Today, on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has published a report on how Jewish communities experience antisemitism in 12 EU Member States – the largest such report worldwide, pointing to rising levels of antisemitism across the continent.
The report shows that about 90% of respondents feel that antisemitism is growing in their country. Around 90% feel it is particularly problematic online, while about 70% cite public spaces, the media and politics as common sources of antisemitism. Almost 30% have been harassed, with those being visibly Jewish most affected.
Antisemitism appears to be so deep-rooted in society that regular harassment has become part of their normal everyday life. According to the FRA, almost 80% of respondents do not report serious incidents to the police or any other body. Often this is due to lack of trust that anything could be changed. Over a third avoid taking part in Jewish events or visiting Jewish sites because they fear for their safety and feel insecure. The same proportion have also even considered emigrating.
The FRA states: “Such results underline the need for Member States to take urgent and immediate action. In doing so they need to work closely together with a broad range of stakeholders, particularly Jewish communities and civil society organisations, to roll out more effective measures to prevent and fight antisemitism.
This includes strengthening Holocaust education and awareness raising activities, keeping Jewish communities and sites safe, and regularly monitoring hate crime towards Jews. Regular victimisation surveys would help assess the effectiveness of laws and policies.
In addition, all Member States should fully and correctly transpose EU laws to protect victims and to counter racism into their national law. This would help ensure victims get the support they deserve, and perpetrators are sentenced with effective, proportionate and dissuasive criminal penalties. This would, in turn, encourage victims and witnesses to speak out and report incidents.”
Balint Josa, Programme Coordinator of UNITED for Intercultural Action, comments on the release: “Human civilization created an international climate of respect for human rights embedded in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights after WW II, the Holocaust, the systematic prosecution and murder of Jews, Roma, LGBTQI+, people with disabilities, and political opponents of the fascist and Nazi regimes. We agreed that this should not be forgotten, in order not to repeat similar crimes. This agreement seems to be fading away, with institutions and values under attack from populism and authoritarian politicians rising to power across the world. 10th December is a day to remember our past, to look back and read out loud what we listed then and bring these fundamental human rights with us to the future.”