The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Association calls for more resources in the fight against anti-Semitism

Updated at 06 Mar 2024 4:30 am

Following the attack on an orthodox Jew in Zurich on Saturday, the association against anti-Semitism Cicad has called for more resources in the fight against anti-Semitism. Expressing solidarity and condemning the act are no longer enough.

"We are now waiting for more concrete measures", said Johanne Gurfinkiel, Secretary General of the Coordination intercommunautaire contre l'antisémitisme et la defamation (Cicad) in an interview with "ArcInfo" and "Le Nouvelliste" published on Wednesday. "We must take action and propose a national action plan."

Gurfinkiel called for more funding for prevention and awareness-raising in schools, administrations and politics. "This would mean, for example, introducing specific modules in schools dedicated to major current social issues such as anti-racism, homophobia, sexism and anti-Semitism," he said. Such an approach would already correct a number of undesirable developments.

Gurfinkiel: "Massive" rise in anti-Semitism

Gurfinkiel points to the "massive" increase in anti-Semitic acts in Switzerland in recent years, "which exploded once again after October 7 and the start of the conflict between Israel and Hamas". In 2023, almost 1,000 cases were counted in French-speaking Switzerland alone, which corresponds to an increase of 68% compared to the previous year.

He also noted that the approach to anti-Semitic acts is becoming increasingly aggressive: "So the question was no longer so much whether such an event would occur, but rather when it would occur," said Gurfinkiel.

Federal Council wants action plan

At the beginning of February, the Federal Council announced that it would work with the cantons to develop a strategy and an action plan against racism and anti-Semitism. The appointment of a new commissioner to combat these phenomena will also be examined.

On Saturday evening, a 15-year-old Swiss boy with a Tunisian migration background allegedly seriously injured a 50-year-old orthodox Jew in Zurich. He claimed responsibility for his crime in a video in which he expressed solidarity with the Islamic State (IS).

©Keystone/SDA

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