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Half of all Europeans see anti-Semitism as a problem

Lewis Sanders IV
January 22, 2019

More Germans believe anti-Semitism is a problem in their country compared to citizens of other EU countries. European officials have called for more efforts to combat rising anti-Semitism on the continent.

A man wears a kippa in Berlin
Image: picture alliance/dpa/M. Hitij

Fifty percent of Europeans interviewed about their perceptions on anti-Semitism view it as a "problem in our country," according to a new Eurobarometer Survey published on Tuesday by the European Commission.

Western European countries have called for further action to combat rising anti-Semitism in Europe, especially Germany and France, which have witnessed a rise in attacks.

Read more: How safe are Jews living in Germany?

In numbers:

  • In Germany, 66 percent of those surveyed believe anti-Semitism is a problem in their country, compared to 50 percent across the EU.
  • There are fewer people under the age of 40 who believe it is a problem compared to those over, whether in the EU or Germany.
  • Only 36 percent of those surveyed across the EU believe anti-Semitism has increased over the past five years, compared to 61 percent in Germany.
  • Only 53 percent of Europeans surveyed believe Holocaust denial is a problem in their country, compared to 71 percent in Germany.

Read more: Jews in Europe alarmed by rising anti-Semitism

Infographic showing perceptions of anti-Semitism in Europe

'The abyss of humanity'The European Commission said: "Sadly, anti-Semitism is still rearing its ugly head all over Europe. At a time when hate has yet again become a political tool, our Jewish communities often live in fear of being at the receiving end of discrimination, abuse and even violence."

Vera Jourova, the European Commission for Justice, said: "The lower the education level, the lower the awareness. Education is key to not only understanding the Shoah as the abyss of humanity, but also to increasing awareness of anti-Semitism and how it is still very much alive in Europe today."

Read more: Anti-Semitism in the EU: Jewish people consider leaving over safety concerns

Combating anti-Semitism

Since 2015, Germany has witnessed an increase in anti-Semitic attacks. In one case last year, a Syrian asylum seeker was filmed attacking a man while calling him a Jew in Arabic, prompting public outrage in Berlin.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel last year admitted to Israeli TV that anti-Semitism continues to be an issue in Germany. "The fact that no nursery, no school, no synagogue can be left without police protection is depressing," Merkel said.

However, the German government has stepped up efforts to tackle the rising phenomenon. In December, Felix Klein, who serves as Germany's commissioner for Jewish affairs, launched an online site for victims to report anti-Semitic attacks. The site is run by the federal Research and Information Center for Anti-Semitism (RIAS).

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