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Anti-Semitism on the rise in the Czech Republic

Star of David in a Jewish synagogue in Czech Republic

Prague, Czech Republic – Antisemitism in the Czech Republic has been steadily increasing these past few years, a new reports points out.

Czech Republic saw 347 anti-Semitic incidents in 2018

According to the annual study of the Czech Federation of Jewish communities (FZO), 347 anti-Semitic acts were recorded in 2018, slightly more than the previous years, as the Czech News Agency reports.

Anti-Semitic incidents have been consistently rising during the past decade. While less than 30 such acts were recorded ten years ago in the country, these figures rose to 169 in 2013 and 221 in 2015.

According to the Jewish Federation, most of these anti-Semitic acts took place online and concern hate speech, discriminatory comments and verbal abuse on the internet.

Physical attacks remain marginal phenomenon in Czech Republic

Physical attacks related to antisemitism remain extremely rare in the Czech Republic: only two acts of physical abuse were recorded last year, although the authors of the report also point out that real figures could be higher as victims of such attacks often don’t report them to law enforcement authorities nor press charges.

Three cases of desecration of Jewish inscriptions and symbols were also reported in 2018, along with nine incidents of harassment and verbal insults.

According to a separate Ministry of Interior report, Czech police handled more than a dozen anti-Semitic crimes last year, less than in 2017.

Rise of online hate speech on disinformation and fake news media

“Anti-Semitic hate speech online accounts for nearly 93% of all the recorded incidents”, according to the Federation of Jewish Communities of the Czech Republic, and are often found on far-right or pro-Russian disinformation websites.

Most of these websites continue to spread long-standing stereotypes and conspiracy theories about Jews, including regarding their alleged secret control of the world’s governments, media and economic infrastructure.

The Federation however points out that “the Czech Republic remains a safe country for the Jewish community, compared to others countries in Central Europe and Western Europe”.

Headed by Kafkadesk's chief-editor Jules Eisenchteter, our Prague office gathers over half a dozen reporters, editors and contributors, as well as our social media team. It covers everything Czech and Slovak-related, and oversees operations from our other Central European desks in Krakow and Budapest.