Two Austrian men who publicised myths about coronavirus vaccinations by wearing Stars of David have reportedly been convicted of violating the Alpine republic’s strict anti-Nazi laws.

The two men, who have both refused to be vaccinated, had worn yellow felt stars bearing the word “Ungeimpft” (unvaccinated) at anti-vaccination demonstrations held in Vienna.

A court in Vienna heard that the defendants, known as “Mr K”, 50, and “Mr B”, 34, pled not guilty to infringing upon Austria’s 1947 Verbotsgesetz (Prohibition Act), which not only banned Nazi paramilitary organisations, but made it illegal to publish or broadcast denials or minimisation of the Holocaust. Austria’s Jewish community has recently argued that these laws should be extended to ban the utilisation of Holocaust-related imagery and slogans in order to push anti-vaccination conspiracy theories.

Much of the rhetoric that has emerged from anti-vaccination conspiracy theorists has compared lockdowns to the Holocaust. These crude and inflammatory comparisons have included protesters donning yellow stars bearing the word “Unvaccinated”, a comparison that has been made across the world, including in the United Kingdom, Canada, Ukraine and elsewhere.  

Such symbolism is reminiscent of the kind of insignia that Jews in Germany and occupied Europe were forced to wear by the Nazis. Those wearing such items in 2021 do so in order to compare the persecution of the Jewish people with protective measures sanctioned by the German federal government in order to deal with the pandemic. Anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination networks have become known as hotbeds of antisemitic conspiracy theories and tropes.

The judge handed both men fifteen-month suspended sentences and three years’ probation.

Campaign Against Antisemitism has expanded our coverage of antisemitism worldwide. Please contact us if you would like to share feedback or volunteer to assist with this project.

The defendant in a criminal case that resulted from first-of-its-kind litigation by Campaign Against Antisemitism has been handed an absurdly lenient sentence today at Southwark Crown Court which we are appealing to the Attorney General’s Office, which has the power to refer sentences for certain offences, which she believes to be unduly lenient, to the Court of Appeal.

The eighteen-month sentence, suspended for two years, was the culmination of first-of-its-kind litigation by Campaign Against Antisemitism to unmask an anonymous antisemitic online troll.

When the defendant was unmasked as a result of our litigation, we realised that he was a repeat offender with a long history of obsessive antisemitic harassment. He had committed the offences, for which he was today sentenced, whilst apparently already subject to a suspended sentence for other antisemitic offences. This would appear to demonstrate his contempt for the supposedly deterrent suspended sentences that he had already been handed.

Nonetheless, instead of going directly to prison, the defendant, Nicholas Nelson, 32, was instead ordered to undertake just 30 days of rehabilitation activity and 220 hours of unpaid community service. He must also pay a modest victim surcharge and is subject to a restraining order.

Handing down the suspended sentence, referring to Mr Nelson’s “horrible tirades”, Judge Charles Gratwicke said that the defendant was “not the person you were two or three years ago.” However, he accepted that “Nobody sitting here in this courtroom who has read the newspaper can feel anything but revulsion, sickness and downright anger at the type of hate that you engaged in.”

Mr Nelson had pleaded guilty at Peterborough Crown Court in January to racially aggravated harassment under section 31(1)(b) of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and with sending an electronic communication with intent to cause distress or anxiety under 1(1)(a) of the Malicious Communications Act 1988, after he repeatedly sent abusive antisemitic e-mails and messages to Oscar-nominated Jewish writer Lee Kern and hateful messages to communications strategist Joanne Bell, and harassing a staff member at the Board of Deputies, a Jewish charity, over the telephone.

Mr Kern contacted Campaign Against Antisemitism, which funded a case on his behalf led by Mark Lewis, the esteemed lawyer who is also an Honorary Patron of Campaign Against Antisemitism.

The abusive communications came from accounts that Mr Nelson had worked hard to make anonymous. Victims of abuse from anonymous accounts usually have nowhere to go, because only rarely will the police track down the sender, and the cost of private action is usually beyond victims’ means.

However, a new legal initiative devised by Campaign Against Antisemitism together with counsel breaks through that barrier. It has enabled us to identify the anonymous troll by obtaining a special kind of court order which has its origins in the pharmaceutical industry and has never before been used to unmask an anonymous abuser sending antisemitic messages. The court order requires an internet service provider to disclose details of the owner of an online account so that legal proceedings can be issued.

We used this legal device to identify Mr Nelson and criminal proceedings were commenced, leading to him pleading guilty. Mr Nelson had called for another Holocaust, called Mr Kern Shylock, spoke of Jews being used for gun practice, called Jewish women whores, shared obscene sexual fantasies involving Hitler, and glorified the proscribed genocidal antisemitic terror group, Hamas.

Mr Nelson, who lives in Cambridgeshire and was a vigorous supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, also previously sent abusive messages to two Jewish women Labour MPs, branding one a “vile useless c***” and the other a “traitor” who should “end yourself”. At the end of 2018 he pleaded guilty to the same charge and was given a twenty-week suspended sentence for twelve months and ordered to complete 160 hours unpaid work. In 2020, he pleaded guilty to three charges of sending communications of an offensive nature to two other Labour MPs, one of whom is Jewish and the other is an active campaigner against antisemitism. In addition to the charges that Mr Nelson pleaded guilty to today in relation to Mr Kern and Ms Bell, Mr Nelson also pleaded guilty to harassing a member of staff at the Board of Deputies over the telephone.

Mr Kern said: “I have noted the immediacy with which custodial sentences have been handed out for first time offenders who have engaged in other forms of racism. Yet here we have a repeat offender who has embarked upon an unparalleled campaign of hatred against Jews and has been spared prison again and again. Why are antisemitic hate crimes not deemed as criminal as those of other forms of racism? What exactly does it take for a person found guilty of repeated racially motivated crimes against Jews to actually go to prison? This is a disgrace and an embarrassment and sends a clear signal to Britain’s Jews that when it comes to receiving justice, they don’t count.”

Stephen Silverman, Director of Investigations and Enforcement at Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “Today’s sentence is deeply disappointing. Nicholas Nelson has, for years, obsessively harassed Jews and sent them violent and obscene messages day after day. Instead of sending him to prison where he belongs, Judge Gratwicke has spared a man who deserves no leniency. We are now referring this absurd sentence to the Attorney General’s Office.

“Though the sentence has been regrettable, the fact that Mr Nelson was convicted proves the efficacy of our new legal device to unmask internet trolls who hide behind anonymous e-mail addresses in order to abuse Jewish victims. This game-changing approach is the most significant development in the legal fight against online hate in years. We have been grateful for the cooperation of the police and prosecutors. We will continue to devise innovative legal mechanisms to protect the Jewish community and deliver justice to victims of antisemitism, including in ways previously thought impossible.”

Campaign Against Antisemitism’s analysis of Home Office statistics shows that an average of over three hate crimes are directed at Jews every single day in England and Wales, with Jews almost four times more likely to be targets of hate crimes than any other faith group.

Image credit: JC

Two teenagers have been found guilty of carrying out a hate crime against a rabbi and sentenced in Bonita Springs, Florida.

Seventeen-year-old Tucker Bachman and fourteen-year-old Case Leckbee have been found guilty of criminal mischief when they defaced Rabbi Mendy Greenberg’s home, spray-painting the word “Jew’s” on his driveway, destroying his mailbox, and smashing his car window.

Mr Bachman and Mr Leckbee were reportedly sentenced to community service and a curfew. They also have to attend a Neighbourhood Accountability Board with their parents or guardian, at which Rabbi Greenberg will be present.

State Attorney Amira Fox said: “These juveniles will face their consequences immediately from the community they injured. They will learn of the impact of their senseless behaviour by meeting with leaders of the Jewish community and, together, the community will determine how best to repair the harm.”

Rabbi Greenberg is reported to have said: “I’m not looking for punishment, I’m looking for rehabilitation. For something to be rectified, for a wrong to be righted.”

Campaign Against Antisemitism has expanded our coverage of antisemitism worldwide. Please contact us if you would like to share feedback or volunteer to assist with this project.

Image credit: Lee County Sheriff’s Office

A sixteen-year-old student at Illinois’ Springfield High School has reportedly been arrested and charged with a hate crime for antisemitic writings.

The male student was arrested by the school resource officer on Wednesday at Springfield High School and was also charged with disorderly conduct involving threats to a school and criminal defacement of property.

The student had a hearing on Monday and is being detained at Sangamon County Juvenile Detention Center. Officials are waiting for the results of the student’s psychological assessment.

In response to the incident, a statement released by the Jewish Federation of Springfield said: “The Jewish community here in Springfield, like Jewish communities everywhere, deplores any manifestation or expression of antisemitism. Hostility to Jews as a group, negative stereotyping of Jews, and scapegoating of Jews as responsible for the various ills of society have a long and unfortunate history and have had very sad and tragic consequences over the course of Jewish history.

“We regard any expression of antisemitism, racism, or hate directed against any group in our community with deep concern and remain vigilant about the implicit threat not only to ourselves and to other communities that might be targeted, but also to the fabric of a diverse, pluralistic and democratic society.”

Campaign Against Antisemitism has expanded our coverage of antisemitism worldwide. Please contact us if you would like to share feedback or volunteer to assist with this project.

The New York Police Department (NYPD) has said that antisemitic crimes rose by 400% in February.

Last month, police recorded 56 hate crimes against Jewish people, compared with 11 in February 2021. Additionally, fifteen incidents were recorded in January compared with four in January of last year. The statistics reflected an overall increase in New York crime.

One such incident in February occurred when the words ‘F*** Jews’ were spray-painted three times on a newly opened Israeli restaurant named Miriam on the Upper West Side in New York City on Thursday 17th February. This antisemitic incident occurred at the same time as the Mayor, Eric Adams, was scheduled to hold a meeting to address the increase of antisemitic incidents across the city. 

A separate incident was addressed by Mayor Adams after he lambasted “disgusting” graffiti targeting Jewish people that was found scrawled on the window of a Queens dental office. A photograph shows the word “JEWS” scrawled across a window with a profanity preceding it. The graffiti was reportedly discovered by a rabbi on Saturday, after the Jewish Sabbath had ended, who then reported it to the New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force.

Mayor Adams said in a tweet: “This would be disgusting anytime but it’s especially outrageous as we come to the end of Shabbos. We won’t let this vicious hatred go unanswered in our city.”

Campaign Against Antisemitism has expanded our coverage of antisemitism worldwide. Please contact us if you would like to share feedback or volunteer to assist with this project.

Antisemitic graffiti has reportedly been found in four Toronto schools amid reports of students in the area performing Nazi salutes.

Constable Alex Li of the Toronto Police Service said: “These are being treated as hate-motivated and our Hate Crime Unit is fully engaged…Due to the similarities in each incident, investigators are exploring whether they are linked.”

The schools involved were Central Technical High School, Rosedale Heights School of the Arts and Malvern Collegiate Institute. Antisemitic graffiti was also reportedly found on the playground of Regal Road Junior Public School.

The reports of graffiti are the latest in what appears to be a spate of antisemitic incidents being carried out among Toronto schools.

On 1st February, two students at North York’s Charles H. Best Middle School reportedly displayed swastikas and gave a Nazi salute in front of classmates in an incident that Principal Elever Baker described as “upsetting and unacceptable.”

On 17th February, two students at Valley Park Middle School reportedly performed the Nazi salute to their classmates, while a third shouted “Heil Hitler” from his desk, all in the presence of their Jewish teacher. 

On 24th February, two twelve-year-old students at Pleasant Public School in the North York area of Toronto reportedly performed the Nazi salute when students were asked to raise their hands for a question.

Campaign Against Antisemitism has expanded our coverage of antisemitism worldwide. Please contact us if you would like to share feedback or volunteer to assist with this project.

An alleged Nazi sympathiser currently standing trial in Birmingham has pleaded not guilty to preparing an act of terrorism.

Birmingham Crown Court heard last week that 24-year-old Ben Styles of Leamington Spa posted in an online group called “#Kill All the Jews”, and had begun building a submachine gun to use against Jewish people. He reportedly posted in the online group: “I hope the holocaust is real next time.”

Prosecutors said that Mr Styles told his friend that he was “just getting as strong as possible for the war” and sent screenshots of his phone which used images of swastikas for the background.

Referring to his phone’s background image, Mr Styles reportedly told his friend: “Waking up and seeing this lock screen to start my day is far more important than some non-person NHS clapper shouting at me about primary school history.”

Mr Styles reportedly said of the New Zealand Christchurch terrorist attack:  “I just got back from New Zealand – it made me super racist. Then that happened and I had a good day.”

Prosecutor Matthew Brook told the court that a Nazi fitness manual and a book titled “The SS family yearly – celebrations of the SS family” was found in Mr Styles’ garage, along with the lower part and top part of a homemade submachine gun and shop-bought blanks with manuals which “showed the reader how to convert blank bullets into functioning live ammunition”.

Mr Brook continued: “In this case, the evidence will prove that the defendant, Ben Styles, fully believed in extreme right-wing ideology. That is the twisted ideology of Nazis and white supremacy. The evidence will show that the defendant had collected on an encrypted USB drive instruction manuals about how to build guns and how to make live ammunition.

“When the police searched his home on 15th February last year, they found that he had closely and carefully followed the instructions in one of those manuals and was well on his way to making a homemade submachine gun.

“He had also started to make ammunition. He had also written a manifesto which talked about, in his words ‘working to fulfil my mission’, and set out his views about being in a religious war against the Jews and other targets of extreme right-wing terrorists.

“The evidence will show, it will prove, that the defendant was preparing to commit a terrorist act.”

Campaign Against Antisemitism has been monitoring and acting against the threat from the far-right for years and continues to support the authorities following suit.

Image credit: Google

Three neo-Nazis have pleaded guilty to planning an attack on power grid across the United States.

Jonathan Frost, 24, Christopher Cook, twenty, and Jackson Sawall, 22, each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to provide material support to extremists.

Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen said that “According to these pleas, three individuals engaged in a disturbing plot to attack our country’s energy infrastructure, damage the economy and stoke division in our society, all in the name of white supremacy.” 

It has been reported that Mr Frost and Mr Cook met in an online chat room for extremists in 2019, whereupon Mr Sawall, a friend of Mr Cook’s, later joined. It was here that Mr Cook was said to have disseminated neo-Nazi and white supremacist content. 

The men plotted to use rifles to attack power grids across the States in a plan that they believed, according to the Justice Department, “would cost the government millions of dollars and cause unrest for Americans in the region.”

The Justice Department added that the men “had conversations about how the possibility of the power being out for many months could cause war, even a race war, and induce the next Great Depression.”

The men met in person in 2020 in Columbus, Ohio, where Mr Cook resided. Here, they spread further neo-Nazi propaganda and painted a swastika flag below a bridge.

Timothy Langan, Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, said that the men were motivated by their “racially or ethnically…violent extremist views.” 

Campaign Against Antisemitism has expanded our coverage of antisemitism worldwide. Please contact us if you would like to share feedback or volunteer to assist with this project.

Antisemitic conspiracy theories are believed to have been a contributing factor as to why a man murdered his own family last year.

German police said that the man, who lived in the State of Brandenburg and, before killing himself, reportedly shot his wife and children aged four, eight and ten on 7th December, feared that his children would be taken away from him owing to a forged coronavirus document.

According to Germany’s Interior Ministry, investigators uncovered messages sent by the man that indicated he was fearful that Germany’s vaccine mandates were part of a plan to “to halve the world population and establish a new world order under Jewish leadership.”

Anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination networks have become known as hotbeds of antisemitic conspiracy theories and tropes.

Campaign Against Antisemitism has expanded our coverage of antisemitism worldwide. Please contact us if you would like to share feedback or volunteer to assist with this project.

A prominent Athens bishop has been acquitted by a court of antisemitic rhetoric, with the activists behind the claims being found guilty of “falsely accusing” him.

In 2015, Bishop Seraphim, the Metropolitan of Piraeus, allegedly said that the “international Zionist monster” that “controlled” the left-leaning government in power at the time was to blame for new legislation increasing civil rights among same-sex couples, while five years earlier he told a local television station that Jews were to blame for Greece’s debilitating debt crisis and that they had orchestrated the Holocaust. He later stated that these comments were his personal opinions and not those of the church.

Instead, the two human rights activists were found guilty of “falsely accusing” the Greek Orthodox bishop of racist hate speech by the three-member Athens tribunal and were given twelve-month jail sentences, suspended for three years.

Andrea Gilbert, one of the two activists who works at the Greek Helsinki Monitor rights group, said that the “outrageous” verdict was “representative of the institutionalised antisemitism that exists in Greece.” Ms Gilbert added: “We have immediately appealed and will fight it all the way.”

Ms Gilbert, in addition to the other convicted activist, the Helsinki Monitor spokesperson, Panayote Dimitras, had brought the complaint against Bishop Seraphim in April 2017. The pair accused the Bishop of public incitement to violence and hatred, in addition to abuse of ecclesiastical office.

The accusations referred to a statement that Greece’s Central Board of Jewish Communities, KIS, described as containing “well-known antisemitic stereotypes, conspiracy theories and traditional Jew-hating attitudes.”

Over two years later, their complaint was dismissed by a prosecutor, who argued that the Bishop’s statement should have been viewed within the framework of the Christian Orthodox church. The pair were charged in November and the case was referred to trial by a prosecutor after the Bishop filed his own complaint against the activists for reportedly making false statements.

Campaign Against Antisemitism has expanded our coverage of antisemitism worldwide. Please contact us if you would like to share feedback or volunteer to assist with this project. 

The Mayor of New York, Eric Adams, has lambasted “disgusting” graffiti targeting Jewish people that was found scrawled on the window of a Queens dental office.

A photograph shows the word “JEWS” scrawled across a window with a profanity preceding it. The graffiti was reportedly discovered by a rabbi on Saturday, after the Jewish Sabbath had ended, who then reported it to the New York Police Department’s Hate Crimes Task Force.

Mayor Adams said in a tweet: “This would be disgusting anytime but it’s especially outrageous as we come to the end of Shabbos. We won’t let this vicious hatred go unanswered in our city.”

In a second tweet, Mayor Adams said: “@NYPDHateCrimes is investigating this attack, and make no mistake an attack on our Jewish community is an attack on every New Yorker. We will catch the perpetrators of this assault.”

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards also spoke out against the vandalism on Twitter, writing: “There are no words to accurately describe how hideous and vile this is. Hate cannot be accepted anywhere, but especially not in the World’s Borough. If you spew antisemitism or hate in our borough, you will be caught. You will be prosecuted. You will never win.”

Campaign Against Antisemitism has expanded our coverage of antisemitism worldwide. Please contact us if you would like to share feedback or volunteer to assist with this project. 

A visibly Jewish man was the recent victim of a violent burglary in Stamford Hill.

The man reportedly had his phone stolen during the burglary. CCTV footage shows the Jewish man being violently punched by another man wearing what appears to be a brown jacket and blue jeans.

The incident occurred on St Ann’s Road on 11th February at approximately 15:00 and was reported on Friday by Stamford Hill Shomrim, the Jewish volunteer neighbourhood watch patrol.

If you have any more information, please contact the police on 101 or Stamford Hill Shomrim on 0300 999 0123, quoting reference number: CAD 3703 11/02/22

It was also reported that Hackney Police are looking to speak with a person named Mark Zahra regarding a burglary of a synagogue on Lampard Road which reportedly occurred on Saturday. Anyone with information should contact the police on 101 or Stamford Hill Shomrim on 0300 999 0123, quoting reference number: 4604158/22

Campaign Against Antisemitism’s analysis of Home Office statistics shows that an average of over three hate crimes are directed at Jews every single day in England and Wales, with Jews more than four times likelier to be targets of hate crimes than any other faith group.

CCTV footage captured what appears to be a man performing a Nazi salute to a woman who was pushing two babies in a pram in Stamford Hill.

The man reportedly said: “We don’t want Jews here…heil Hitler.”

The incident occurred on 7th February and was reported on Friday by Stamford Hill Shomrim, the Jewish volunteer neighbourhood watch patrol.

If you have any more information, please contact the police on 101 or Stamford Hill Shomrim on 0300 999 0123, quoting reference number: CAD 4603995/22

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “Police received a report of an antisemitic hate crime that took place in Stamford Hill, N16 at approximately 16:45hrs on Monday, 7th February where a woman and her children were verbally abused by a man.

“Enquiries are ongoing to identify those responsible, including analysis of CCTV footage. There have been no arrests.”

Campaign Against Antisemitism’s analysis of Home Office statistics shows that an average of over three hate crimes are directed at Jews every single day in England and Wales, with Jews more than four times likelier to be targets of hate crimes than any other faith group.