Op-Ed: Anti-Semitism and Anti-Israelism in the Czech Republic
"The most dangerous expressions of classic anti-Semitism in the Czech Republic are found on the internet - on neo-Nazi websites such as Národní vzdìlávací institut (National Institute of Education). Extreme leftist websites which attack Israel base their arguments on the "defense of human rights.”
"There are no anti-Jewish riots or similar grave incidents in the country. Some incidents such as insulting Jews, or graffiti on Jewish property have been recorded by police and by the Security Center of the Jewish Community. Hate graffiti on synagogues or Jewish homes are usually removed quickly.
"Vandalism in Jewish cemeteries – such as the much publicized case in Puklice this year – is rarely connected with anti-Semitism. In 2008, bronze plaques from tombstones in the former concentration camp Theresienstadt were stolen. The thieves wanted to sell the bronze and did not act out of anti-Semitic motives. These plaques have since then been replaced with plastic imitations.”
Ivo Cerman is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of South Bohemia in Budweis. He focuses on the history of the Enlightenment and human rights. He has also published studies on early modern anti-Semitism.
He remarks: "News coverage on Israel in the mainstream Czech media is very biased. This developed mainly after the Second Lebanon War in 2006. It further increased after the Cast Lead war against Hamas in 2008 and 2009.
"The Gaza flotilla incident in May 2010 became another turning point. Czech National TV sent journalist Petr Zavadil as an official participant in the flotilla. He was accompanied by cameraman Jan Línek, and the independents Zdenìk Lokaj, a jourmalist and Alexandr Vojta, a movie maker. All four were subsequently arrested and deported by the IDF. (...)