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EU rings alarm bells over rise in antisemitism found in new study

Monday, 10 December, 2018 - 21:31

Nine out of ten Jews in Europe believe antisemitism has worsened over the past five years, according to the results of a survey released by the European Commission on Monday.

The study, by the Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), found that 85 percent of Jewish respondents believe antisemitism is the most important social or political problem in their country and 70 percent think that their government’s  efforts to fight it are not effective.

The study was conducted on the internet from May to June 2018 among more than 16,000 Jews aged 16 and over, in 12 Member States where 96 percent of the EU Jewish population lives (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France , Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom). 

Antisemitism is, according to Jews surveyed, more problematic on the internet and social networks (89%), followed by public space (73%), media (71%) and politics (70%).

Nearly one-third (28%) say they were harassed at least once last year, but most (79%) did not report the incident to the police or another organisation.

Of those surveyed, 3 percent say they have been physically attacked because they were Jewish in the last five years.

“In my case, I hide my star of David according to the situation in which I find myself. It is a shame,” says a French woman in her fifties, cited in the study.

Nearly half of the respondents (47%) say they are afraid of being verbally abused or harassed in the next 12 months, while 34 percent of those surveyed say they avoid events or places related to the Jewish community because they do not feel safe.

As a result, 38 percent of respondents say they have considered emigrating, of which two-thirds are in Israel and one-tenth in the United States.

“The twentieth century has seen many diseases. The only one that remains incurable is antisemitism, ” said First Vice President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, presenting the study in Brussels. “The Jewish community must feel safe and at home in Europe. If we do not succeed, Europe ceases to be Europe,” he said.

Last week, the EU unveiled a new strategy to combat antisemitism including measures to reinforce the protection of Jewish communities, fight against hate crime, promote education and research on the Holocaust and provide training on all forms of intolerance and racism, the Brussels Times reported.



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