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Anti-Semitic Incidents See a Sharp Spike in Austria

© REUTERS / Finbarr O'ReillyUltra-Orthodox Jewish men
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men - Sputnik International
Anti-Semitic activity on the Austrian Internet doubled in 2015, reports say.

According to Austrian Forum Against Anti-Semitism, 465 cases of anti-Semitic activity were registered in 2015, and almost half were online posts.

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The total amount of relevant online posts in 2015 is similar in numbers to 2014, but, according to an Austrian interior ministry spokesman, the number of posts that could be used in criminal proceedings has doubled in 2015.

While "anger at Israeli policy in the Middle East" is named by Haaretz as the main driver of anti-Semitism, it is also the rise of far-right movements in the wake of the Paris and Brussels attacks, as well as the migrant crisis, that is seen to correspond to a spike in anti-Semitic activity.

The postings are generally anonymous, says Oskar Deutsch, the president of the Jewish Communities of Austria (IKG), declaring, "The whole picture is terrifying."

It is not only the general population that is affected by the migrant crisis. The Jewish community is threatened as well, as an increasing amount of Muslims is claimed to cause problems for the 15,000 Jews living in Austria.

"There is an increasing concern in our community that — if the proportion of Muslims in Austria continues to rise due to immigration, due to the refugees — this could become problematic for us," said Raimund Fastenbauer, the IKG's Secretary General.

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) in January urged the European Union and its member states to increase efforts to counter expressions of online anti-Semitism.

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