Young Jewish Europeans face increasing antisemitism, new EU study finds

Many young Jewish Europeans face antisemitic harassment in Europe, but are also very resilient as they clearly express their Jewish identity, finds a report published on July 4 2019 by the European Commission and FRA, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights.

Rising hate speech and intolerance towards them shows the urgent need for continued concerted efforts to adequately address society’s longstanding and persistent hostility towards Jews, a media statement on the report said.

Young Jewish Europeans, although worryingly more exposed to antisemitism than their elders, declare largely having a strong Jewish identity, as the ‘Young Jews in contemporary Europe’ report shows.

It uses data stemming from the more than 2700 young Jewish Europeans polled for the 2018 FRA survey ‘Experiences and perceptions of antisemitism’. The report’s results also show that young Jewish Europeans are mindful of general changes in society regarding the rise of hate speech and intolerance, and feel generally unsafe in Europe.

A total of 16 395 selfidentifying Jewish respondents (aged 16 or over) took part, from 12 EU member states: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom.

EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Věra Jourová said: “Young Jewish Europeans are very attached to their Jewish identity. I am saddened that they fear for their security in Europe, do not dare to wear a kippah and some even consider emigrating.

“We need to act fast to combat antisemitism in Europe and join our efforts to keep our youth safe. We want young Jewish people to grow up in Europe feeling they fully belong here. Antisemitism is a threat to our European values. This is why we made fighting it a priority and work closely with member states to ensure they are fully part of our Union.”

“Antisemitism in Europe remains a stubborn stain that refuses to go away,” says FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty. “We owe it to all Jews, and particularly future generations, to erase this blot once and for all through coordinated action at the EU and national level working hand-in-hand with Jewish communities.”

Based on FRA’s survey data, the report shows that:

  • 81 per cent of the young Jewish Europeans declared the strength of their Jewish identity to be high;

  • Four in five of the young Jewish Europeans say that antisemitism is a problem in their countries and believe it to have increased over the past five years;

  • 81 per cent of young Jewish Europeans believe racism is a problem in their countries and 74 per cent perceive an increase specifically of anti-Muslim hatred;

  • Remembering the Holocaust remains the most important factor to determine the Jewish identity of young Jewish Europeans (95 per cent);

  • While the importance of ‘supporting Israel’ in the identities of young Jewish Europeans is less significant than for their elders, 85 per cent of young Jewish Europeans report that people in their countries accuse or blame them for anything done by the Israeli government at least ‘occasionally’;

  • 44 per cent of young Jewish Europeans experienced antisemitic harassment, which is 12 per cent higher than their elders. 80 per cent of young victims do not report harassment to the police or any other authority;

  • 45 per cent of young Jewish Europeans choose not to wear, carry or display distinguishable Jewish items in public because there are concerned about their safety.

  • 41 per cent have considered emigrating because they did not feel safe living there as a Jewish person;

  • 48 per cent feel that their government is adequately protecting them and only 17 per cent consider that they are combating antisemitism effectively.(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)



The Sofia Globe staff

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