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New Survey: Europe Has a Jewish Problem

A third of European Jews have considered emigrating because they felt unsafe

Yair Rosenberg
November 08, 2013
European Union flag.(SOEREN STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)
European Union flag.(SOEREN STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

A newly-released survey by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights–which we first reported on here–paints a harrowing picture of Jewish life in Europe. The most comprehensive such study of its kind, the report finds that 66 percent of European Jews consider anti-Semitism to be a problem across the EU member states surveyed, while 76 percent say that anti-Semitism has worsened over the last five years in their country. Some of the illustrations of this phenomenon are shocking.

29% of EU Jews have considered emigrating in the past five years “because they did not feel safe as a Jew in the country where they live.”
57% of Jews in the EU heard or saw someone say the Holocaust was a myth or exaggerated in the past year.
82% of European Jews heard or saw someone say in the past year that Israelis behave “like Nazis” towards the Palestinians. 61% have heard that sentiment regularly in Belgium, 59% in Italy, 56% in France, and 51% in Sweden.
75% of Jews in Hungary have heard or seen someone say regularly in the past twelve months that “Jews have too much power.” 56% have encountered it in France and 33% have encountered it in Sweden.
27% of European Jews avoid certain places in their local area or neighborhood at least occasionally because they would not feel safe there as a Jew.

Most troubling, 76 percent of respondents who experienced anti-Semitic harrassment did not report the most serious incident to any authorities, including 64 percent of those who experienced physical violence or threats of violence. As the report starkly puts it, “This result provides yet more evidence that official police or criminal justice statistics represent just the proverbial tip of the iceberg and underestimate the severity of the actual situation.”

It is to the credit of the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency that it carried out this extensive investigation into anti-Jewish prejudice. It remains to be seen if their countrymen will heed its deeply disquieting results.

Yair Rosenberg is a senior writer at Tablet. Subscribe to his newsletter, listen to his music, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.