December 10, 2018 — New York
American Jewish Committee (AJC), the global Jewish advocacy organization, is urging concerted initiatives by European governments to confront rising antisemitism, following the release of deeply troubling findings from an EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) survey of Jews across Europe. The survey results were announced today in Brussels by European Union First Vice President Frans Timmermans and Commissioner for Justice Věra Jourová.
“The FRA conclusion that antisemitism has become ‘normalized’ across the EU is simply unacceptable,” said AJC CEO David Harris, who met with European officials in Brussels ahead of the report’s release, and who began alerting European leaders to the resurgent wave of antisemitism as early as 2001. “Each European country surveyed by the FRA, indeed all EU members states, have a moral responsibility to study the report’s unique, valuable data — and step up efforts to confront the antisemitism cancer that threatens not only Jews, but, no less, the democratic fabric of European societies.”
This is the second EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) survey on discrimination and hate crimes against Jews in the EU. The 2012 FRA survey, the first of its kind, was a wake-up call to the pervasive problem of antisemitism in Europe.
The 2018 report found that 54 percent of those surveyed positively assess their national governments’ efforts to ensure the security needs of the Jewish community. However, a decisive majority, 70 percent, believe that their governments do not effectively combat antisemitism.
The FRA polled 16,500 Jews in 12 EU member states – Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The 2012 report covered only eight countries.
The 2018 survey paints a distressing picture:
■ 89% say antisemitism has increased in their country over the past five years
■ 85% say antisemitism is a serious problem
■ 89% say antisemitism is “most problematic” on the internet and social media
■ 28% experienced some form of antisemitic harassment in the last year.
■ 34% avoid visiting Jewish events or sites
■ 38% have considered emigrating because they no longer feel safe as Jews in the country where they live
■ 52% say they do not report antisemitic attacks because, in their view, nothing will change
Notably, those who say antisemitism is “a very big” or “a fairly big” problem rose significantly in the UK from 48% in 2012 to 75% in 2018, in Germany from 62% to 85%, and in Sweden from 60% to 82%.
French Jews, the largest community in Europe, have the highest level of concern at 95%, followed by Belgian Jews at 86%. Danish Jews ranked 12th among the 12 countries studied in their level of concern.
In 2015, AJC convened in Brussels “A Defining Moment for Europe,” a strategy conference on combating antisemitism. More than 20 EU countries were represented by diplomats and other officials. The eight-point Call to Action adopted at the groundbreaking conference was updated in June 2018.
“The FRA reports provide a unique and dismaying perspective,” said Harris. “European leaders, who laudably adopted a declaration in Brussels last week to step-up the fight against antisemitism, must realize that they have not been keeping pace with the growing problem. What’s needed now is enhanced, sustained action on many fronts to ensure that European Jews have a safe and secure future — and that Europe fulfills its noble commitment to the protection of human dignity for all of its citizens.”