An apparent anti-Semitic attack on Tottenham fans in Lyon, France, coincides with the publication of a report showing a 58 per cent increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the country in 2012.
Three Tottenham Hotspur supporters were taken to hospital yesterday after a group of men wearing balaclavas gave Nazi salutes and smashed the windows of the Smoking Dog Pub where Tottenham fans were gathered.
While none of the travelling fans were Jewish, Tottenham Hotspur football club has long been associated with London’s Jewish community.
The fact that the attackers were seen by witnesses flinging their arms in the air in Nazi salutes lends credence to speculation that the attack was motivated by anti-Semitism.
The attack also coincides with the release of a report showing a 58 per cent rise in anti-Semitic attacks in France in 2012.
There were 614 anti-Semitic acts documented in France last year compared to 389 in 2011.
“2012 has been a year of unprecedented violence against Jews in France,” said the report released on Tuesday by the security unit of France’s Jewish communities (SPCJ).
Incidents where victims were assaulted physically or verbally on the street witnessed an increase of 82 percent, to 315 last year compared to 177 cases in 2011, SPCJ said.
This has added to worries that Europe is seeing a resurgence in anti-Semitism.
Earlier this month Italian police arrested three men suspected of being involved in an incident in Rome last November, when Tottenham fans were allegedly attacked in a pub in Rome.
Witnesses described hearing the assailants chanting “Jews” during the attack.
Last year a Europe-wide survey by the Anti-Defamation League found that:
- In Spain, where Jewish civic groups say Spaniards blame their economic woes on the country’s Jews, 72 percent of the population holds anti-Jewish views, compared with 64 percent in 2009.
- In Hungary, 63 percent of the population holds anti-Semitic views, up from 47 percent in 2009.
- In Poland, 48 percent show anti-Semitic attitudes, about the same as 2009.