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Jews in Europe face rising antisemitism: report

July 11, 2024

The EU's rights watchdog has said increased antisemitism began before Israel declared war on Hamas. Many Jews reported hiding their identity and avoiding Jewish events out of safety concerns, the FRA agency said.

A broken Star of David at a Berlin memorial
An EU rights report found 60% of Europe's Jews are not satisfied with their government's response to antisemitismImage: Annette Riedl/dpa/picture alliance

Jewish communities in the EU face a "rising tide of antisemitism," and the conflict in the Middle East is eroding progress made fighting antisemitism, according to a report released Thursday by the European Union's Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) on Jewish people's experiences and perceptions of antisemitism.

Even before Hamas' October 7 attack on Israeli civilians and the ensuing war in Gaza, the report noted that 96% of European Jews reported experiencing antisemitic incidents.

"Jews are more frightened than ever before," FRA Director Sirpa Rautio said, adding that a "spillover effect of the conflict in the Middle East was eroding hard-fought-for progress" against anti-Jewish prejudice.

The survey of 8,000 Jewish people over the age of 16 used for Thursday's report predated the October 7 Hamas attack, but included more recent information from 12 Jewish organizations across the 27-member bloc. It found that Jewish people experienced more antisemitic incidents since October 2023, with some organizations reporting an increase of more than 400%.

Physical attacks double

According to the report, 76% of those polled hid their identity "at least occasionally," and 34% were reluctant to visit Jewish events or sites because it did not feel safe. 

About 4% of people surveyed said they had experienced physical attacks, double the number in the previous survey conducted in 2018.

The report said 60% of those polled were not satisfied with their national government's response to rising antisemitism.

The most affected country was France, where 74% of the Jewish community reported feeling that the current conflict affected their sense of security.  

The study focused on 13 countries, which are home to about 96% of Europe's Jewish population: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain and Sweden.

es/sms (AFP, dpa)