Combating antisemitism: more targeted measures needed

08/11/2013
FRA is today presenting the first comparable figures on Jewish people’s experiences of antisemitic harassment, discrimination and hate crime in the EU. On 8 November, the eve of the anniversary of the anti-Jewish pogroms that took place 75 years ago, it needs to be acknowledged that while Member States have made sustained efforts to combat antisemitism, the phenomenon is still widespread.

 

Results:

This report, which covers responses from 5,847 Jewish people in the eight countries in which some 90% of the estimated Jewish population in the EU live, will thus be a vital tool for EU decision makers and community groups to develop targeted legal and policy measures.

“Antisemitism is a disturbing example of how prejudice can persist through the centuries, and it has no place in our society today. It is particularly distressing to see that the internet, which should be a tool for communication and dialogue, is being used as an instrument of antisemitic harassment,” said FRA Director Morten Kjaerum. “While many EU governments have made great efforts to combat antisemitism, more targeted measures are needed.”

Key findings:

  • 66% of respondents consider antisemitism to be a major problem in their countries, while 76% said the situation had become more acute over the last five years.
  • 21% of all respondents have experienced an antisemitic incident or incidents involving verbal insult, harassment or a physical attack in the 12 months preceding the survey. 2% of respondents had been victims of an antisemitic physical attack over the previous year.
  • Under-reporting: 76% of victims of antisemitic harassment did not report the most serious incident to the police or any other organisation.
  • Under-recording: limited data-collection mechanisms in many EU Member States mean that antisemitic attacks remain under-recorded.
  • Antisemitism is considered the fourth most-pressing social or political issue across the countries surveyed, below unemployment, the state of the economy, and concerns about government corruption (see Table 1 in report).
  • Three-quarters of respondents consider online antisemitism to be a problem (see table below).
     
Assessment of manifestations of antisemitism according to country (% of respondents who said that a given form of antisemitism is ‘a very big problem’ or ‘a fairly big problem’ in the country)
 

BE

DE

FR

HU

IT

LV

SE

UK

Average of 8 countries (%)

Antisemitism on the internet

85

67

85

86

87

52

68

64

75

Antisemitism in the media

70

40

71

73

59

37

54

52

59

Expressions of hostility towards Jews in the street or other public places

74

48

84

72

30

16

51

35

54

Desecration of Jewish cemeteries

42

46

74

79

41

56

34

35

50

Antisemitic graffiti

52

30

69

69

61

21

29

26

45

Vandalism of Jewish buildings and institutions

54

33

78

52

43

23

30

31

45

Antisemitism in political life

51

30

50

84

36

35

41

34

44

The survey also showed significant differences between countries, which frequently demonstrates their differing histories and traditions, and also patterns of immigration in recent decades. For example,

  • In the UK, 9% of respondents said they had often heard the statement “Jews are responsible for the current economic crisis,” while this figure rose to 59% for Hungary.
  • The survey found that while in Latvia only 8% of survey respondents said the Israeli-Arab conflict had a large impact on how safe they felt, the figure rose to 28% for Germany and was as high as 73% in France.

In response to the findings of the survey, FRA has formulated a number of suggestions for decision makers, including:

  • EU Member States need to record Jewish people’s experiences of fundamental rights violations effectively and comprehensively.
  • Public figures should publically condemn antisemitic statements.
  • The EU and its Member States must work urgently to find effective ways of combating the growing phenomenon of online antisemitism, for example exploring the option of establishing specialised police units that monitor and investigate hate crime on the internet, as well as encouraging reporting of antisemitic web content to the police.

Background: hate crime

Antisemitic attacks are a form of hate crime. Today’s survey report is published together with FRA's annual antisemitism overview, which brings together statistical data on antisemitic incidents collected by governmental and non-governmental sources. Together, the two reports complement the Agency’s considerable body of work on hate crime. This includes data on the experiences of groups such as lesbian, gays, bisexual and transgender people, Roma and other ethnic minorities. FRA’s annual Fundamental Rights Conference, in Vilnius on 12-13 November 2013, will focus on hate crime.

The reports below, the online data visualisation (where results for each country can be seen), media memo, methodology Q&A, videos and victims’ quotes can be found in the press pack online.

  • Discrimination and Hate Crime against Jews in EU Member States: Experiences and Perceptions of Antisemitism
  • Antisemitism: Summary overview of the situation in the EU 2001–2012

For further information please contact:
media@fra.europa.eu
Tel.: +43 1 580 30 642
 

Notes to editors

  • 5,847 Jewish people aged 16 or over took part in the survey. The results cover eight Member States in which some 90% of the estimated Jewish population of the EU live.
  • The survey was carried out online in accordance with expert recommendations.
  • The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) is mandated to provide evidence-based advice to EU and national decision makers, thereby contributing to more informed and better targeted debates and policies on fundamental rights
Downloads: 

Media memo - FRA’s survey on discrimination and hate crime against Jews in EU Member States

[pdf]de en fr he hu it lv nl ro sv (91.32 KB)