemitic Incidents. AKVAH’s activity purports to document occurrences of antisemitism in Denmark. This effort is part of a general European policy designed to highlight a widespread problem of hate crimes including antisemitism which torment Europe (2,3). Therefore, on behalf of the organization Nordic Jewish Security Council (NJSC), AKVAH participates as a cooperating partner in the EU-funded European anti-hate crime project Facing Facts (4). The purpose of the project is to get civil society organizations involved in and to streamline the work of registering hate crimes.
AKVAH also offers various types of support for victims of antisemitism including assistance in approaching public authorities , legal counseling and referral to crisis help. Moreover, AKVAH provides information about occurrences of antisemitism in Denmark. Consequently, AKVAH participates in two projects dealing with discrimination and hate-crimes in Denmark. The first of these projects deals with discrimination supervision and it is run by the Municipality of Copenhagen. In connection with this project AKVAH arranged a number of lectures on antisemitism in Denmark. The second project is conducted by the Police Department on the island of Funen, it deals with hate-crimes on the island and AKVAH participates in this project as a cooperating partner of behalf of the Jewish Community of Denmark. In addition to these two projects, AKVAH pays calls on interested parties – in 2013, AKVAH visited associations and high schools all over Denmark and provided information about antisemitism in Denmark.
The contents of this report
This report contains a description and analysis of the number of antisemitic incidents in Denmark in 2013 which AKVAH registered on the basis of occurrences reported over the course of that year. The report was elaborated on the basis of a comprehensive effort aimed at mapping antisemitic incidents and required the adoption of a significant number of theoretical and methodological choices pertaining to collection, sorting, processing and presentation of data on antisemitic incidents. In this regard AKVAH structured its report work based on three main objectives: the collection, sorting, processing and presentation of data must be methodologically stringent, as open as possible without compromising the identity of the victims and must and it must result in access to useful information about occurrences of antisemitism in Denmark. The report is structured in the following fashion: section 3 of the report presents selected, important aspects of the theoretical and methodological background for the work of registering antisemitic incidents. Firstly, an explanation of what is meant by the concept of antisemitism is provided, followed by a description of how the authors of this report chose to deal with the issue of when to categorize an incident as antisemitic. Finally, an explanation follows as to how the collection of data on antisemitism takes place in real life and what are some of the implications of this approach. Section 4 of this report contains a description and analysis of the registered number of antisemitic incidents in 2013. These incidents are compared with the number of incidents in 2012 by examining whether there was a change in the aggregate number of incidents, whether the breakdown of incidents into various categories did change and, finally, whether there was a shift in the distribution of incidents over the months. Furthermore, the said changes or lack thereof are subject to an analysis. This part of the report is concluded by a section containing reflections as to the extent to which the registered incidents reflect the level of antisemitic sentiment in Denmark. Section 5 of the report contains an overview of registered antisemitic incidents in Denmark in 2013. All of the incidents were described and categorized by incident type and, in addition, they offer – whenever such information was provided by reporting individuals – a variety of details which, potentially, can be used for the purpose of acquiring a better understanding of the phenomenon of antisemitism in Denmark. Section 6 of the report provides an examination of terror threats against Danish Jews. Particular emphasis is placed on suspicious behavior nearby Jewish institutions in Denmark. AKVAH chose to render public information on
this topic in light of the fact that Danish-Jewish institutions operate under a terror threat which it is important to highlight.
“I have scars. These are not scars on my body but on my soul”. (Said by a Danish -Jewish victim of antisemitism during a hearing at the Copenhagen City Hall in February, 2013)
Hearing about harassment of Jews at the Copenhagen City Hall in February 2013.
3. Theory and method 3.1. The concept of antisemitism
Any attempt at recording occurrences of antisemitism presupposes an understanding of what is covered by the concept of antisemitism. In short, antisemitism can be described as a negative prejudice against Jews and hostility or hate aimed at them because they are Jews. However, there is no general consensus as to how broadly the concept of antisemitism is to be perceived (5). A central problem is how to distinguish between antisemitic and anti-Israeli incidents. AKVAH opted to make use of a relatively broad understanding of antisemitism in that negative incidents when randomly chosen Jews are either blamed for the policies of the State of Israel or are directly identified with the existence of Israel, are categorized as antisemitic. 3.2. Categorization of an incident as antisemitic
When AKVAH is notified about a possibly antisemitic occurrence, it makes a decision whether to register the incident or not. In this context, it is important to consider which criteria must be met for the occurrence to be classified as antisemitic. AKVAH chose to define an occurrence as antisemitic when a perpetrator was driven by an antisemitic motive (6). It can never be established with absolute certainty than an antisemitic motive was at play in a given situation. Instead, an assessment originating in an interpretation of available information must be made. As an interpretation tool it is useful to categorize one’s data on the basis of so called antisemitism indicators. These are circumstances surrounding an incident which indicate whether a perpetrator was or was not motivated by antisemitism (7). In theoretical literature various types of indicators are not weighted against each other (8) but AKVAH made the methodological decision to distinguish between primary and secondary antisemitism indicators. As a primary indicator AKVAH defines the actions of a perpetrator which by means of words, symbols, images etc. express carry an antisemitic message. Such an action (as for example the utterance “Jewish pig”) can be an isolated episode or it can take place in connection with another action (for example an assault, an act of vandalism etc.) which is then ”tainted” by the antisemitic contents of the first occurrence. If it is established that such primary antisemitism indicators apply to the first occurrence, AKVAH decided to establish a rule of presumption according to which the perpetrator was driven by an antisemitic motive. In such cases an occurrence is defined as antisemitic unless there circumstances pertaining to the situation which clearly point in a different direction. As secondary antisemitism indicators AKVAH defines the “remaining” circumstances surrounding a situation which can indicate that an occurrence
has an antisemitic character. Among circumstances of this type can be the time of the occurrence, circumstances pertaining to the person performing an act, the location where the act is performed and several other factors and situations. In situations to which only secondary antisemitism indicators apply, it is AKVAH’s methodological policy that no rule of presumption shall apply. Instead, a cautious estimate in a given situation will determine whether an occurrence has an antisemitic character or not. If there are circumstances which point to an occurrence with an antisemitic character but the so-called “smoking gun” is still missing, AKVAH includes such potentially antisemitic occurrences in its overview of registered antisemitic occurrences. However, with the explicit reservation that there is some uncertainty as to whether a perpetrator’s actions were driven by an antisemitic motive. In its overview of registered antisemitic occurrences in 2013 (see section 5) AKVAH included six potentially antisemitic occurrences with the explicit reservation that there was uncertainty as to the antisemitic character of the occurrence. For example, four of these occurrences apply to desecration of Jewish cemeteries. In none of the these cases were there any antisemitism indicators such as antisemitic graffiti or suchlike. The reason why, nevertheless, the four cases were included in the overview of antisemitic occurrences in 2013 – with the explicit reservation that a perpetrator’s motive could not be established with certainty – is that desecration of Jewish cemeteries is a classic example of antisemitic misconduct. In this manner it was deemed that the secondary antisemitism indicator that is “the location of the incident” and absence of circumstances which could disprove the antisemitic nature of the incident in question have provided a sufficient rationale for including such cases of vandalism in the incident overview for 2013. AKVAH includes these potentially antisemitic incidents in its overview of registered antisemitic incidents because the purpose of the overview is to contribute knowledge about the phenomenon of antisemitism in Denmark. If one sets the bar too high with regard to the quality of one’s data, the data will show that the problem is too insignificant in relation to the real scope (10) of the problem and, conversely, if one sets the bar too low. The solution adopted by AKVAH was to find a middle ground between the two above-mentioned approaches, and, therefore, the above six potentially antisemitic incidents were included in the overview of registered antisemitic incidents, but due to uncertainty that surrounds them the term was used that AKVAH registered “up to” 43 incidents. Also, it is explicitly emphasized in the specific descriptions of each one of the six potentially antisemitic incidents that in the situations in question there was uncertainty with regard to the motives of the perpetrator. 3.3. Data collection
Antisemitic incidents are reported to AKVAH by phone, mail and during personal meetings and AKVAH is approached in this way by victims, witnesses and acquaintances of victims. Whenever possible, every approach is examined by means of in-depth interviews and analysis of photographs and video material when available. Despite the examination of reported cases it must be recognized that the foundation of this report on antisemitism in Denmark is only based on how victims and witnesses perceived a given situation. One must bear this in mind when reading about the incidents in the report. It must also be stressed that, as a rule, AKVAH only registers incidents when people report them to AKVAH on their own and, consequently, the real number of occurrences of antisemitism is probably higher. Therefore, there must be some grey area with regard to the numbers. Moreover, AKVAH does not take a stand with regard to antisemitism on the web. Its scope has reached such dimensions that registering it would be an insurmountable task. The only exception to this rule occurs when there is a special reason to deal with a specific website or suchlike (11). 4. Description and analysis of registered antisemitic incidents in 2013 4.1. Antisemitic incidents in 2013 In 2013, AKVAH registered up to 43 antisemitic incidents in Denmark. The incidents can be divided into the following categories (12, 13): 1. Assault situations and physical harassment 2. Threats 3. Antisemitic utterances 4. Vandalism AKVAH registered 4 cases which can be place in the category of assault situation and physical harassment, 3 cases of threats, 31 cases of antisemitic utterances and 5 cases of vandalism (see the graphic presentation in diagram 1). Consequently, it can be established that, in 2013, antisemitic utterances constitute almost 75% of the aggregate number of antisemitic incidents.
Diagram 1: Registered antisemitic incidents in 2013
As mentioned in section 3.2, it was assessed that out of the 43 incidents, there are only 6 incidents which can be defined as potentially antisemitic. These 6 incidents can be divided into the following categories: one of the 6 incidents is falls within the category of assault situation and physical harassment and the remaining 5 incidents are characterized as acts of vandalism. If one chooses to deduct these 6 potentially antisemitic incidents from the aggregate number of registered incidents, one will arrive at the number of 37 antisemitic incidents in 2013. The following comparisons in sections 4.2, 4.3, and 4.4 to the number of registered incidents in 2012 are carried out on the basis of 43 incidents because AKVAH, as mentioned in section 3.2, deems it relevant to include the 6 potentially antisemitic incidents in this report’s overview of registered antisemitic incidents in 2013 (14). 4.2. Development from 2012 till 2013 taken together
The number of 43 antisemitic incidents registered by AKVAH in 2013 roughly corresponds to the number of 41 incidents registered by AKVAH in 2012 (15). Thus, there was no major change in the aggregate number of registered antisemitic incidents from 2012 till 2013. It is noteworthy that the number of incidents did not decrease since 2012. The problem of antisemitism in Denmark has been exposed to extensive media coverage and, consequently, appeared on the political agenda on several occasions. And so, in February, 2013, politicians from the Civic Representation of the Copenhagen Municipality held a hearing on antisemitism in Copenhagen. The hearing ensued from notices in the press to the effect that Danish Jews were advised
not to place their children in schools in the Copenhagen neighborhood of Norrebro. The purpose of the hearing was to focus on antisemitism in Copenhagen. Paradoxically, it later turned out that the hearing itself gave rise to further antisemitic incidents. A young Danish Jew who decided to come forward during the hearing and, consequently, on national TV, to tell about his experiences with antisemitism was, at a later stage, exposed to threats and several antisemitic utterances on the part of people who recognized him due to his appearance on TV (this case is described in a more detailed fashion in section 5). This story clearly illustrates that focusing on antisemitism in Denmark carries a price. 4.3 Development from 2012 till 2013 divided into categories Although no major change occurred in the number of registered antisemitic incidents, there was, however, a shift in the division into categories of the incidents from 2012 till 2013 (see the graphic illustration in diagram 2). As a positive change, the number of assault and physical harassment incidents decreased by half from 8 in 2012 to 4 in 2013. The number of acts of vandalism also decreased by almost half from 8 in 2012 to 5 in 2013. Whereas there were 2 occurrences of discrimination of Jews in 2012, in 2013 there were no registered occurrences. On the other hand, the number of registered threats remained unchanged with 3 registered incidents in both 2012 (16) and 2013 and the number of registered antisemitic utterances rose from 17 to 31 incidents (17). To conclude, let it be mentioned that in 2012, 3 cases of suspicious or threatening behavior were registered nearby the Jewish School in Copenhagen. In 2013, it was decided not to include such incidents in the aggregate number of registered antisemitic incidents (18). However, it is relevant to make them public knowledge and they will be presented at the end of this report (section 6) (19). Despite the changes that occurred from 2012 till 2013, it can be concluded that antisemitic utterances still prevail as the dominant form of antisemitism in Denmark. With regard to the shift in the breakdown of incidents into categories no conclusive reasons can be quoted. Therefore, it must be assumed that the main reason must ensue from natural fluctuations from year to year. However, it is noteworthy that the number of antisemitic utterances almost doubled from 2012 till 2013.
Diagram 2: Development from 2012 till 2013 divided into categories
4.3. Development from 2012 till 2013 divided over the months of the year
If one looks at the breakdown of incidents over a period of 12 months of a year, one will notice a rather even and identical breakdown in both 2012 and 2013 (see graphic presentation in diagram 3). In both years, with the exception of September (2012 and 2013) and February (2013) there were between 0-4 antisemitic incidents a month. In particular, September (both in 2012 and 2013) differs from other months of the year in that markedly more antisemitic incidents took place during that month. In 2012, 14 (20) incidents took place in September and 16 in September, 2013. Consequently, one third of the incidents in a whole year took place in September.
A possible explanation is that during these two years there were many Jewish Holidays in September (21) and that, consequently, there was a larger than usual presence of Jews in the public space around Jewish institutions and the Copenhagen Synagogue. When one analyses the character of the incidents in September, it will appear that several of these incidents take place near synagogues (5 of the incidents in September, 2013). It is therefore a well-founded assumption that an increase in the visibility of Danish Jews in the public space entails an increase in the number of antisemitic incidents.
4.4. Number of antisemitic incidents as a yardstick of the level antisemitism in Denmark To conclude, it makes sense to make a few comments on the extent to which registered antisemitic incidents can be used for the purpose of interpreting the level of antisemitism in Denmark. It ensues from section 3.3. that there is some uncertainty as to the extent to which the number of registered antisemitic incidents reflects the real number of incidents that took place in 2013. The section shows that registered incidents are based exclusively on victims’ and witnesses’ perception of a given situation. It also appears that the real number of antisemitic incidents in Denmark is somewhat of a grey area as AKVAH, as a rule, does not itself search for information about antisemitism. Nor does AKVAH track antisemitic material on the web because this type of work requires too many resources.
In addition to problems pertaining to the number of registered incidents, there is also uncertainty as to the extent to which the registered antisemitic incidents can be used for the purpose of interpreting the actual level of antisemitism in Denmark. In this connection one may note that most Danish Jews only very rarely display their religious affiliation in public. It is also an educated guess that only one third of the total number of Danish Jews are members of a Jewish congregation (22) and, therefore, visible Jewish institutions such as a synagogue are only visited by a limited number of Danish Jews. If one. If one compares the last two bits of information with the conclusion in section 4.4 that an increase in the visibility of Danish Jews in the street scene apparently entails an increase in the number of antisemitic incidents, then there is ample indication that it is not the lack of potential perpetrators but, actually, the generally low visibility of Danish Jews that is the main reason why the number of registered antisemitic incidents is not higher. In other words, one could expect the number of antisemitic incidents to rise if Danish Jews were more prominent in the street scene.
A crucial question is now why Danish Jews are not more visible in public? AKVAH did not examine this issue in a systematic fashion and although one possibly could point out a variety of various factors which cause the Danish Jews to keep a low profile it would nevertheless be reasonable to assume that many Danish Jews are highly aware of the risk of being visible in public. It is therefore a justified assumption that the number of antisemitic incidents remains at an artificially low level because many Danish Jews deliberately avoid visibility for fear of antisemitism. If one accepts this interpretation, then the registered number of up to 43 antisemitic incidents in 2013 hardly reflects the real level of antisemitic sentiment in Denmark.
5. Overview of registered antisemitic incidents in 2013.
This section presents up to 43 antisemitic incidents that were registered in 2013. As previously mentioned, it was assessed that out of the 43 incidents, 6 incidents only could be defined as potentially antisemitic. It will explicitly appear from the descriptions below which specific incidents are here referred to.
The up to 43 incidents are divided into 4 different categories:
1. Assault and physical harassment 2. Threats 3. Antisemitic utterances 4. Vandalism
Each description of an incident contains information, if provided, about the perpetrator, the victim, the month and the location where an incident took place, and more general information about the incident including circumstances which served to assign the incident into one of the above 4 categories including circumstances that show the antisemitic motive behind the incident. In the future, an in-depth analysis of the above information will possibly be used to deepen the understanding of the phenomenon of antisemitism in Denmark. 5.1.1. Assault and physical harassment This category covers every type of assault or physical harassment aimed at one or several persons including stone-throwing. The category also includes cases of failed assault that is cases when a potential either managed to put up a successful defense or fled and also cases when a victim was not hit by a stone thrown at it. In 2013, there were 4 incidents which can be characterized as assault or physical harassment. With regard to one of these incidents it is not obvious whether the motive was antisemitism. 5.1.2. Overview of assaults and physical harassment January, 2013 An old Jew with a cap on his head is assaulted by an ethnic Danish male at a train station in Copenhagen. The perpetrator shouts antisemitic utterances such as “Fucking Jew” or “Jewish pig” and he hits and kicks the victim several times. The victim has several of his teeth knocked out. Spring, 2013 During a softball tournament at school with the participation of several hundred of pupils from many different schools in Copenhagen, a 13-year old Jewish boy stands in the middle of a group which numbers both his classmates and a group of Palestinian boys from another school. Some of
the Jewish boy's classmates tell the Palestinians boys that it is funny that they are Palestinians and that he is Jewish. One of the Palestinian boys asks the Jewish boy: "What's your name? Because then my dad will come and kill you". The Jewish boy doesn't answer and moves away from the group. One of the Palestinian boys throws a stone at him. May, 2013 In Copenhagen, an elderly, Danish-Jewish man gets waylaid by a group of Middle Eastern looking young men who notice that he is wearing a Holocaust commemoration badge (Jizkor) with an Israeli flag on his coat. They ask him: "Are you Israel?". The man answers that he is Danish. The group then asks him whether he is Jewish. He doesn't answer and moves away from the group. One of the young men runs after him and knocks off his hat and his cap. The Jewish man runs after him but in vain. Another one of the young follows the Jewish man all the way to the doorstep of his apartment. Nothing more happens because the other members of the group eventually manage to convince their friend to stop. June, 2013 A group of school pupils from a neighboring school walk past the premises of the Jewish school and kindergarten in Copenhagen and two Middle Eastern looking boys who bring up the rear decide to stop and throw three stones inside the kindergarten. The teacher who leads the group did not notice anything. Afterwards, the principal of the stone-throwing boys' school is notified about the incident and says that he will get in touch with the boys' parents. However, it is not evident that the boys' behavior was motivated by antisemitic sentiment. 5.2.1 Threats The category covers specific threats directed at individuals, groups or institutions. Vague or general threats are not included and, instead, they are included as general antisemitic utterances. In 2013, 3 incidents were registered and they can be characterized as specific threats aimed at specific individuals, groups or institutions. 5.2.2 Overview of threats At 20.30 in the evening, during a visit in Copenhagen, an Israeli, capwearing rabbi walks into a 7-Eleven store located in the walking mall near the City Hall Square in Copenhagen. Inside the store he encounters two Middle Eastern looking men. One of the men looks at him and strokes his throat with his forefinger in a throat-slashing gesture. The rabbi hurries away.
September, 2013 A man, presumably from Greenland, walks past the Copenhagen Synagogue and says to the guard who stands outside that "all Jews must die. There is a bomb in the synagogue tonight and all the Jews shall die". The police get notified and they pick up the man who was obviously intoxicated. September, 2013 A Jewish teenager who, on several occasions was insulted in 2013 after being presented as a victim of antisemitism at a hearing arranged by politicians from the Civic representation of the Copenhagen Municipality (see below) gets a call from an unlisted number. The caller introduces himself as someone from the TV. He says that the TV would like the youngster to appear on a show and tell about his experiences and that they should meet. The Jewish teenager hears people speaking Arabic in the background and says that he doesn't believe that the caller is from the TV. This causes the man to call him "a Jewish pig" and say that "he knows where the youngster lives". Then, the youngster hangs up. 5.3.1. Antisemitic utterances The category is an overriding, overall designation of derogatory, hateful, prejudiced and similar utterances aimed at an individual, a group or an institution. However, antisemitic utterances can however be heard, read or generally perceived by people who are not specifically targeted by these utterances. The category encompasses both written and oral utterances and utterances which contain a symbolical language in the form of pictures, sounds and suchlike. In 2013, 31 incidents which can be characterized as antisemitic, were registered. 5.3.2. Overview of antisemitic utterances February, 2013 Seven young Middle Eastern looking young men walk by the Copenhagen Synagogue in the evening. When they pass by the guard at the entrance to the synagogue, one of the young men suddenly shouts: "Israel is going to die". February, 2013 A Danish-Jewish man on his way to the synagogue suddenly overhears a Middle Eastern looking boy who stands on the sidewalk opposite the entrance to the Copenhagen Synagogue together with a group of boys who
look very much like him. The boy says "Jew pig" and spits on the ground. Angrily, the Jewish man approaches the boys and says that he is Jewish and that they had better beat it. The boys take off. February, 2013 In Copenhagen, a few weeks after his appearance at a hearing on antisemitism organized by the Copenhagen Municipality in February, 2013, a young Danish-Jewish teenager is recognized by two Middle Eastern looking men. One of the men points out the Jewish teenager and says: "that's the guy". The other man shouts "Jew pig". During the hearing the teenager told various TV media about countless cases of harassment and assault motivated by antisemitism that he had been exposed to. February, 2013 (3 incidents) On several occasions later on, the same Jewish teenager is insulted by various users on Facebook. One person wrote: "You fucking whore, who the fuck do you think you are?? Fucking Jew pig, Nazi pig! You fucking whore! Go and fuck yourself and shoot yourself you Jew dog". Another person writes: "Get a life and shoot yourself" (24). A third person writes: "Fucking Jew". March, 2013 A Jewish nine years old boy asks an ethnically Danish classmate at a local municipal school somewhere on the island of Zealand for his phone number. The classmate refuses because "he is not allowed to give his number to Jews". The class teacher is notified about it and confronts the school pupil about his utterance. The school pupil explains that he only did as told back home. March, 2013 A non-Jewish tenant in a housing project in the neighborhood of Norrebro is visited by a non-Jewish acquaintance from Belgium who has dark features. A few Middle Eastern looking men catch sight of him in the yard of the housing project and shout at him "Jew pig". May, 2013 Early in the morning, a Swedish man attaches a can to the fence outside the Copenhagen Synagogue. The can had the shape of a can with Zyklon B gas which was the type of gas used by the Nazis in the extermination camps. On earlier occasions, the Swedish man carried out an identical act in Stockholm. He was put on trial but he was acquitted because the court
held that the act was within the boundaries of artistic freedom of expression. June, 2013 Four Middle Eastern looking 15-17-year-old boys took up positions in front of the Copenhagen Synagogue where they started battering the fence and spat on the grounds of the Synagogue. When asked repeatedly to leave the area and warned that the police would be notified the boys answered by spitting and shouting: "Fuck Israel", "Fuck the Jews" and "Allah U Akhbar". June and September, 2013 (4 incidents) A Danish-Jewish youth soccer club is exposed to gross antisemitic catcalls in connection with four different soccer games in Copenhagen (one match in June and the three others in September). During one of the matches the "Heil Hitler" salute was heard. July, 2013 During a soccer game in a 1st division soccer match, a professional soccer player with a Danish mother and an Israeli father hears someone shouting "Jew pig" at him. The perpetrator turned out to be a fan of the soccer player's own club. The club reacted by banning the perpetrator from all of the club's activities. August, 2013 A group numbering among others Belgian Jews walks down the street after attending prayers at the Copenhagen Synagogue on a Saturday morning. There are about 8-10 persons in the group and they are wearing caps. A silver-colored car slows down when passing the group and the driver shouts angry words at them. August, 2013 In the neighborhood of Osterbro, a group of Jews of whom some wear caps hear someone shout from the window of a car: "Fucking Jews". The accent is clearly Middle Eastern. September, 2013 A presumably East European man shouts outside the Copenhagen Synagogue: "The Jews have their own country. Now, they are taking over everything. Make room for the Jews. They took over Ukraine. And now, they are taking over Europe and "Heil Hitler". September, 2013
Two elderly, ethnically Danish men walk past the Copenhagen Synagogue and then one of them says in a hateful tone to the guard who stands outside the synagogue: "Do you serve pork here?" The other man says to the first while they walk on: "Well, these guys are ok". September, 2013 A middle-aged, ethnically Danish man walks by the entrance of the Copenhagen Synagogue and hisses either "Nazis" or Racists". September, 2013 A passer-by shouts "Fucking Jews" and "Go back to your country" outside the Copenhagen Synagogue. September, 2013 (2 incidents) Presumably, a man from Greenland who, on earlier occasions, made a bomb threat against the synagogue, on two occasions at least, shouts antisemitic insults at cap-wearing Jews in the Copenhagen Royal Garden and near the Copenhagen Synagogue. September, 2013 A group of young, Danish Jews get talking to a Greek in a Copenhagen bar and he finds out that they are Jews. Later in the evening, the Greek joins the group again and, unprovoked, declares that Israel destroys his world outlook. He says that he wonders how as a Jew it is possible to accept the treatment meted out to Palestinians by Israel. He says that one must be an evil person if one sides with Israel and that Jews are dishonest and cheats and that Israel created an apartheid state. September, 2013 Three Middle Eastern looking men walk past the Copenhagen Synagogue and one of them makes a Nazi salute. October, 2013 In broad daylight, a group of ethnically Danish men who were all wearing a kind of camouflage outfit with green jackets, caps and suchlike walk past the Copenhagen Synagogue and shout various antisemitic slogans and also "Six mi-ll-ion – ha ha ha // six mi-ll-ion ha ha ha". They also place several "stickers" at the entrance to the yard of the Synagogue. The stickers read: "Denmark for Danes" and "Danes, this is your country, become active, Denmark's National Front". October, 2013
A svastika carved into an inner wall was found at the Royal Theater in Copenhagen in connection with a commemoration of the rescue of Danish Jews in October, 1943. However, it was not possible to establish whether the Nazi symbol had been there for a longer period of time or whether it had been carved in the wall due to the commemoration. October, 2013 During a class excursion to Germany, a Jewish teacher at a Copenhagen school notices that two pupils with a Middle eastern background make Nazi salutes in class and comment that it was a shame that Hitler did not finish the job. November, 2013 In the same school where a Jewish teacher noticed pupils making Nazi salutes, a Muslim girl declares in class that all Jews must die. The Jewish school teacher hears about it from a teacher colleague who was present during the incident in class. When the Jewish teacher confronts the pupil regarding the latter’s utterance, the pupil apologizes. November, 2013 During a “lantern party” at a kindergarten when all the kids carry a small battery-driven lantern and sing a special lantern song, one of the kids’ lanterns breaks down. The kid is up in arms but her favorite minder immediately reacts and comforts her. However, the kid’s Jewish grandmother overhears the minder’s comforting words: “This is because a Jew made the lantern”. 5.4.1. Vandalism The category covers acts of vandalism targeting Jewish property or institutions. In 2013, 5 incidents were registered which can be characterized as acts of vandalism targeting Jewish property or institutions. However, in all of these cases it is not clear whether the acts were motivated by antisemitic sentiment. 5.4.2 Overview of acts of vandalism May, 2013 A Jewish cemetery in the neighborhood of Norrebro in Copenhagen is desecrated in connection with the Copenhagen Street Festival called Distortion September, 2013 (3 incidents)
A Jewish cemetery in Horsens is vandalized three times within two weeks. The first time seven gravestones are overturned. The gravestones are righted and glued. One week later, 15 gravestones are overturned. The third time, also a number of gravestones get overturned. December, 2013 In connection with an event at the Copenhagen City Hall celebrating the Jewish Hanukkah, a large eight-arm candlestick is set up and lighted at the City Hall Square. After lighting of the candlestick, the participants enter the City Hall leaving behind the unprotected candlestick. When the organizers return later on, they notice that the candlestick was overturned and slightly damaged. It is assumed that due to its weight the candlestick was overturned deliberately. 5. Antisemitism and terrorism 6.1. Suspicious behavior near Jewish institutions For many years now, antisemitism and terrorism have been intertwined. In a report from 2010, the British NGO Community Security Trust establishes that since 1968 there have been 437 registered terror attacks and failed or interrupted terror plans aimed at Jewish and Israeli targets outside of the Middle East (25). As far as the more specific terror threat aimed at Danish Jews is concerned, one can point out a number of circumstances that confirm that such a threat has existed for a very long time now. In the 1980s, a Danish terror group called “the Blekinge gang” established what the press named a “Jewish dossier” which contained information about a great many Danish Jews (26). In July, 1985, the Copenhagen Synagogue was bombed by Arab terrorists which meant that ever since all Jewish institutions in Denmark had to install security equipment. Later in 1985, a Jewish store was bombed. In 1988, a Polish-Jewish club was firebombed. In 1999, a Danish woman, Ulla Lyngby, was detained in Israel because she had tried to smuggle money into Israel. It later turned out that the woman had cooperated with a Palestinian terror gang which planned to assassinate the then chief rabbi of Copenhagen, Bent Melchior and Herbert Pundik, editor-in-chief of a major Danish daily, Politiken (27). In 2009, an American Moslem, David Headley who was subsequently convicted of terror activity, traveled to Denmark where he photographed a number of different locations including the Copenhagen Synagogue (28). Since Danish Jews are exposed to a real terror threat which requires gathering of information in order to be implemented, AKVAH deems it relevant to render public information on suspicious behavior near Jewish institutions in Denmark.
A number of incidents that can be characterized as suspicious behavior have been registered near Jewish institutions. As it is assessed that there is a great deal of uncertainty regarding the purpose of the said suspicious behavior, AKVAH decided not to add incidents in this category to the aggregate number of antisemitic incidents in 2013. However, as it is still deemed relevant to visualize incidents of this type, it was decided, instead, to present an illustrative extract in this separate section of the report. 6.2. Extract of cases of suspicious behavior near Jewish institutions January and June, 2013 On two occasions in 2013, two women who had no real business being there, circled the Jewish school in Copenhagen which is surrounded by a fence and metal doors. On both occasions, the women were taking photographs of the school grounds. March, 2013 A car drives up to the front entrance of a Danish store. A man who had no real business being there gets out of the car, crosses over to the opposite side of the building and takes photographs of the building. Then, he drives off. April, 2013 A man with no real business there stops in front of the entrance to the Copenhagen Synagogue and takes a number of pictures of the lock on the gate.
(1) In January, 2014, the Danish Mosaic Religious Community (Mosaisk Troessamfund) decided to change its name into the Danish Community in Denmark (2) Both in England and France, the Jewish communities publish reports on antisemitism. See for example: http://www.thecst.org.uk/docs/Incidents%20Report%202012.pdf http://dl.antisemitisme.org/REPORT%202012.pdf (3) In 2013, the European Agency for Fundamental Rights made a survey of how Jews in a number of European countries (but not Denmark) experience and perceive: http://fra.europa.eu/en/publication/2013/technical-report-fra-survey-discrimination-andhate-crime-against-jews-eu-member. (4) http://www.ceji.org/facingfacts/ (5) There is uncertainty in theoretical literature as to how to define antisemitism. In 2005, the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (now the European Agency for Fundamental Rights) elaborated a working definition of antisemitism which many NGOs have been using: http://www.european-forumonantisemtism.org/working-definition-of-antisemitism/dansk/danish. For info on the background of the definition also see: http://thecst.org.uk/inex.cfm?Content=6. However, in 2013, the European Agency for Fundamental Rights decided to abandon this working definition without offering an alternative: http://www.jta.org/2013/12/04/news-opinion/world/eu-anti-racism-agency-unable-todefine-antisemitism-official-says. In this report AKVAH decided to rely on the aforementioned working definition of antisemitism. With the reservation, however, that, in practice, one can be confronted with situations that force one to expand or narrow down one’s understanding of Antisemitism. (6) In this context as well, AKVAH was inspired by the afore-mentioned working definition. However, with the same reservation as mentioned in footnote 5. In order to see an example of a wider understanding of when to classify an incident as antisemitic, see the entry in the British NGO Community Security Trust: http://www.thecst.org.uk/index.cfm?Content=6 (7) In this context, AKVAH is inspired by the concept of prejudice indicators which are used to establish whether a hate crime was committed. See for example: http://www.ceji.org/media/Guidelines-for-monitoring-of-hate-crimes-and-hatemotivated-inicdents-PROTECTED.pdf, p. 13-15 (8) Ibid., p. 13-15 (9) Ibid., p.14-15 (10) AKVAH was not created until 2011, but the Jewish Community in Denmark (previously the Mosaic Religious Community) has been registering antisemitic incidents in Denmark for the last ten years and these numbers show that antisemitism is a problem. To get an overview of these numbers, see for example: Nielsen, Flemming Steen & Therkel Straede (ed.)(2009): Hate of Jews in Danish media. Denmark’s Media Museum, Copenhagen, p.58 (11)As an example one can mention that, in 2013, a Jewish teenager was insulted by several users on Facebook (the incidents are described in a more detailed fashion in section 5).
(12)A number of modifications of categories were carried out since last year’s report. First, the name of the category antisemitic assault was changed to assault situations and physical harassment. Second, the name of the category verbal antisemitism was changed to antisemitic utterances. This changes are made for the sake of linguistic accuracy. Third, the category threats which was a sub-category of the category verbal antisemitism became a category in its own right. This change is due to the fact that incidents which are categorized as threats are deemed to have such a serious character that they stand out from other types of antisemitic utterances and should, consequently, represent an independent category. Taken together, these changes do not affect the comparison of the number of incidents in 2012 and 2013. (13)Moreover, in last year’s report, discrimination incidents and incidents which were categorized as suspicious or threatening behavior near the Jewish school were registered. In 2013 no discrimination incidents were registered. With regard to the other category that is suspicious or threatening behavior near the Jewish school, in this year’s report AKHVAH decided not to include such incidents in the aggregate number of antisemitic incidents in 2013. See section 4.3 and footnote 18 for further comments. (14)In this content it must be mentioned that although the analysis in the following sections was based on lower numbers which obtain if one disregards the potentially antisemitic incidents in both 2012 and 2013, this would not impact on the overriding conclusions of the report. It appeared from last year’s report that up to 40 incidents were registered. Moreover, AKVAH has registered an additional incident in 2012 which was categorized as a threat and therefore the aggregate number of incidents is 41. Based on the victim’s testimony, the incident can be described in the following fashion: In September, 2012, a Jewish woman walks into a pizzeria in Copenhagen. The woman wears a long skirt and a blouse buttoned all the way up to the collar. An ethically Danish male customer in his mid-forties turns to the woman, questions her about her peculiar clothes and asks whether she is a member of some strange religious congregation as for the example the Amish. The woman answers that she is Jewish and that she doesn’t think that her religion is strange. The customer gets very upset, raises his voice and keeps hollering for the next 7-8 minutes. He tells the woman to go back to Israel where all the Jews come from. He says that the Jews are responsible for the economic decay in Europe and that they run the world from an economic point of view. Moreover, the man says that Israel is bombing and killing little children and that Barack Obama is also Jewish. He says that she ought to be killed and that all Jews ought to be killed and that all Jews must be exterminated. In the beginning the woman tried to protest but becomes increasingly shocked as the man is getting ever more furious. Eventually, she picks up the pizzas and almost runs out of the pizzeria while looking over her shoulder. To her great relief, the man does not follow her. After this episode the woman stopped wearing a David’s star (on that day, by the way, she did not wear it). (16) Notice that only one of the threat incidents in 2012 is d escribed in this report’s footnote 15. (17) It appeared from last year’s report that 19 incidents of verbal antisemitism were registered in 2012. In this report the term verbal antisemitism was changed into antisemitic utterance. Two of these 19 incidents were about threats which, in this report, were registered in a category of their own. In order to compare the number of antisemitic utterances mentioned in this year’s report with the number of incidents mentioned in last year’s report it is necessary to deduct the number of threats from the number of antisemitic utterances which were mentioned in last year’s report. In this way one reaches the number of 17 incidents of antisemitic utterances in 2012. (18) Motivated by the March 2012 terror attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse in France, AKVAH decided in last year’s report to include incidents categorized as suspicious or threatening behavior
near the Jewish school in Copenhagen into the aggregate number of antisemitic incidents. In this year’s report AKVAH decided that such incidents would not be part of the “aggregate count” as it must be recognized that there is too much of uncertainty in connection with the antisemitic aspect of these incidents. In this way AKVAH makes its method (more) compatible with registration of antisemitism as it is practiced in other European countries. See for example: http://www.tcecst.org.uk/docs/Incidents%20Report%202012.pdf. p29 (19) AKVAH decided that it is relevant to inform about suspicious behavior near all Jewish institutions in Denmark. Suspicious behavior near the Jewish school shall therefore be presented under this more general category in section 6 of the report. (20) Notice that one of these September incidents is only described in this report's footnote. (21) The Jewish calendar differs from the Gregorian one so that the dates of Jewish holidays can vary in relation to the latter. (22) See for example: http://www.mosaiske.dk/om-mt and http://jewmus.dk/dk/faq (23) Even taking into consideration that a sizable part of non-members of the Jewish Community in Denmark visit visible Danish, Jewish institutions, it is reasonable to assume that including their number shall not add up to the aggregate number of Jews in Denmark. (24) The statement was abbreviated due to security considerations. (25) http://www.thecst.org.uk/docs/CST%Terrorist%20Incidents%201968%20-%202010.pdf, see p. 3 (26) For example read: Knudsen, Peter Ovig (2008): The Blekinge Gang. Complete extended edition. Gyldendal publishing house. Copenhagen, p. 476 ff. (27) For example read: http://www.information.dk/214425 (28) For example read: http://ekstrabladet.dk/112/article1245390.ece It is noteworthy that is hinted, albeit indirectly, in an editorial in Berlingske, http://m.b.dk/?article=1837155-Hvor-er-den-danskeforbindelse that the Synagogue was never a goal in itself but, on the contrary, just a tool which David Headley could use to get closer to his target and, namely, the cultural editor of the newspaper Jyllands-Posten whom he mistakenly took for a Jew. However, AKVAH believes that even if one adopts this thesis, it just cannot be denied that David Headley or his accomplices in Pakistan, although they erred about Rose's faith, may have planned to carry out a terror attack against the Synagogue. Pictures: Front page picture: A painted can the appearance of which stirs associations with the Holocaust was set up on the fence in front of the Copenhagen Synagogue in May, 2013. Page 2; Example of one of many "stickers" with radical right-wing messages was found at the entrance to the Copenhagen Synagogue in October, 2013. Photo: JSD Page 6: Upper picture – Slideshare.net/NarendraMalhotra Lower picture – Martin Lehmann/Politiken Page 8: JustNU Page 11: Jspace Page
13: Paul Prescott/Fotolia.com Page 14: Photo: JSD Page 17: Photo: Horsens Municipality/JSD Page 18: B.T. – Jan Soegaard, Bent Melchior was to be murdered on Tuesday, March 28, 1989 Page 20: Photo: JSD