Commission warns of rising anti-Semitism in Europe

EPA-EFE/OMER MESSINGER

Commission warns of rising anti-Semitism in Europe


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Citing a study carried out in 12 EU countries, the European Commission said that showing that 9 out of 10 European Jews say they feel that anti-Semitism has increased in their country over the past five years.

“The twentieth century has seen many diseases. The only one that remains incurable is anti-Semitism…The Jewish community must feel safe in Europe,” said the Commission’s First Vice President Frans Timmermans, who also turned his attention to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, insisting that the nationalist leader to “stop using dog whistles” to single out Jews when criticising those who either oppose or disagree with Orban’s often controversial policies.

Orban has been accused by human rights and Jewish groups both in Hungary and abroad of using anti-Semitism to attack opponents, including Hungarian-born Jewish philanthropist George Soros, to drum up xenophobic support in his country.

EU Commissioner for Justice and Equality, Vera Jourova, said she was deeply saddened by the results of the report. “It is necessary to act against the denial of the Holocaust and to guarantee that Jews have the full support of the authorities.” Jourova reiterated that the focus Brussels attention should not focus solely on Hungary and Poland, but across the EU, as the anti-Semitic trend has begun to worry Jewish communities across Europe.

According to the study published the Fundamental Rights Agency, 85% of Jews surveyed across the European Union consider anti-Semitism to be the most important social or political problem in their country, while 70% say they believe that the efforts undertaken by individual EU countries have been ineffective.

Over 16,000 Jews aged 16 years or older from Austria, Belgium Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the UK took part on FRA’s survey. According to those surveyed, Anti-semitism is more prominent on the internet and social media networks (89%), followed by public spaces and the media.

Nearly one-third of the individuals surveyed said they were subjected to cases of anti-Semitic harassment at least once last year, but did not report the incident to the police.

3% of European Jews surveyed have been physically attacked because of their background in the last five years, with 38% of respondents saying they have considered emigrating due to the rise of anti-Semitism in the EU.

“The study results suggest that anti-Semitism permeates the public sphere, reproducing and solidifying negative stereotypes of Jews. Being Jewish alone increases the statistical probability of being confronted with a range of negative experiences,” according to the official findings of the watchdog’s report.

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