Cases of anti-Semitism in Brazil have increased more than tenfold since the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7 and the start of the war in the Gaza Strip, according to a report from the Brazilian Israeli Confederation (Conib) obtained by CNN.
Last month, the organization detected 467 cases of social media posts or public events that were offensive to Jewish people, compared to 44 that occurred during the same period in 2022, an increase of 1,061%.
All these messages or statements constitute, in the opinion of lawyers linked to Conib, an offense of prejudice, a non-bailable and imprescriptible offense (there is no legal deadline for the authors to be punished by the courts).
In October, 15 complaints were received per day, a much higher average than a year ago, when there were fewer than two cases per day.
This is why a series of crime reports were presented to federal and state public ministries and police stations specializing in racial and intolerance crimes throughout Brazil.
From public figures to social media users who comment on posts, they have been targets of legal action.
Lawyer Andrea Vainer, director of Conib, explains that there has always been voluntary action by legal professionals to detect expressions of prejudice against the Jewish community and that this content does not constitute legitimate criticism, for example. example, of a government or the way in which it is run. military campaigns.
More than 40 attorneys work to draft and present criminal information based on the identification of what qualifies as a bias crime.
“We are dealing here with people who make analogies with Nazism and Adolf Hitler, or who attack the Jewish people in a prejudiced and generalized way,” says the lawyer, who highlights a “frightening” increase in this type of demonstration since terrorist attacks. the attack on October 7 and Israel’s reaction against Hamas.
“The week before the conflict, we did not register any complaints, but in the first week, there were already more than twice as many comments on the networks and anti-Semitic messages that had reached our attention, either through official channels , or through informal channels. means,” says Andrea.
In addition to the lawyers’ work, members of the Jewish community have compiled cases of hate speech and intolerance against Jews to support their legal complaints.
Virna Wulkan is one of the volunteers who works to monitor social media and other public content in this regard, including graffiti and vandalism. Like her, there are nearly 750 people across the country.
“The legal basis for these actions is the same legislation that punishes crimes of racism and which was strengthened in January of this year,” explains Virna, referring to the text sanctioned by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
“It is important that people know how to differentiate between the policies of a state or the government of a people. There are Jews who criticize the policies of the State of Israel. It is not only unfair but also criminal to make comments and attack the community as a whole. »
The growth of anti-Semitism and offensive content has been recorded in several countries around the world, such as the cases documented by Conib and which could become criminal actions in Brazil.
In New York, the anti-Semitism cybersecurity monitoring system had detected a 1,200% increase in biased messages against Jews in the first week after the conflicts began, a percentage close to that seen in Brazil.
See also: Children know there is war, says Brazilian woman who works at preschool in Israel