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The key findings, which make for a sobering read, are:
The important information provided in this report can support policymakers across the EU in stepping up their efforts to ensure the safety and dignity of all Jewish people living in the EU.
Over 70 years after the Holocaust, Jews across the EU continue to experience antisemitism in the form of vandalism, insults, threats, attacks and even murder. The persistence and prevalence of antisemitism hinders their ability to live openly Jewish lives, free from fears for their security and well-being, as the survey from 2018 and the first survey from 2012 show.
Many antisemitic incidents are not reported. In addition, FRA found official data on reported antisemitic incidents to be missing in eight EU Member States for 2017. But only with robust and reliable data can the fight against antisemitism be effectively fought. These survey findings provide policymakers with the evidence they need to refine existing or devise new courses of action to prevent and counter antisemitism.
The online survey took place during May and June 2018. Based on experiences with the 2012 survey, FRA used online surveying. This allowed respondents to complete the survey when and where it was most convenient for them, at their own pace, and in their national language. The online method also allowed all interested self-identified Jewish people in the survey countries to potentially take part and share their experiences. In addition, it was the method which could be easily used to cover all selected countries equally.
FRA also carried out the survey in Latvia. Given the low responses to the online campaign in Latvia, a different methodology was applied. This limits the scope for comparisons between Latvia and the other survey countries.
The survey was open to individuals aged 16 years and over who consider themselves Jewish – based on religion, culture, upbringing, ethnicity, parentage or any other reason – and who were living in one of the survey countries. The results are based on 16,395 Jews in 12 EU Member States – Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. These Member States are home to over 96% of the EU’s estimated Jewish population. The Latvian results are annexed.
The survey report also contains quotes from respondents.
Comparisons are possible for the seven countries included in both surveys – Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Sweden and the UK. However, due to the nature of an open online survey, the comparison should be read with caution as it is affected by several factors.
The findings in this report are based on survey responses of Jewish people in 12 EU Member States. The survey builds on the Agency’s first survey in 2012. The set of questions and number of countries were extended from 8 to 12 countries.
The survey was open to individuals aged 16 years and over who consider themselves Jewish – based on religion, culture, upbringing, ethnicity, parentage or any other reason – and who lived in the survey countries when the survey was carried out.
The survey asked respondents about their opinions on trends in antisemitism, antisemitism in everyday life, personal experiences of antisemitic incidents, witnessing antisemitic incidents and worries about becoming a victim of an antisemitic attack. The survey also provides data on the extent to which respondents consider antisemitic acts against the Jewish community – such as vandalism of Jewish sites or antisemitic messages in the broadcast media or on the internet – to be a problem in the countries.
The survey collected data on the effects of antisemitism on respondents’ daily behaviour and their feelings of safety, and how they respond to security fears. There were questions about personal experiences of specific forms of harassment or physical violence, including frequency, the number and characteristics of perpetrators, and reporting incidents to organisations or institutions. The survey collected data about personal experiences of feeling discriminated against on different grounds and in various areas of everyday life – for example, at work, school, or when using specific services, reporting incidents and the reasons for non-reporting. The survey also explored the level of rights awareness regarding antidiscrimination legislation, victim support organisations and knowledge of any legislation concerning the trivialisation or denial of the Holocaust.
The survey was carried out across 12 EU Member States: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom between May and June 2018. These Member States are home to over 96% of the EU’s estimated Jewish population.
FRA also carried out the survey in Latvia. As there were only 30 responses to the online dissemination campaign in Latvia, changes in recruitment methodology and data collection were applied. In the end 200 responses were gathered but the results cannot be compared due to different methodology used. The results are annexed in the report.
The survey builds strongly on the experience and methodology developed for the 2012 FRA survey on discrimination and hate crime against Jews (which covered eight Member States) and on stakeholder consultations carried out in 2017.
The survey collected data through an open online survey.
A consortium of Ipsos MORI and the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) managed the survey data collection under the supervision of FRA staff. FRA analyses the data in the current report.
FRA used online surveying due to the absence of comprehensive sampling frames for Jewish populations in the selected EU Member States and its experience with the 2012 survey. It allowed respondents to complete the survey when and where it was most convenient for them, at their own pace, and in their national language. The online survey also allowed respondents to find out about FRA, the organisations managing the data collection and how the collected data would be used.
Potentialy all interested self-identified Jewish people in the selected EU Member States could take part and share their experiences. It was also the method which FRA could most easily use to survey respondents from all the selected Member States under equal conditions.
This online survey guaranteed anonymity and confidientiality.
The open online survey approach adopted by FRA depended on individuals’ willingness to participate in the survey. Consequently, and in view of the interpretation of the results, it is particularly important to consider the composition of the sample and the profile of the respondents that the results represent.
To reach eligible respondents, awareness-raising activities both before and during the open online survey were carried out. Different Jewish organisations were mainly used to reach potential respondents. In most Member States the response rates exceeded or were in line with expectations given the relative size of the Jewish population in each country. A 13th country, Latvia, was originally selected to be covered in the survey. As the responses were low and the methodology used differed, the data from Latvia is summarised in an annex to the survey results report.
The online survey was therefore identified as the most appropriate methodology as Jewish populations tend to have high levels of internet access and are relatively well-educated. As respondents only needed an internet connection, respondents could participate in the survey when and where it was most convenient for them, limiting non-response due to inconvenient timing of interviews.
In total 16,395 people who identified themselves as ‘Jewish’ completed the survey. The sample sizes per country ranged from 526 in Austria to 4,731 in the UK.
In terms of socio-demographic characteristics the respondents can be broken down as:
No higher education
The average time for survey completion was 33 minutes.
Only internet access was needed to take part in the survey, ensuring all selected countries could be reached equally. The online survey methodology allowed all interested self-identified Jews in the survey countries to take part. However, it does not, deliver a random probability sample fulfilling the statistical criteria for representativeness. Although the results cannot be considered as representative of all Jewish people in the EU, they constitute by far the largest collection of empirical evidence on discrimination, hate crime and antisemitism against Jews in Europe since FRA’s first such survey in 2012.
The survey asked the respondents how they had heard about the survey. Most said they received an email from an organisation or online network (74%), and 18% said that somebody told them about it or sent a link. These and other results suggest that many of the respondents who participated in the survey are affiliated with Jewish community organisations. Unaffiliated Jews are difficult to reach for surveys in the absence of the sampling frames, and it can be assumed that they are underrepresented in the current sample, based on estimates and assumptions of affiliated and unaffiliated Jewish people in the 12 EU Member States.
FRA used several measures to guarantee data security, privacy and confidentiality of the survey respondents. All data collected, including respondents’ answers regarding personal experiences, perceptions, and views of discrimination and hate crime victimisation, were stored securely and kept confidential, according to European data protection guidelines.
Throughout the survey respondents had access to detailed information on how the data provided by them will be stored and processed, including information on possibilities to delete 'cookies' or to prevent their use by adjusting the browser settings on respondent’s computer.
No respondent can be identified in the survey results. The answers were combined with those of others who took part in the survey and only anonymous data are used for the report. The data collection and the analysis process were performed without reference to any personal or sensitive data capable of identifying people. This guaranteed full confidentiality of the information provided.
In a survey, online or not, it is not possible to verify the authenticity of respondent’s answers. The survey aimed to identify what self-identifed Jewish people themselves think and experience. Therefore, the survey started with a self-identification question that allowed only those identifying themselves as Jewish to continue. Neverthless, a number of survey questions were also used to filter and secure the participation of Jewish people.
The vast majority of drop-outs occurred at the beginning of the survey either during the language selection or main introduction. This suggests that respondents were just not interested in completing the survey either at that time rather than there was an issue with the survey the questions. Some did not meet the eligibility criteria (they did not consider themselves Jewish, were below 16 years, or did not live in one of the EU Member States surveyed).
Also, before data analysis, FRA checked the responses for consistency. If there were specific contradictions/inconsistencies, the cases were removed from the data set.
The survey builds strongly on the Agency’s first survey in 2012. Both surveys are based on non-probability samples from open online surveys. Due to the lack of comprehensive Jewish population statistics, and data relating to Jewish communities, in most countries the available information is based on educated estimates and assumptions, and it is not possible to ensure that the samples represent accurate demographic profiles.
Comparisons are possible for the seven countries included in both surveys – Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Sweden and the UK. However, due to the nature of an open online survey, the comparison should be read with caution as it is affected by several factors, such as country coverage; sample sizes and their quality; as well as the changes in the questionnaire (e.g. adding new items or slightly changing the wording to address problems in question comprehension or to ensure comparability with other surveys).
To assess the trends between the 2012 and 2018 surveys, FRA carried out a detailed assessment of the quality of the samples achieved across the countries covered by both surveys. This aimed to clarify whether trends in perceptions and experiences of antisemitism can be identified on the basis of information collected, and whether any statistical adjustments to the data should be considered before comparing the data. Even when adjustments were applied, they did not change the overall results substantially. The presented results from the two surveys cannot be used to establish actual trends in the populations targeted.
FRA aims to make the raw data publicly available in 2019.
The survey findings suggest that antisemitism pervades the public sphere, reproducing and engraining negative stereotypes about Jews. Simply being Jewish increases people’s likelihood of being faced with a sustained stream of abuse expressed in different forms, wherever they go, whatever they read and with whomever they engage. A comparison of the 2012 and 2018 surveys shows that the perception among respondents that antisemitism is a worsening problem in the country where they live is growing.
Overall, nine in 10 (89 %) respondents in the 2018 survey feel that antisemitism increased in their country in the five years before the survey; more than eight in 10 (85 %) consider it to be a serious problem. Respondents tend to rate antisemitism as the biggest social or political problem where they live. They assess antisemitism as being most problematic on the internet and on social media (89 %), followed by public spaces (73 %), media (71 %) and in political life (70 %). The most common antisemitic statements they come across – and on a regular basis – include that “Israelis behave like Nazis toward Palestinians” (51 %), that “Jews have too much power” (43 %) and that “Jews exploit Holocaust victimhood for their own purposes” (35 %). Respondents most commonly come across such statements online (80 %), followed by media other than the internet (56 %) and at political events (48 %).
In this context, it is encouraging that the European Parliament adopted a resolution on combating antisemitism in June 2017, which calls for increased efforts on local, national and European levels. This follows a number of initiatives by the European Commission at EU level, as well as globally. These include appointing a coordinator on combating antisemitism in December 2015; establishing in 2016 an EU High Level Group on combating racism, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance, which produced policy guidance for improving responses to hate crime and hate speech including antisemitic crime and speech; and agreeing with IT companies on a code of conduct for countering illegal hate speech online in May 2016.
Some Member States responded by appointing coordinators on combating antisemitism, while others adopted or endorsed a non-legally binding, working definition of antisemitism agreed on in May 2016 by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and welcomed by the Commission as a useful initiative aiming to prevent and combat antisemitism. A link to the IHRA definition is available on the Commission’s website.
However, several Member States have yet to fully and correctly transpose the Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia (2008/913/JHA) into national law. This Framework Decision defines a common EU-wide criminal law approach to countering severe manifestations of racism or xenophobia, and therefore also antisemitism, including in “cases where the conduct is committed through an information system” (Article 9). Eradicating antisemitism from the public sphere calls for sustained and decisive action to break down the persistent negative stereotyping of Jews, including online.
The survey findings show that many Jews across the EU cannot live a life free of worry for their own safety and that of their family members and other individuals to whom they are close. This is due to a risk of becoming targets of antisemitic harassment and attacks. Feelings of insecurity among Jews have also prompted some to consider emigrating. A comparison of findings from the 2012 and 2018 surveys shows similar levels of experiences of antisemitic harassment and violence among Jews in the EU. The findings also show similar levels of worry among respondents about becoming, or their family members and other persons to whom they are close becoming, targets of antisemitic harassment or violence.
Findings from the 2018 survey show that hundreds of respondents personally experienced an antisemitic physical attack in the 12 months preceding the survey. More than one in four (28 %) of all respondents experienced antisemitic harassment at least once during that period. Those who wear, carry or display items in public that could identify them as Jewish are subject to more antisemitic harassment (37 %) than those who do not (21 %).
One in five (20 %) respondents know family members or other people close to them who were verbally insulted, harassed or physically attacked. Nearly half of the respondents worried about being subjected to antisemitic verbal insults or harassment (47 %), and four in 10 worried about an antisemitic physical attack (40 %).
One in three (34 %) respondents avoid visiting Jewish events or sites because they do not feel safe as Jews when there or on their way there. More than one third considered emigrating (38 %) in the five years preceding the survey because they did not feel safe as Jews in the country where they live.
More than half of the respondents (54 %) positively assess their national governments’ efforts to ensure the security needs of the Jewish communities. But seven in 10 (70 %) believe that the government in their country does not combat antisemitism effectively.
Sustained encounters with antisemitism severely limit people’s enjoyment of their fundamental rights, including the protection of their human dignity, the right to respect for their private and family life, or their freedom of thought, conscience and religion. It is encouraging that many Jews believe that their government does enough to meet the protection needs of their communities. However, the very fact that special security measures – for example, around synagogues, Jewish community centres and schools – are required on a more or less permanent basis to ensure the safety of Jewish communities points to a persisting and deeper societal malaise. Member States need to be steadfast in their commitment to meet the protection needs of Jewish communities.
The survey findings suggest that people face so much antisemitic abuse that some of the incidents they experience appear trivial to them. But any antisemitic incident is at its core an attack on a person’s dignity and cannot be brushed away as a mere inconvenience. Both the 2012 and 2018 surveys show that respondents report very few experienced incidents of antisemitism to the police or other institution. A comparison of the two surveys’ results shows that the categories of perpetrators of antisemitic harassment remain consistent, with certain categories of individuals consistently over-represented as perpetrators.
Findings from the 2018 survey show that eight in 10 respondents (79 %) who experienced antisemitic harassment in the five years before the survey did not report the most serious incident to the police or other organisation. The main reasons given for not reporting incidents are the feeling that nothing would change as a result (48 %); not considering the incident to be serious enough to be reported (43 %); or because reporting would be too inconvenient or cause too much trouble (22 %).
The normalisation of antisemitism is also evidenced by the wide range of perpetrators, which spans the entire social and political spectrum. The most frequently mentioned categories of perpetrators of the most serious incident of antisemitic harassment experienced by the respondents include someone they did not know (31 %); someone with an extremist Muslim view (30 %); someone with a left-wing political view (21 %); a colleague from work or school/college (16 %); an acquaintance or friend (15 %); and someone with a right-wing political view (13 %).
The Victims’ Rights Directive provides that victims are to be treated in a respectful and sensitive manner without discrimination based on any ground, including religion (Recital 9). According to Article 22 of the directive, all victims are entitled to an assessment of whether measures are necessary to protect them against further victimisation. This assessment must take personal characteristics of the victim into account, including their religion where it is relevant for assessing a victim’s protection needs. The directive particularly highlights cases where a crime was committed with a discriminatory motive that relates to a victim’s personal characteristics, including their religion. In such cases, Member State authorities are under a special duty to asses the risks of further victimisation motivated by this characteristic. The Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia requires that the bias motivation is considered an aggravating circumstance or taken into consideration by the courts in the determination of the penalties handed down to offenders (Article 4). The full implementation of EU law entails encouraging victims to report antisemitic offences to the police, as well as ensuring that the police properly record the bias motivation at the time of reporting.
The survey findings suggest that antisemitism translates not only into hate crime, but also into unequal treatment in key areas of life. But the very low reporting rate for antisemitic discrimination, combined with the apparent normalisation of incidents, prevent the true extent of antisemitic discrimination from coming to the attention of relevant authorities, equality bodies or community organisations. A comparison of findings from the 2012 and 2018 surveys shows that levels of perceived antisemitic discrimination in employment, education, health and housing and education remained the same. No changes can be observed in the reporting rate, which remains low.
Findings from the 2018 survey show that, in the 12 months preceding the survey, one in 10 (11 %) respondents felt discriminated against in employment, education, health or housing because they are Jewish. Nearly eight in 10 (77 %) of those who say they experienced such discrimination did not report the most serious incident to any authority or organisation. The main reasons given for not reporting are the perception that nothing would change as a result (52 %); the incident is not serious enough (34 %); and not having any proof of discrimination (33 %). Meanwhile, the vast majority of respondents are aware of anti-discrimination legislation (85 % in the area of employment, for example), as well as of organisations that can offer advice or support in cases of discrimination (71 %), including Jewish community organisations and national equality bodies.
The Racial Equality Directive (2000/43/EC) prohibits ethnic discrimination in key areas of life, including employment, education, health or housing. The Employment Equality Directive (2000/78/EC) prohibits discrimination on the ground of religion or belief in employment. The directives require Member States to ensure that their provisions are communicated to those concerned through all appropriate means and throughout the territory of each country. The directives foresee effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions for offenders in cases of discrimination.
The technical report presents in detail all the stages of the survey and the relevant information needed to assess the quality and reliability of the data, as well as considerations for interpreting the survey results.
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