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Friday, 20 October, 2000, 15:00 GMT 16:00 UK
Alarm over anti-Semitic attacks
burnt-out car
A car was set ablaze in an anti-Semitic attack in Strasbourg
By Middle East analyst Roger Hardy

A group campaigning against anti-Semitism has criticised the international community for staying silent over a spate of anti-Jewish acts around the world - acts it says are directly linked to the continuing violence in the Middle East.

The group, the Vienna-based Simon Wiesenthal Centre, has recorded more than 200 anti-Semitic incidents in the first two weeks of clashes between Israelis and Palestinians. About half that number occurred in France, it says.

An Israeli minister has called it the most serious wave of anti-Semitism since the Second World War.

French President Jacques Chirac has spoken out in an attempt to reassure the Jewish community after a spate of attacks against synagogues and other Jewish targets in France.

Other countries affected include the United States, Canada and South Africa.

Stabbing

In Britain, an Algerian man has been charged with attempted murder following the stabbing of a Jewish student on a London bus.

Some Jewish groups are linking such attacks to the fact that Europe and North America are now home to big Muslim communities.

But groups campaigning against racism warn that far-right extremists may be responsible for at least some of the incidents.

There can be little doubt that events in the Middle East are fuelling tension between Jews and Muslims.

Media images of the violence in the Middle East have had a powerful effect - and appear to be kindling passions in countries thousands of miles away.

But in Britain, Jewish and Muslim leaders are doing their best to maintain calm within their communities, stressing that there is a big difference between anti-Semitism and legitimate criticism of Israel.

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12 Aug 00 | Europe
German alert over Nazi marches
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