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Last Updated: Monday, 17 November, 2003, 12:13 GMT
Rabbi warns of race hate attacks
Dr Jonathan Sacks
Chief Rabbi Dr Jonathan Sacks fears a rise in anti-Semitism
The suicide bombings on Turkish synagogues are evidence of a global rise in anti-Semitism, Britain's chief Rabbi has warned.

Dr Jonathan Sacks said a new wave of attacks on Jews was going unchallenged and he demanded action from political and religious leaders worldwide.

"Radicals are preaching hate and nobody is protesting," he said.

The attacks on two synagogues in Istanbul on Saturday left 23 people dead and 303 injured.

Dr Sacks, speaking on Radio 4's Today programme, said extremist groups, probably with links to al-Qaeda, were targeting communities where Jews and Muslims had lived together in "peace and goodwill" for centuries.

He said attacks on Jewish sites including schools, cemeteries and synagogues across Europe showed anti-Semitism was on the rise everywhere.

It is about time political and religious leaders throughout Europe and the world said 'no'
Dr Jonathan Sacks
Chief rabbi

"There has been a global outpouring of hate in the last two to three years which has been quite devastating," he said.

Incitement to violence

"What we have here is a demonstration of Edmund Burke's famous statement that all it takes for evil to flourish is that good people say nothing.

Dr Sacks also pointed to anti-Semitic propaganda being broadcast in Syria and Egypt and inflammatory speeches by political leaders.

He said moves to counter anti-Semitism were clearly not working.

"It is about time political and religious leaders throughout Europe and the world said 'no'. I want them to be aware and act rapidly when there is any incitement to violence."

Dr Sacks said race hate should be policed and the perpetrators brought to court.

About 20,000 Jews, mainly in Istanbul
Influx after expulsion from Spain in 1492
17 synagogues in Istanbul

Most of those killed in Saturday's attacks in Istanbul were Muslim Turks, who lived, worked or were passing by the synagogues when the explosions occurred.

Six Jews were also among the dead.

One of the blasts tore apart the facade of Neve Shalom - Istanbul's biggest synagogue and the symbolic centre of the 25,000-member Jewish community in the mostly Muslim nation - just as hundreds of people inside were celebrating a boy's bar mitzvah, the Jewish coming of age ceremony.

Three miles away in an affluent neighbourhood, the other blast hit the Beth Israel synagogue, where some 300 people were attending a ceremony marking the completion of a remodelled religious school.

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