EU flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels..
(photo credit: REUTERS/FRANCOIS LENOIR)
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) will conduct a major survey in 2018 to investigate discrimination and hate crime against Jews in EU countries, the agency announced Wednesday.
“Antisemitism remains a grave worry across Europe despite repeated efforts to stamp out these age-old prejudices,” said FRA director Michael O’Flaherty.
This is the agency’s second survey of discrimination and hate crime toward Jews and is set to be more extensive than the last. Jews in 13 EU member states will be invited to take part in the survey from mid-2018. The countries slated to be involved are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and the UK.
“This repeat survey gives Jews in Europe the chance to share their concerns, and policy-makers valuable feedback on how their efforts to curb antisemitism have progressed and importantly what still remains to be done,” said O’Flaherty.
As in 2010, following a tender process, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights contracted the London-based Jewish Policy Research and the international research agency Ipsos to carry out the survey.
“The new FRA survey offers Jews across Europe a rare opportunity to share their perceptions and experiences of antisemitism with key politicians and policy-makers both in their home countries and across the European Union, European Commission and European Parliament,” said Dr. Jonathan Boyd, executive director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research.
The 2012 survey was the largest-ever study of European Jews and covered nine member states.
The results were used to inform the conclusions of the EU’s Justice and Home Affairs Council on combating hate crime in the EU, as well as the decision to appoint the European Commission’s first antisemitism coordinator to help combat antisemitism across Europe.
The announcement of the new survey came the same day as Jewish groups in Germany urged authorities to crack down on antisemitic incidents.
The past week saw an increase in antisemitic incidents in European countries following US President Donald Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. On Monday, the European Commission denounced the wave of antisemitic attacks and demonstrations and said it expects rapid responses to anti-Jewish actions.
The European Muslim Jewish Leadership Council released a statement Thursday, addressing an attack on a kosher restaurant in Amsterdam last week and the firebombing of a synagogue in Gotenborg, Sweden.
“We plead with all parties who constantly occupy themselves within the European communities of Muslims and Jews to maintain internal peace and continue to build bridges of understanding and mutual appreciation for living together in a free and peaceful Europe,” the statement said. “Everything which has been achieved over the past years in this field should serve as a shining example for other communities who are plagued by internal and external conflicts.”
The Goteborg synagogue attack was followed by another firebomb attack on a Jewish site in Malmo. No injuries were reported in either incident.
On Wednesday, the European Jewish Congress welcomed Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven to its office in Brussels.
Raya Kalenova, executive vice-president of the EJC, lauded the Swedish government’s quick and decisive response to the recent wave of antisemitic incidents, and noted the prime minister’s unconditional denunciation of the attacks and statement in support of the Jewish community.
“Antisemitism is a poison in our society. It is a priority to fight it. We will not stop at reinforcing security. We must also denounce those who seek to justify violence under any pretense,” Löfven said.
“While some are trying to blame the US administration or the Israeli government for these attacks on Europe’s Jewish communities, this should be absolutely rejected. Victim blaming is unacceptable in any context,” Kalenova said.
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