From the JN Staff

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) released Monday its second comprehensive report on discrimination and hate crimes against Jews in the EU, finding that an overwhelming majority of the 16,500 self-identified Jewish respondents feel that anti-Semitism is getting worse. This was the largest survey of Jewish people ever conducted worldwide, covering 12 EU member states, which are home to over 96 percent of Europe’s Jewish population; it follows the first survey of its kind in 2012, which covered 7 states.

The 2018 survey paints a distressing picture:

■ 89% say anti-Semitism has increased in their country over past five years

■ 85% say anti-Semitism is a serious problem

■ 89% says anti-Semitism is “most problematic” on the internet and social media

■ 28% experienced some form of anti-Semitic harassment in the last year.

■ 34% avoid visiting Jewish events or sites

■ 38% have considered emigrating because they no longer feel safe as Jews in the country where they live

■ 52% say they do not report anti-Semitic attacks because, in their view, nothing will change

Notably, those who say anti-Semitism is “a very big” or “a fairly big” problem rose significantly in the UK from 48% in 2012 to 75% in 2018, in Germany from 62% to 85%, and in Sweden from 60% to 82%.

French Jews, the largest community in Europe, have the highest level of concern at 95%, followed by Belgian Jews at 86%. Danish Jews ranked 12th among the 12 countries studied in their level of concern.

The American Jewish Committee (AJC), the global Jewish advocacy organization, is urging concerted initiatives by European governments to confront rising anti-Semitism.

“The FRA conclusion that anti-Semitism has become ‘normalized’ across the EU is simply unacceptable,” said AJC CEO David Harris, who met with European officials In Brussels ahead of the report’s release, and who began alerting European leaders to the resurgent wave of anti-Semitism as early as 2001. “Each European country surveyed by the FRA, indeed all EU members states, have a moral responsibility to study the report’s unique, valuable data — and step up efforts to confront the anti-Semitism cancer that threatens not only Jews, but, no less, the democratic fabric of European societies.”

Responding to the findings, World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder said: “On behalf of the more than 100 Jewish communities affiliated with the World Jewish Congress, both in Europe and across the globe, I wish to thank the FRA for producing this comprehensive and detailed report, and for its strong expression of encouragement to policymakers across the EU to take heed of the troubling findings.

“The results of this unprecedented survey are shocking, but sadly unsurprising,” Lauder said. “How can one be surprised by these results, when in Chemnitz, Germany, anti-Semites practicing the Nazi salute were allowed to march while the police stood idly by; when in France, Marine La Pen, whose father was a virulent anti-Semite was almost elected president; when in Austria and Hungary, the FPO and Jobbik, both of which were originally founded by neo-Nazis, are now the second largest parties and members of the governing coalition; and when in the UK, Jeremy Corbyn is the leader of the Labour party.

“What is going to stop the rampant spread of anti-Semitism in Europe is not just physical security enhancements, but education. The 2018 FRA report highlights the need for every student around the globe to learn about the Holocaust and the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis against Jews across Europe. Fewer and fewer students know about the Holocaust, and this is a trend which must stop now. Governments in Europe must also work on developing long-term solutions to combat the rise of antisemitism across the continent,” Lauder said.

The FRA polled 16,500 Jews in 12 EU Member States – Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.