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Antisemitism: data gaps continue to hide the true picture

Incidents of hatred against Jews have been evident throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. Even though in some countries the number of antisemitic incidents decreased, the main problem remains the same across Europe – most incidents still go unreported. Each country collects data differently and some do not collect any data at all. This continues to hamper efforts to effectively tackle antisemitism in Europe, shows the latest annual overview of antisemitic incidents from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).

“Antisemitism is a serious problem. But without the data, we do not know how serious it is. The lack of data also hinders us to effectively counter antisemitism,” says FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty. “EU countries need to step up their efforts to encourage reporting and improve recording and data collection, as recommended by the EU’s recent Strategy on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life. With that we will be better able to tackle hatred and prejudice against Jews.”

FRA’s latest annual overview highlights:

  • Large data gaps remain – few EU countries effectively record antisemitic incidents leading to comprehensive official data. Some countries (Hungary and Portugal) do not collect any official data at all.
  • Covid-19 – antisemitism, especially online, grew during the pandemic. At the same time, FRA’s surveys consistently show that antisemitic acts are heavily under-reported. Such gaps in official data continue to hide the true picture.
  • National strategies – only 13 EU countries have national strategies or action plans to tackle anti-Jewish acts. Six countries (Belgium, Czechia, France, Greece, Hungary and the Netherlands) established cooperation mechanisms with civil society organisations to collect data on antisemitic incidents.
  • IHRA definition – an increasing number of countries are using the working definition of antisemitism developed by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).

FRA’s overview looks at data from international, governmental and non-governmental sources across all EU countries as well as Albania, North Macedonia and Serbia. It compiles available data from 1 January 2010 until 31 December 2020.

This is the latest edition of FRA’s annual reports on data collection of antisemitic incidents across Europe.