Jews in Europe face rising antisemitism: report

Europe’s Jewish community faces a “rising tide of antisemitism,” and the conflict in the Middle East is eroding progress made fighting against it, according to a report released Thursday by the European Union‘s Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) on Jewish people’s experiences and perceptions of antisemitism.

Even before Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israeli civilians and the ensuing war in Gaza, the report noted that 96% of European Jews reported experiencing antisemitic incidents.

“Jews are more frightened than ever before,” said FRA Director Sirpa Rautio, adding that a “spillover effect of the conflict in the Middle East was eroding hard-fought-for progress” against anti-Jewish prejudice.

The survey of 8,000 Jewish people over the age of 16 used for Thursday’s report predated the October 7 Hamas attack but included more recent information from 12 different Jewish organizations across the 27-member bloc. It found that Jewish people experienced more antisemitic incidents since October 2023, with some organizations reporting an increase of more than 400%.

Physical attacks double

According to the report, 76% of those polled hid their identity “at least occasionally,” and 34% were reluctant to visit Jewish events or sites because it did not feel safe. 

About 4% of people surveyed said they had experienced physical attacks, double the number in the previous survey conducted in 2018.

The report said 60% of those polled were not satisfied with their national government’s response to rising antisemitism.

The most affected country was France, where 74% of the Jewish community reported feeling that the current conflict affected their sense of security.  

The study focused on 13 countries, which are home to about 96% of Europe’s Jewish population: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain and Sweden.

es/sms (AFP, dpa)