Governments need to be more proactive to ensure racism is kept in check

While in Europe voices are heard against Jewish traditions and campaigns are hold to make kosher slaughter and even circumcision illegal and Jews do find that one decision is taken after another by governments taking away their religious freedoms and driving them out of the country, in Australia it does not seem so bad yet.

English: "Anti-Semitic Jewish Postcard"

“Anti-Semitic Jewish Postcard” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Meanwhile in Israel the rabbis look with fear to the growing debate around ritual male circumcision elsewhere in the world, and voiced their fear of the precedent that could be created by a Jewish Israeli woman allowed not to circumcise her son. The rabbis opposed Israeli Jews to freely decide on the ritual circumcision of their own children because it goes against God His Law and might have a bad impact on the global debate over the issue.

“We have witnessed for some time now public and legal struggles against the brit milah in many countries in Europe and in the United States,”

the judges wrote.

“The public in Israel has stood as one man [sic] against these trends, seeing them as yet another aspect of displays of anti-Semitism that must be combatted. How will the world react if even here the issue of circumcision is given to the discretion of any person, according to their own beliefs?”

Religious courts in Israel hold complete sway over all matrimonial issues, including divorce. An appeal to the Haifa District Court by the woman was turned down, and the woman said the only resort left now is an appeal to the Supreme Court.

Europe’s Jews feel increasingly threatened and abused, fearing antisemitic abuse from Muslim extremists, the extreme right-wing, and left-wing radicals. With few European member states taking any serious action, and the failure of the authorities to tackle this growing problem, the human rights of Jewish Europeans are under threat.

75 years after Kristallnacht, has Europe failed to learn from history?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week described Kristallnacht when the savage attacks of 9th November 1938 saw Jewish businesses attacked, hundreds of synagogues torched and around 30,000 Jewish men rounded up for deportation to concentration camps, as

“one of the darkest moments in German history,” urging “all the people in this country to show their civil courage and ensure that no form of anti-Semitism is tolerated.”

But 75 years on, where do German Jews stand? Merkel herself went on to observe that today it is “almost inexplicable but also the reality that no Jewish institution can be left without police protection.”

Image of New Statesman Cover from wikipedia co...

Image of New Statesman Cover from wikipedia commons (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Despite the increasingly distressing amount of anecdotal evidence appearing in the news, it has been hard to gauge the extent of Europe’s antisemitism problem. Stories of individuals suffering antisemitic discrimination and even violence are, of course, unacceptable. But they cannot alone provide a clear picture of a trend. Some argue that ‘legitimate’ criticism of Israel is erroneously labeled as antisemitism (it rarely is). Academics and commentators are unable to agree what it all means. Manfred Gerstenfeld writes in his recent book, Demonizing Israel and the Jews, that

polls show that well over 100 million Europeans embrace a satanic view of the State of Israel… [this] view is obviously a new mutation of the diabolical beliefs about Jews which many held in the Middle Ages, and those more recently promoted by the Nazis and their allies.

But others warn that comparisons with German National Socialism of the early 20th century are alarmist and overblown. It is true that the cracks on German shop windows this week will be nothing more than stickers, applied as a part of a peculiar campaign of remembrance and solidarity with the murdered Jews of Kristallnacht. One British Jewish community leader once challenged me, asking, “surely you don’t think it’s as bad here as it was in Nazi Germany?”, as if Europe’s Jews ought to wait for a full-scale repeat of such extreme levels of Jew-hatred before we allow ourselves to say “enough.”

Australia also faces anti-Semitic incidents in Australia in 2012 being the highest ever on record, though the number of serious physical attacks was the lowest since 2005. After eight young men attacked families who were walking home from a synagogue in Bondi last month Australia’s peak Jewish body  called for the national anti-racism strategy to be strengthened following an alleged anti-Semitic attack in Sydney’s east.

The council’s Peter Wertheim says governments need to be more proactive to ensure racism is kept in check.

He says the national anti-racism strategy needs to be strengthened and included in the education curriculum.

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Preceding articles:

Anti-Semitism ‘on the rise’ in Europe

Holocaust remembrance statue not desired

More on the circumcision debate:

  1. Stand up for your son: Say ‘no’ to ritual circumcision
  2. My (inadequate) justification for circumcision
  3. Outlawing circumcision: Anti-Semitic and Islamophobic

On the ongoing Anti-Semitism:

  1. Did France ignore the Islamic radical threat?
  2. New attacks target Jews in France
  3. Chief rabbi fears anti-semitism
  4. Increasing attacks in Germany
  5. Anti-Semitic incidents in Australia in 2012 highest ever on record

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  • Woman fined $140 a day for refusing to circumcise son (972mag.com)
    An Israeli woman is being fined NIS 500 ($140) every day for refusing to circumcise her one-year-old-son, Israel’s Channel 2 reported today. There is no sweeping legal requirement for Jews in Israel to circumcise their children, but the woman is undergoing a divorce process at the Haifa Rabbinical Court, and her husband has appealed to the court to pressure the woman into circumcising the son.
  • Antisemitism In Europe: The New Jewish Exodus. Anti-semitism is reaching terrifyingly high level… (pjmedia.com)
    This is something that InstaPundit has been covering since the beginning. It’s only gotten worse. If I were Jewish, I’d be buying property in the U.S., or somewhere safe. Related archive item here.
  • The double-pronged threat to European Jewry (blogs.timesofisrael.com)
    In his 1996 book Vanishing Diaspora: The Jews in Europe since 1945, historian Bernard Wasserstein predicted the imminent disappearance of European Jewry. This was not, he wrote, due to anti-Semitism, which he did not consider a serious danger. The problem was rather the “very beneficence of the surrounding environment” which “tends to diminish the Jews’ attachment to specific Jewish practices, languages, traditions and values.”
  • Israeli court orders mother to circumcise her son (telegraph.co.uk)

    An Israeli mother has been ordered by a rabbinical court to circumcise her son in a ruling that could set a legal precedent

  • Anti-Semitism is Rife Among America’s Far Left (Review) (algemeiner.com)
    If you’ve ever wondered why “do-gooder” is a pejorative label, Stephen Norwood’s book on “Antisemitism and the American Far Left” will enlighten you. Rarely has there been a group of Americans so prone to mistake feeling good about what they are doing for actually doing good as “far leftists.”

    They comprise Stalinists, Trotskyists, Old Leftists, New Leftists, loyal readers of The Daily Worker, New International, PM, Labor Action, The Nation, Ramparts, Tikkun; members of the CP, SP, SWP, SDS, SNCC, and indeed the whole alphabet soup cooked up by the dissidence of dissent.

  • Jewish Court Tries to Force Mother to Circumcise Her Young Son, on Penalty of Daily Fines (patheos.com)
    The rabbinical judges in the case said in their decision the woman was opposing the circumcision as a means to bringing her husband back to her. They also referred explicitly to the growing debate around ritual male circumcision elsewhere in the world, and voiced their fear of the precedent that could be created by a Jewish Israeli woman allowed not to circumcise her son.
  • Anti-Semitism lives on 75 years after Germany’s Kristallnacht (dralfoldman.com)
    Being Jewish, albeit not particularly religious and fairly cosmopolitan in my views, I have always struggled to understand anti-Semitism. Let me share two short stories which changed me fundamentally.
  • French Jewish leader: Majority of Jews too afraid to put kids in public school (jta.org)
    Perceptions of increasing anti-Semitism over the past five years were most widespread among French Jews, with 74 percent of respondents saying it has “increased a lot” compared to 27 percent in Britain. Among French respondents, 46 percent said they have considered emigrating because of anti-Semitism compared to 18 percent in Sweden, Latvia and Britain.
  • French Jews too afraid to put kids in public school (timesofisrael.com)
    French Jews are not leaving France in large numbers, according to Cukierman, who downplayed the significance of figures that show a 49 percent increase in Jewish immigration from France to Israel in the first nine months of 2013 compared to the same time frame last year.

    “These figures fluctuate between 1,500 and 3000 every year, and at their highest represent half a percent of French Jewry. So this is not such a big figure,” he said.

  • Holocaust remembrance statue not desired (steppingtoes.wordpress.com)
    In Anti-Semitism ‘on the rise’ in Europe we can see that about two-thirds of the respondents for the survey considered anti-Semitism in Europe a problem and three-quarters said it was worsening.

Holocaust remembrance statue not desired

In Anti-Semitism ‘on the rise’ in Europe we can see that about two-thirds of the respondents for the survey considered anti-Semitism in Europe a problem and three-quarters said it was worsening.

Time Magazine (September 13, 2010) ...item 2.....

Time Magazine (September 13, 2010) …item 2.. The New Anti-Semitism – What it is and how to deal with it (July 12, 2011) … (Photo credit: marsmet541)

Elite opinion in Europe would surely disdain such anti-Semitism, but in its own way demonstrates considerable discomfort with Jews. Unlike Americans, whose Bill of Rights and historical experience commit them to the protection of religious freedom, most educated Europeans are deeply secular. They have little respect for religious traditions – especially those held by minorities – and do not take seriously the right to practice religion when it comes in conflict with currently defined “rights.”

Anti-Semitism may perhaps not overtly raised in the parliamentary debates but countries like Poland outlawed kosher slaughter. Last month the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe called for countries to protect children from violations of their physical integrity, specifically including infant circumcision for religious reasons. The claim was that this age-old Jewish practice deprived children of their human rights. If the absence of kosher slaughter would only make life difficult for Jews – the meat could, after all, be imported – the criminalization of ritual circumcision would make the survival of Jewish communities in Europe virtually impossible.

In a drastic move designed to bring attention to anti-Semitism in Sweden, Swedish Jewish activist Annika Hernroth-Rothstein has filed for asylum in her own country Monday. The 31-year-old political adviser and mother of two took the unprecedented step to protest a series of measures in Sweden banning kosher slaughter, ritual circumcision, and possibly even the importation of kosher meat.

Rothstein, who has also been active in helping to organize Jewish solidarity and pro-Israel rallies in Sweden, said she hoped her actions would help move the issue from being a discussion on Twitter, around dinner tables and in synagogues to something that political decision-makers are talking about as a problem that needs to be addressed.

“One thing that we are good at is having conversations among ourselves, but I don’t see this as a Jewish problem because I don’t think there are a lot of Jewish anti-Semites out there,”

she told The Times of Israel in a phone interview on Tuesday.

“It’s not our responsibility to solve this on our own. It is a political problem that needs to have political consequences and solutions.”

Rothstein said many people she’s talked to have told her to forget about it and that the only solution for Jews in Europe is to move to Israel, but she’s unwilling to accept that.

Israel’s foreign ministry condemned the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe last month after it adopted a resolution calling for regulation of religious circumcision, which is also carried out on Muslim boys shortly after birth.He demanded that the resolution be annulled, saying it

“casts a moral stain on the Council of Europe and fosters hate and racist trends in Europe”.

Jews in the Minsk Ghetto, 1941

Jews in the Minsk Ghetto, 1941 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The commemoration of the Holocaust seems also to become a problem in certain countries.
Last week, the Foundation for the Jewish Monument Utrecht applied for a permit to build a monument for commemorating the city’s Holocaust victims, which will cost $237,000, according to the Dutch daily Telegraaf. The Dutch Railway Museum in Utrecht its director Paul Vlijmen opposes the erection of a statue near his museum in memory of 1,224 Jews who were deported to death camps from Utrecht during the Holocaust. He believes that his museum, built on an old train station from which the Jews were deported, devotes enough attention to the subject with a plaque and an exhibition titled “Loaded Trains,” according to the local news site DeStadUtrecht.nl.

Maarten van Ditmarsch, a spokesperson for the Jewish foundation, said the Railway Museum has thwarted earlier attempts to honor the victims.

“People said that the city already has a monument for those who fell during the war. I think, however, that this time we will succeed,”

he was quoted as saying on DeStadUtrecht.nl.

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Please do find to read:

  1. Anti-Semitism ‘on the rise’ in Europe
  2. The double-pronged threat to European Jewry
  3. Dutch museum opposes Holocaust memorial
  4. Rothstein published article on the Mosaic Magazine website on Monday to announce her petition to be recognized as a refugee in Sweden.

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Graffiti near a synagogue in Salzwedel, Germany. 3 Oct 2013

Swastikas and slogans were daubed near a synagogue in Salzwedel, Germany

  • Dutch museum opposes Holocaust memorial (whitenewsnow.com)
    Maarten van Ditmarsch, a spokesperson for the Jewish foundation, said the Railway Museum has thwarted earlier attempts to honor the victims.
  • French Jews too afraid to put kids in public school (timesofisrael.com)Anti-Semitism “affects Jewish families very seriously and is the main reason there are so few Jewish children in public schools,” Roger Cukierman, president of the CRIF umbrella group of French Jewish communities, said Tuesday during a symposium on anti-Semitism at the European Parliament. “Most of them go to Jewish or Christian private schools.”

    Cukierman spoke at a symposium organized by the European Jewish Congress and B’nai B’rith International with European lawmakers on the findings of a recent survey undertaken last year by the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency among 5,847 self-identified Jews from nine European countries.

  • Anti-Semitism lives on 75 years after Germany’s Kristallnacht (dralfoldman.com)
    If you have the time, read the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights report entitled “Discrimination and Hate Crime against Jews in EU Member States: experiences and perceptions of antisemitism” which is highly recommended reading.For another more passionate perspective, I would strongly recommend the following article by  Jonathan Sacerdoti who is a political analyst, broadcaster and writer based in the UK.

    מידה — Groundbreaking Survey Reveals Scale of Europe’s Antisemitism Crisis

    Sacerdoti takes a historical look at anti-Semitism arguing strongly and passionately that seventy-five years after Germany’s  Kristallnacht that anti-Semitism is still thriving in Europe.

  • Anti-Semitism ‘on rise in Europe’ (bbc.co.uk)
    Respondents in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Sweden and the United Kingdom were asked to give “their opinions and perceptions on anti-Semitic trends and anti-Semitism as a problem in everyday”.
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    The President of the European Jewish Congress, Moshe Kantor, welcomed the survey, but said “the fact that a quarter of Jews are not able to express their Jewishness because of fear should be a watershed moment for the continent of Europe and the European Union.””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.

    “We would like to see concrete steps being taken, including creating legislation to specifically deal with anti-Semitism and racism, bolstering law enforcement agencies and ensure a zero-tolerance approach to anti-Semitism, even, and perhaps specifically, when opinion-shapers and decision-makers engage in these forms of hate,” he said.

  • Jewish Issues Watchdog: preading European Anti-Semitism (jiw.blogspot.com)
    European Jews fear that they, their friends or their families might become victims of an anti-Semitic attack, if all this is a regular part of European discourse…
  • CHANGE: Exodus: Migration of Jews Out of France Begins. “They wonder whether classic anti-Semitism… (pjmedia.com)
    “They wonder whether classic anti-Semitism is not back with a vengeance all over Europe, after several decades of post-Holocaust toleration. The fact that campaigns to make kosher slaughter and even circumcision illegal are gaining ground in several countries, and were even endorsed at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, is seen as particularly ominous.”
  • Israeli court orders mother to circumcise her son (telegraph.co.uk)

    An Israeli mother has been ordered by a religious court to circumcise her son against her will or face fines of £90 for every day the procedure remains undone.

    The unprecedented ruling has been handed down by one of Israel’s rabbinical courts, which have legal jurisdiction over religious questions – including marriage and divorce – concerning the country’s Jewish majority.

Anti-Semitism ‘on the rise’ in Europe

For some years now in Belgium we see a bad evolution, similar as the trend was evolving in the 1930s Berlin.

Media creating an idea of danger

Once a world full of entertainment and “joy de vivre”, without financial restriction the people loved to have their freedom, going out until late in the morning.  Being drunk they passed others, but found themselves, by their anti-social behaviour more looked at. This annoyed them. with the financial crisis they also saw that they could not any more enjoy their going out “a volonté” and could not have so many trips to other countries any more. Aannoying as well was that some cheaper regions became more dangerous because of Muslim Fundamentalists. Those also came more in the news and tried to get more Belgians involved in their ‘road to Damascus’. Sharia for Belgium took care that the Muslim community came in a worse picture, and the media did the rest to present all those Muslims as a danger for our community.

The banks corrupting and the financial market bringing down the people with the little savings while the Jews still kept the thriving market of jewellery. Seeing those sometimes ‘poorly’ black dressed Jews was a sneer in the face of those who envied their money.

Antisemitism is one of the most alarming examples of how prejudice can endure, lingering on for centuries, curbing Jewish people’s chances to enjoy their legally guaranteed rights to human dignity, freedom of thought, conscience and religion or non-discrimination. Despite European Union (EU) and Member States’ best efforts, many Jews across the EU continue to face insults, discrimination, harassment and physical violence that may keep them from living
their lives openly as Jews. Nevertheless, there is little concrete information available on the extent and nature of antisemitism that Jewish people encounter in the EU today – whether at work, in public places, at school or in the media – information critical to policy makers seeking to craft effective solutions to bring an end to such discrimination.

Nazi Anti-Semitic propaganda at Yad Vashem

Nazi Anti-Semitic propaganda at Yad Vashem (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Data by European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has reported on the available official and unofficial data on antisemitic incidents in its Annual report on Fundamental rights: challenges and achievements, as well as in a separate annual working paper – Antisemitism: Summary overview of the situation in the EU – which presents trends on the available data covering up to 10 years. This provides a long-term view of the developments concerning
antisemitic incidents. These reports are part of FRA’s body of work on hate crime, shining light on the experiences of various groups such as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) persons, immigrants and ethnic minorities, and persons with disabilities.

The available data fail to answer many questions, however, which are of keen interest to policy makers looking to improve responses to antisemitic acts. Effective solutions require information on the types of antisemitic incidents, the context in which they take place and the reasons why many incidents are not reported at all, indeed, why official statistics markedly underestimate the number of antisemitic incidents and the number of people exposed to these acts.
Furthermore, even the most basic official statistics on antisemitic incidents are not available in many EU Member States.

Need for rallying against something

For some it might be clear that people need something to rally against to stay united. A good example of that we could see in the ‘Cold War’ where we had the West against the East, the Americans against the Soviets. Many do think it was the best time when they had the USA to rally against the USSR. Several Americans do find they have come to sit in a slow-motion train wreck of a divisive, culturally degenerative society ever since the Soviet Union ceased to give them purpose and unity.

Others consider that certain people are looking for it by placing themselves as a separate people. They are convinced that the Jewish religion encourages a separate identity for Jews, asking them to keep themselves apart in certain respects from the cultures they live within. That naturally can lead to conflict. People hate certain Christians for much the same reason. Those who want to follow the Only One God undergo the difficulty of ‘not being of this world’ and still having ‘to be part of this world’. Non-trinitarians are as ridiculed and confounded as the Jews who have the same God of Abraham. (Check in your own environment how people do think for example of Jehovah Witnesses.)

Blamed for suffering

It's not a question of religion, the Jew is of...

It’s not a question of religion, the Jew is of a different race and the enemy of ours. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Historically, Jews have had religious traditions and doctrines that have allowed them to thrive (or at least survive) where others have struggled. Because those people did follow the Laws of the Divine Creator somehow they also where protected and blessed by this Creator God. They also seemed to cope better with their struggle for life and their suffering, which was a thorn in the flesh for the people around them who underwent more difficulties with the same problems.

During the Black Plague, Jews washed themselves more often than once a year, which reduced their infection rate; they were blamed.
Due to Christian bans on usury, they were inevitably the money lenders; they were blamed.

Having been able to cope with many diseases, many terrible incidents, every-time springing up again, like not destroyable weed, always forming one union with their community, combined with being members of a highly visible minority where race and religion are not equal but intermingled, is sufficient to trigger envy by others who also look at the actions taken in Israel where walls are build and Palestinians provoked.

2012 Survey

5,847 self-identified Jewish people (aged 16 years or over) in eight EU Member States – Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Sweden and the
United Kingdom gave their answers for the survey which was carried out online during September and October 2012.

Two thirds of the survey respondents (66 %) consider antisemitism to be a problem across the eight EU Member States surveyed, while on average three quarters of the respondents (76 %) also believe that the situation has become more acute and that antisemitism has increased in the country where they live over the past five years. In the 12 months following the survey, close to half of the respondents (46 %) worry about being verbally insulted or harassed in a public place because they are Jewish, and one third (33 %) worry about being physically attacked in the country where they live because they are Jewish. Furthermore, 66 % of parents or grandparents of school-aged children worry that their children could be subjected to antisemitic verbal insults or harassment at school or en route, and 52 % worry that they would be physically attacked with an antisemitic motive while at school or en route. In the past 12 months, over half of all survey respondents (57 %) heard or saw someone claim that the Holocaust was a myth or that it has been exaggerated.

Protecting Jewish people from discrimination

About one quarter of respondents (23 %) said that they have felt discriminated against on the grounds of their religion or ethnic background in the 12 months preceding the survey. Specifically concerning discrimination because of being Jewish, the respondents in all eight EU Member States indicate that they are most likely to experience discrimination at the workplace (11 % of respondents who were working during the period have experienced this), when looking for work (10 % of respondents who have been looking for work) or on the part of people working in the education sector (8 % of respondents in school or training or whose children were in school or training have felt discriminated against by people working in this area). More than three quarters (82 %) of those who said that they have felt discriminated against during the period because they are Jewish did not report the most serious incident, namely the one that most affected them, to any authority or organisation.

Antisemitism on the internet

Antisemitism on the internet – including, for example, antisemitic comments made in discussion forums and on social networking sites – is a significant concern for a majority of respondents. Overall, 75 % of respondents consider antisemitism online to be a problem, while another 73 % believe antisemitism online has increased over the last five years.
More than 80 % of the respondents living in Belgium, France, Hungary and Italy are concerned by the level of antisemitism on the internet which they say has increased either a lot or a little. Antisemitic hostility in public places and antisemitism in the media are the next two manifestations that respondents are most likely to perceive as on the rise.

Meeting the needs of Jewish victims of hate crime

Antisemitism in Budapest Gyermekavasut

Antisemitism in Budapest Gyermekavasut (Photo credit: Yigal Chamish)

One quarter of respondents (26 %) experienced some form of antisemitic harassment in the 12 months preceding the survey – including various offensive and threatening acts, for example, receiving written anti-semitic messages, phone calls, being followed or receiving offensive antisemitic comments in person or on the internet, according to the survey results. Overall, 4 % of respondents experienced physical violence or threats of violence because they are Jewish in the 12 months preceding the survey. Of all respondents, 3 % on average said that their personal property has been deliberately vandalised, because they are Jewish, in the 12 months preceding the survey. A majority of the victims of anti-semitic harassment (76 %), physical violence or threats (64 %), or vandalism of personal property (53 %) did not report the most serious incident, namely the one that most affected the respondent, in the past five years to the police or to any other organisation protecting Jewish people from discrimination The relative position of antisemitism on the list of other social and political issues varies slightly among the EU Member States surveyed. When asked to consider whether each of the items presented is a problem or not in the country where they live, the respondents rated unemployment (85 % saying that it was ‘a very big’ or ‘a fairly big problem’), state of the economy (78 %) and racism (72 %) ahead of antisemitism (66 %) in terms of the present magnitude of the problem. Anti-semitism was followed as a problem, respondents said, by crime levels (62 %), immigration (59 %), religious intolerance (54 %), state of health services (51 %) and government corruption (40 %). In contrast with other countries, in Germany antisemitism was regarded as the greatest problem (61 %) in comparison to the other issues listed in the survey, such as unemployment (59 %), racism (57 %) or others.

Respondents from all the EU Member States surveyed except of Germany – consider unemployment to be the most pressing issue facing the country where they live.
Over 90 % of respondents in five countries (France, Hungary, Italy, Latvia and the United Kingdom) saw the state of the economy as ‘a very big’ or ‘a fairly big problem’. Respondents in Germany and Sweden seem less concerned with the state of the economy – 41 % and 25 % of the respondents, respectively, said it is ‘a very big’ or ‘a fairly big problem’.

Most pressing social and political issues

Antisemitism was rated among the three most pressing social and political issues in France, Germany and Sweden (85 %, 61 % and 60 %, respectively, considered it ‘a very big’ or ‘a fairly big problem’). In a pattern that differs slightly from the other survey countries, respondents in Belgium viewed – besides unemployment – crime levels and immigration as the problems which most affect the country where they live (81 % and 80 %, respectively).

Respondents in Hungary and Italy alone considered government corruption to be among the top three problems in the country where they live (94 % of respondents voiced this opinion in both countries). A notable share of respondents in Latvia and the United Kingdom identified the state of health services as a problem (92 % and 69 % of respondents, respectively).

Respondents were also asked whether they felt that antisemitism has increased or decreased during the past five years in the country where they live. Antisemitism is reported to be on the increase – having increased ‘a lot’ or increased ‘a little’ – by a majority of respondents in all eight EU Member States surveyed . The percentage of respondents indicating that antisemitism has increased over the past five years was especially high (about 90 %) in Belgium, France and Hungary. These are also the countries, as shown earlier, where the respondents were most likely to say that antisemitism is ‘a very
big’ or ‘a fairly big problem’ today.

Manifestations and Attacks to affect community

Antisemitic attacks have a profound impact not only on the individuals concerned and those close to them, but certain manifestations of antisemitism also affect the Jewish community as a whole.

Among the specific manifestations listed, online antisemitism is seen as a particular problem: three quarters of all respondents (75 %) consider this either ‘a very big’ or a ‘fairly big problem’, and almost as many (73 %) believe that it hasincreased over the past five year.

59 % of the respondents feel that antisemitism in the media is ‘a very big’ or ‘a fairly big problem’, while 54 % say the same about expressions of hostility towards Jews in the street and other public places. Half (50 %) consider desecration of cemeteries to be a problem.

The majority of the respondents in France (84 %), Belgium (74 %) and Hungary (72 %) consider expressions of hostility towards Jews in the street and other public spaces to be ‘a very big’ or ‘a fairly big problem’ in the country. In Sweden (51 %) and Germany (48 %), about half the respondents consider it a problem, while in Italy (30 %) or the United Kingdom (35 %) one third of the respondents do so.

Arena’s

Regarding the four arenas where antisemitic comments may occur and comparing the eight survey countries, respondents from Belgium, France and Hungary indicate in particular antisemitic reporting in the media (64 %, 70 %, and 71 %, respectively, to be ‘a very big problem’ or ‘a fairly big problem’) and antisemitic comments in discussions people have (69 %, 72 %, and 76 %, respectively). Respondents in France and Hungary (87 % each) highlight political speeches and discussions. Respondents in Latvia were less likely than those in the other countries surveyed to highlight any of the four arenas as very or fairly problematic with regard to spreading antisemitic content. In Sweden and the United Kingdom, less than half of all respondents consider that  antisemitic content is ‘a very big’ or ‘a fairly big problem’ in three of the four arenas, with the exception of antisemitism on the internet, for which respondents living in those two countries also give a higher rating, seeing it as a problem.

Prevalence and context of negative statements about Jews

Hearing or seeing statements that offend human dignity by assigning fictional negative attributes to individuals as members of a group can be detrimental to Jewish people’s sense of safety and security and undermine their ability to live their lives openly as Jews. The FRA survey addresses this issue by asking respondents to what extent they have been exposed to certain statements selected for the survey, and whether they consider these statements antisemitic. The statements selected cover various issues including the role of the Jewish community in society, their interests and distinctiveness, attitudes towards historical experiences and current issues. These statements do not necessarily reflect the whole spectrum of antisemitic views or connotations. They were used to guide the respondent into thinking about situations where they may have heard negative comments about Jewish people, in order to identify the contexts in which Jewish people hear these comments and to describe the person or persons who made the comments.
Respondents’ assessments concerning these statements offer an insight into the issues which they consider antisemitic. Respondents’ sensitivity to all things (perceived as) antisemitic has an impact on all of the other survey results.
First, the survey respondents were asked how often they have heard or seen non-Jewish people make these statements, in what contexts they have heard or seen them, and respondents’ perceptions concerning those who made these statements. The information concerning the medium used for making these statements and the context in which they are made can help the EU and its Member States in designing measures to counteract the use of such statements, for example, through awareness-raising and education campaigns.

Worrying level of discrimination

Antisemitism casts a long shadow on Jewish people’s chances to enjoy their legally guaranteed rights to human dignity, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and non-discrimination. The daily insults, discrimination, harassment and even physical violence, with which Jewish people across the European Union (EU) must contend, show few signs of abating, despite EU and EU Member States’ best efforts. Nevertheless, little information exists on the extent and nature of antisemitic crimes to guide policy makers seeking to effectively fight these crimes. This FRA survey is the first-ever to collect comparable data on Jewish people’s experiences and perceptions of antisemitism, hate-motivated crime and discrimination across a number of EU Member States,  specifically in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Its findings reveal a worrying level of discrimination, particularly in employment and education, a widespread fear of victimisation and heightening concern about antisemitism online.
By shining light on crimes that all too often remain unreported and therefore invisible, this FRA report seeks to help put an end to them.

More to be done

John Mann, chair of the UK’s all-party parliamentary group against antisemitism, said he was shocked by the survey’s results.

“It is extraordinary that 75 years after the terrible events of Kristallnacht, Jews are again living in fear,” he said. “The inaction of the European commission in combating antisemitism is inexcusable.”

Mann said the EU had to do more to co-ordinate Holocaust education work and to crack down on online antisemitism.

“The internet is a classic EU territory because it crosses borders and the EU could have a huge impact – if it had a thorough approach to antisemitism and other hatred and abuse on the internet,” he said.

A spokesman for the Community Security Trust, which monitors antisemitism and provides security for the UK Jewish community, said the research showed that much more needed to be done to protect Jewish people across Europe.

“In some countries, including Britain, politicians and police are trying to deal with the problem, but these efforts are sorely needed everywhere,” the spokesman said.

“Jews also require basic anti-racist solidarity in all of this – solidarity that has been partial, or deliberately denied, far too often since the year 2000.”

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In Dutch:

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To me, it demonstrates the outdated mentality of a post-war generation. Too many of us are trapped in an anachronistic mind-set, always looking out for examples of antisemitism, always trying to “catch it on the edge of a remark” (as Harold Abrahams put it in Chariots of Fire).
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Being Jewish today can be a lot of fun. I work and socialise primarily with non-Jews, so I milk the Jewish angle whenever possible. I wear a chai necklace, drop Yiddish words into conversation and grow a beard and a Jewfro during the winter months.

Jews could hardly be better-positioned in our multicultural society, part of the mainstream but retaining a crucial bit of edginess. It’s a good place to be. The same goes for America, where the pollster Mark Penn now uses the voter category, philosemite, to describe people who either wanted to marry a Jew or emulate Jewish values.

Of course I’m not suggesting antisemitism is dead. It is an ancient and insidious prejudice that will exist as long as we do. There is still plenty of antisemitism in Britain, whether it’s troglodyte football fans chanting about Auschwitz or belligerent anti-Zionists obsessing over Jewish media influence.

 

  • EU Study: Jews in Germany Fear Rising Anti-Semitism (spiegel.de)
    The survey’s results provide insight into the perceptions, experiences and self-conception of European Jews. Rather than supplying absolute figures on anti-Semitic attacks, the study focuses on the perceived danger of such attacks and how much the anxiety this causes affects their lives.
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    In Germany, the KPMD, a service for registering crimes, has recorded a decline in anti-Semitic crimes since 2009. However, by itself, that says nothing about the perceptions of Jews living in Germany. According to the FRA report, 63 percent of the Jewish respondents in Germany have avoided “wearing, carrying or displaying things that might help people identify them as Jews in public,” such as a skullcap (kippa). Likewise, 25 percent of them claimed to have considered emigrating from Germany in the last five years because they don’t feel safe there.

 

When it comes to the relative seriousness of anti-Semitism, Germany was the only country in which a majority (61%) of respondents said it was the greatest problem. Respondents from the other seven countries believed that unemployment was the most pressing issue.

 

  • Alarming early figures from Euro antisemitism poll (thejc.com)
    In France, thousands of Jews have moved to Israel, North America and Britain. In Hungary, the situation is also very concerning, but very different, deriving from far-right nationalists. Then, there is Malmo in Sweden, widely regarded as the worst example of a local community living in fear.

 

In Britain, we are relatively fortunate. CST and the police have had excellent relations since the 1990s and, over the past decade, our politicians have taken antisemitism increasingly seriously.

Many of our continental cousins look on with envy, and really need this survey to kick-start better responses from local officialdom.

  • Poll: 76% of European Jews Believe Anti-Semitism Is On The Rise in Europe (jpupdates.com)
    On the 75th anniversary of Kristelnacht, the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) has released the results of their first poll ever that they conducted on Jewish people’s experiences of antisemitic harassment, discrimination and hate crime in the EU. This report, which covers responses from 5,847 Jewish people in the eight countries in which some 90% of the estimated Jewish population in the EU live, will thus be a vital tool for EU decision makers and community groups to develop targeted legal and policy measures.