EU survey finds majority of Europeans see no rise in antisemitism

The Eurobarometer results shows that there is clear perception gap on the problem of antisemitism. Only around a third of Europeans believe that antisemitism has increased in their country.

January 23, 2019 06:43
2 minute read.

ARE WE doing enough to confront antisemitism?. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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In a shocking revelation, only one-third of Europeans believe that antisemitism has increased over the last five years.

This according to a new EU survey released on Tuesday, which found that two-thirds of Europeans do not believe there has been a significant rise in antisemitism.

The survey was done across 28 EU member states in December, and those interviewed were aged 15 and up. About 1,000 people were interviewed in each country.

“The Eurobarometer results shows that there is clear perception gap of the problem of antisemitism,” a European Commission wrote in a report, which accompanied the survey. "Only around a third of Europeans (36%) believe that antisemitism has increased in their country over the past five years. This is the majority view in six EU Member States" which includes  France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Austria

"All other respondents are of the opinion that antisemitism has remained the same (39%), decreased (10%) or have no opinion (15%)," it said in the report. "These respondents form a majority in 22" of the 28 countries surveyed.

It also found that 68% of Europeans feel that people in their country are not well informed about the history, customs and practices of Jewish people in their country. About 3% of Europeans felt that people are very well informed in this area.

The survey found that more than four in ten Europeans (42%) were aware that there is a law against Holocaust denial in their country while more than a third were not aware of such a law, and close to a quarter didn't know. Interestingly, education about the Holocaust is widely seen as an important factor in prevention of antisemitism, but the survey highlighted that Europeans are divided about the level of education about the Holocaust in their national schools: More than four in ten Europeans thought that the Holocaust is sufficiently taught in their country's schools, but nearly the same proportion believed the opposite.

Approximately 25% of respondents understood that issues such as antisemitic violence, Holocaust denial and the desecration of Jewish cemeteries are “very important,” but they were unable to elaborate on their views due to lack of knowledge on the matter. Close to 60% of interviewees said they could not expound on the matter because they believed there were no problems in this aspect of their country.

Meanwhile, “over half of Europeans (54%) believe that the conflicts in the Middle East have an influence on the way Jewish people are perceived in their country,” the survey stated. “A majority share this opinion in 13 member states, mainly in Northern and Western Europe.”

The EU survey was contrasted with the findings of a separate survey of Jewish communities conducted by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency in December.

That poll revealed nine in 10 Jews believed “that antisemitism has increased in their country, with more than eight in 10 (85%) considering it to be a serious problem.

It also revealed that Jews across the EU experience antisemitism in different forms, "which hinders people’s ability to openly display their Jewish identity free from fears for their security. Antisemitism remains pervasive across the EU and has even become normalized."

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