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National antisemitism data collection falls short of what is needed

Without adequate data, government and civil society cannot formulate effective responses to antisemitism that continues to haunt Europe. FRA’s latest annual overview of antisemitism data 2008-2018 identifies large gaps in recording antisemitic incidents in a way that allows to collect adequate official data across the EU.

In FRA’s survey of Jews in 12 EU Member States, 85% believe that antisemitism has increased in their country over the last five years. Meanwhile in a public survey last year across the EU, half of the respondents say that antisemitism is a problem in their country.

Despite this, the antisemitism overview identifies six EU Member States that lack official data on reported antisemitic incidents for 2018. They are: Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Malta, Portugal and Sweden.

As this overview indicates every year, limited data hinders the ability of policy- and lawmakers to formulate efficient targeted measures.

It calls for new methods, data sources and data processing techniques to better measure the incidence and impact of antisemitism.

Here FRA’s compendium of practices for combating hate crime could help. It has examples of how some Member States record hate crime.

It also draws attention to the problem of high-levels of under-reporting by victims. This can mask the true extent of antisemitism. It underlines the need for authorities to encourage victims to come forward and to be able to properly record antisemitic acts.

Therefore, greater efforts to tackling under-reporting by encouraging victims and witnesses to report antisemitism is key. In addition, authorities need systems in place to record such incidents.

The updated report compiles available data on antisemitic incidents collected by international, governmental and non-governmental sources, from 1 January 2008 until 31 December 2018.

Findings from FRA antisemitism survey complement the official and unofficial data sources.

It also outlines, for the first time, how the 13 Member States, which have adopted or endorsed the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism, use or plan to use it.

This is the latest in a series of yearly reports on data collection on antisemitism published by FRA and its predecessor, the EU Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC).

The publication of the ‘Antisemitism: Overview of data available in the European Union 2008–2018’ report falls on the eve of the day that remembers the wave of violent anti-Jewish events of Kristallnacht on 9 November 1938.