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Estonia, 20 other nations condemn surge in hate incidents in wake of Israel war

Riigikogu Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Marko Mihkelson (Reform).
Riigikogu Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Marko Mihkelson (Reform). Source: Riigikogu Press Service/Erik Peinar

Estonia has joined 20 other European nations in a joint statement condemning a recent spike in both anti-semitic and anti-islamic attacks, following developments in Israel and Gaza since early October.

The statement was signed by both the European Parliament and the chairs of 21 parliamentary foreign affairs committees Europe-wide, and read: "We, the chairs of the foreign affairs committees of our respective national parliaments, condemn the surge in hate and violence plaguing our nations and the world since Hamas' horrific attack against Israel on October 7."

"We are witnessing an alarming rise in anti-semitic and anti-muslim bigotry and violence which has included acts of online hate, verbal assaults, vandalism, the desecration of Holocaust memorials and cemeteries, intimidation, death threats, and physical attacks," the statement goes on.

"We urge our governments to intensify all efforts to safeguard Jewish and Muslim communities, to condemn these actions when they occur, and to implement our national strategies to combat the dark tide of bigotry and hatred," the statement adds.

Anti-semitic hate crime investigations alone have tripled on year in New York and London, the signatories say, while in France, 1,040 anti-semitic incidents were documented in the month following the October 7 attack.

Both Jewish and Muslim community organizations have reported of incidents in many other countries, while the statement notes that religious or otherwise easily identifiable Jews and Muslims have been disproportionately targeted, compared with members of other groups.

"None of this is acceptable. As stated by the European Commission, 'No one should live in fear of discrimination or violence because of their religion or their identity," the statement concludes.

Riigikogu Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Marko Mihkelson (Reform, pictured) signed the statement on behalf of Estonia, joined by his counterparts in a wide sweep of European nations both inside and outside the EU, namely: Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the U.K. and Ukraine, plus the European Parliament.

Recent protests in Paris and London and in other cities in France and Britain have called for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Riots broke out in central Dublin, Ireland, on Thursday night following an incident at a school in which several children were injured in a knife attack. The head of the Garda Síochána has said the rioters, some of whom have chanted anti-immigration slogans, represent a "complete lunatic faction driven by far-right ideology."

Postimees reported on Monday that in Tartu, an on-street sign commemorating a synagogue which existed at the site until World War Two was defaced with a crudely etched swastika symbol and the number "88", often taken to be a far-right trope.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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