Washington, July 30 — Iran and its Latin American ally Venezuela are chief villains in a global “rising tide of anti-Semitism,” according to a new State Department report on international religious freedom that examined religious tolerance during 2011.
The report also drew attention to anti-Semitic rhetoric and Holocaust denial in Egypt and expressed particular concern about the safety of the country’s Coptic Christian minority.
“This report documents both the Egyptian government’s failure to curb rising violence against Coptic Christians and its involvement in violent attacks,” the State Department said.
“For example, on October 9, 2011, the Egyptian security forces attacked demonstrators in front of the Egyptian radio and television building in the Maspiro area of Cairo. Twenty-five people were killed and 350 injured, most of whom were Coptic Christians. To date, government officials have not been held accountable for their actions, and there were indications in early 2012 of mounting Coptic emigration,” the report said.
“This report also documents a global increase in anti-Semitism, manifested in Holocaust denial, glorification, and relativism,” the report said.
Opposition to Israeli policies often spilled over into blatant anti-Semitism and old ‘blood libels’ and conspiracy theories continued to be spread by some governments.
“ In Venezuela, the official media published numerous anti-Semitic statements. In Egypt, anti-Israel sentiment in the media was widespread and sometimes included anti-Semitic rhetoric and Holocaust denial or glorification. Web sites promoting Holocaust denial operated with Iran's consent,” the report said.
Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner said the Obama administration had designated eight countries as “Countries of Particular Concern” because of their failure to protect religious freedom: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Uzbekistan. “All of these countries have been long-term, chronic, and egregious violators of religious freedom,” Posner said.