National Edition

European Jews report rise in anti-Semitism

Published: Friday, Nov. 8 2013 4:50 p.m. MST

A French Jew stands outside the Paris courthouse Wednesday April 29, 2009.

Thibault Camus, Assoicated Press

Enlarge photo»

Anti-Semitism and prejudice toward Jews is on the rise in Europe, according to a recent survey conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights.

The survey of 5,847 self-identified Jews in eight European countries found that 66 percent of respondents believe anti-Semitism is a major issue in Europe and that nearly one-third (29 percent) of European Jews find anti-Semitism is on the rise.

And 75 percent of the surveyed Jews find anti-Semitism on the Internet — the highest of any form of anti-Semitism in the public arena, including mainstream media, politics and graffiti work.

“Anti-Semitism is a disturbing example of how prejudice can persist through the centuries, and it has no place in our society today. It is particularly distressing to see that the Internet, which should be a tool for communication and dialogue, is being used as an instrument of anti-Semitic harassment,” said FRA Director Morten Kjaerum in the survey. “While many EU governments have made great efforts to combat anti-Semitism, more targeted measures are needed.”

The survey aimed “to provide guidance on measures to take against anti-Semitism,” according to the Associated Press.

Kjaerum wasn’t the only political figure to respond to the survey’s findings. European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor said the fact that “Jews are not able to express their Jewishness because of fear should be a watershed moment for Europe,” according to The Jerusalem Post.

The New York Times reported that Jews in countries like France have spoken out about an increase in anti-Semitism. “But the new survey, released on the eve of the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht violence against Jews in Nazi Germany, gives the first detailed snapshot of Jewish perceptions of the problem across Europe.”

Historically, anti-Semitism in Europe has “been connected to extreme right-wing nationalist groups,” The New York Times reported. For example, the far-right Jobbik Party in Hungary is a popular anti-Semitic political party among Hungarian nationalists, according to The New York Times. Hungarian Jews had some of the highest numbers in the survey, in which 90 percent of the Hungarians listed anti-Semitism as a “very big” or “fairly big” problem. The survey also noted Hungarian Jews said they were largely blamed for economic issues in the country.

Some findings were more rare across the continent. The survey said on average 9 percent of respondents heard the statement, “Jews are responsible for the current economic crisis,” while 4 percent said they suffered from physical violence for being Jewish, according to the survey.

The BBC also reported on the survey and included comments from Kjaerum, the FRA director, in its article.

"The Jewish reality in Europe is of great concern and the authorities need to deal with incidents of hate and intolerance in a holistic manner, to really combat these manifestations before it is too late," he said.

Email: hscribner@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @hscribner

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