CST Blog

Terrorist Incidents Against Jewish Communities and Israeli Citizens Abroad, 1968–2010

27 July 2011

17 years ago today, a car bomb exploded in the early hours of the morning outside Balfour House, in north London, which housed the offices of the Joint Israel Appeal and other Jewish and Israeli charities. A day earlier, another car bomb had detonated outside the Israeli Embassy in central London. The two bombs injured 20 people and caused extensive damage to the buildings. Two years later, two Palestinian former student activists linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Samar Alami and Jawad Botmeh, were sentenced to 20 years in prison for the two bombings.

This was the last successful terrorist attack against a Jewish or Israeli target in the United Kingdom, but it was certainly not the last time that terrorists of one type or another would attempt such an attack in Britain; and there have been several deadly terrorist attacks against Jews in other countries since then.

A new report from CST, Terrorist Incidents Against Jewish Communities and Israeli Citizens Abroad, 1968–2010 (pdf), lists 427 successful terrorist attacks and foiled or aborted terrorist plots, directed against Jewish or Israeli targets in 57 countries outside Israel, since 1968. The first edition of this book, which was published in 2003 by CST and the Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya, Israel, was the first time that this history of post-1967 anti-Jewish terrorism had been comprehensively collated. This edition, published solely by CST, includes an updated chronology of attacks, an expanded analysis and new statistical tables. It provides an invaluable aid to Jewish security professionals and volunteers, law enforcement agencies, governments, academics and others interested in the study of terrorism, antisemitism, political and religious extremism and the terrorist threat to Jewish Diaspora communities.

Terrorism against Jewish communities and Israeli targets abroad represents the most violent aspect of contemporary antisemitism, and the greatest physical danger to Diaspora Jewish communities. Antisemitic conspiracy theory, extremist ideology and irrational hatred combine with the rational calculations of political violence to threaten the lives of ordinary Jews and others all over the world. This ongoing terrorist threat to Jews demonstrates in the starkest terms why Jewish communities require security at their synagogues, schools and community buildings, and that an attack on a Diaspora Jewish community is also an attack on the state and its capacity to protect its citizens.

As the tragic events in Norway last week remind us, terrorism comes from many different sources. This report includes attacks and plots by neo-Nazis, Marxist-Leninists, anarchists, Palestinian and other Arab nationalists, revolutionary Iran and its surrogates and radical Sunni Islamists. The organisations responsible for the largest numbers of attacks, both successful and foiled, during the period covered by the report are the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and its various affiliates, with 35 attacks; the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), with 31 attacks; Abu Nidal’s Fatah Revolutionary Council (FRC, 24 attacks); Al-Qaeda and its affiliates (19 attacks); and Hizbollah (14 attacks).

The early 1980s saw the highest number of attacks, which coincided with the largest number of terrorist attacks against all other targets, in Europe and Latin America. This was the era of revolutionary Marxist-Leninist terror groups that evolved out of the post-1968 New Left movement, which received help from Soviet Bloc states and which forged ideological and tactical alliances with Palestinian terror groups. The collapse of the Soviet Bloc and the signing of the Oslo Accords led to a dramatic reduction in terrorism against Jewish and Israeli targets outside Israel in the second half of the 1990s. However, the first decade of the twenty-first century saw the growth of global jihadi and neo-Nazi terrorism, replacing old sources of terrorism with new ones.

The report demonstrates that many terrorists do not make a clear distinction between Jewish and Israeli targets outside Israel, either in their ideology, their propaganda or – most importantly – in their targeting. For this reason, both types of target are included in the Chronology of Terrorist Attacks and Plots, which forms the main body of this publication.

You can download a copy of the report here; or hard copies are available on request at [email protected]

CST Terrorist Incidents 1968 - 2010-front cover

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