Antisemitic graffiti in Klaipėda, Lithuania

An overwhelming majority of 16,500 respondents around Europe have cited an increase in anti-Semitism in the largest survey of Jewish people conducted worldwide.

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights released its second comprehensive report on discrimination and hate crimes against Jews in the EU this week.

Covering 12 EU member states it followed on from the first seven survey of seven states in 2012.
Results in the survey found 89 percent of respondents felt anti-Semitism had increased in their country in the past five years whilst 85 percent considered it a serious problem.

Anti-Semitic activities according to 89 percent of respondents were prevalent on the Internet and social media, 73 percent by public spaces, 71 percent media and 70 percent political life.

Some 40% of participants were concerned about an anti-Semitic physical attack and 70% felt governments in their country did not combat anti-Semitism effectively.

The report also found that 79% of respondents who had experienced anti-Semitic harassment in the five years prior to the survey did not report the most serious to police.

And over a third said they had considered emigrating in the five years because they did not feel safe as Jews in their country.

World Jewish Congress President Ronald S Lauder described the results as shocking but not surprising.

“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,” he lamented.
“What is going to stop the rampant spread of anti-Semitism in Europe is not just physical security enhancements, but education.

“The 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 accepted that The Council of the European Union had taken an important step forward when 28 EU member states adopted a first-of-its kind declaration on the fight against antisemitism and development of a common security approach to protect Jewish communities last week.

But he described the path ahead as “long and arduous”.

“The WJC worked closely for many months with the Austrian government authorities and the European institutions, in coordination with the Austrian Jewish Community and the European Jewish Congress, in developing that declaration’s content,” he explained.
Lauder added, “Now, more than ever, it is incumbent upon political leaders to set the tone of what is acceptable discourse in Europe.

“Leaders of parties with anti-Semitic members must expel them immediately without delay. Heads of state must show true and moral leadership in not only speaking out against antisemitism, but with action to root out anti-Semitism wherever it may rear its ugly head.

“Moreover, we urge all members of the European Union to adopt the working definition of antisemitism as agreed to by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, to ensure that this universal problem is treated in a universal manner, with a universal solution.”
Lauder thanked the European Parliament and European Commissioner for Justice Věra Jourová for fighting discrimination and anti-Semitism in redcent years and protecting Jewish citizens rights in Europe.

But he also noted that Jews across Europe were aware anti-Semitism was on the rise and political leaders were not doing enough to stop hatred.

“I hope political leaders across Europe are woken up by this report and that they heed my call to educate every student about the Holocaust, as education is the only way to stop the hate,” he concluded.

Michael O’Flaherty, FRA director, noted, “Decades after the Holocaust, shocking and mounting levels of antisemitism continue to plague the EU.

“Member States must take note and step up their efforts to prevent and combat antisemitism. Jewish people have a right to live freely, without hate and without fear for their safety.”

Austria, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Spain, France, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and the UK participated in the survey.