The interior of Geneva’s main synagogue. Photo: Geneva Jewish community
Antisemitism in Switzerland continues to “persist and grow,” a new report from the country’s main antisemitism monitoring body stated on Wednesday.
In a report detailing the increase in antisemitic incidents during 2022, the Intercommunity Coordination against Antisemitism and Defamation (CIDAD) identified 562 cases in the Francophone part of Switzerland.
The group noted a dramatic increase compared with the previous two years — 165 incidents in 2021, 283 in 2022 — but emphasized that the rise was in part due to the inclusion of additional sources of antisemitism, such as the Telegram social media platform.
The group said that the “considerable number of recorded incidents is due to several factors: a broadening of the sources observed, the very prolific activity in Geneva of a Holocaust denier, and an increase in the number of cases of antisemitism.”
The report went on to assert that the “conclusion is clear: in French-speaking Switzerland, antisemitism persists and continues to grow.” It emphasized that 26 of the incidents had been classified as “grave” or “serious,” compared with 13 in the same category last year.
It identified four distinct sources of antisemitic agitation: the extreme right, which expresses “hatred of Jews and other minorities on a daily basis”; Holocaust denial; conspiracy theories emerging from current issues ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic to the Russian war against Ukraine; and local events that have resulted in antisemitic outbursts, for example, a widely distributed video produced last year that attempted to break down stereotypes of the Jewish community.
A separate survey in the German and Italian-speaking parts of Switzerland noted a six percent increase in the number of antisemitic incidents last year.
The survey — conducted by the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities (FSCI) and the Foundation against Racism and Antisemitism — noted that proponents of conspiracy theories “have in common a belief in a secret power that wants to dominate, enslave or exterminate humanity,” that leads them to focus on Jews.
The survey similarly identified the Telegram channel as a major source of antisemitism, observing that 75 percent of online antisemitic incidents took place on the platform.