GENEVA, May 28 — The office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said Tuesday that it was concerned at the rise in anti-Semitic incidents taking place in a number of European countries and the United States.
In a media statement issued here, the office said that just in the past week, after a significant increase in anti-Semitic incidents in Germany, the government has urged Jews in parts of the country to consider avoiding wearing kippas (skullcaps) in public, in order not to draw attention to their race and religion.
And in Austria, it said, a number of pictures of Holocaust survivors displayed in a street exhibition entitled “Lest we forget” in central Vienna have been vandalized not once, but three times.
“Initially, swastikas were painted on the faces of the survivors, and then on Sunday night large sections of the faces on the pictures were cut out,” the statement said.
“These events in Germany and Austria cannot, unfortunately, be described as isolated, with other European countries also experiencing increases in acts of vandalism, including of Jewish businesses and gravestones,” said Marta Hurtado, spokesperson for the office.
According to the UN rights office, acts of physical violence against Jews have also increased in a number of countries in recent years.
The worst incidents have taken place in the United States, where 11 people were killed during an attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh last October, and in April a woman was killed and three other worshippers were injured in another attack on a synagogue in Southern California.
“The rise in attacks targeting Jews, along with other groups targeted because of their race or religion, is a matter of grave concern, and we urge all governments to redouble their efforts to combat racism and related intolerance in all its forms,” the UN office said. – xinhua