Anti-Semitism on rise in Europe, says study

14 December 2018

EU survey of 16,300 Jews in Europe finds fears for safety

PA

A Hanukkah Menorah in Trafalgar Square, London, where the Jewish festival of lights was celebrated last month

A Hanukkah Menorah in Trafalgar Square, London, where the Jewish festival of lights was celebrated last month

ANTI-SEMITISM is rising across Europe, a new survey of Jewish people in 12 EU countries suggests.

In the survey of 16,300 Jewish people in Europe, published on Monday, four in five people in the UK said that anti-Semitism was a major problem in British politics.

The figures come from a report by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights. France was identified as having the biggest issue: 95 per cent of French Jewish people believe anti-Semitism to be either a fairly big or very big problem — an increase of ten per cent since the last survey, six years ago.

In the UK, 75 per cent of Jewish people surveyed in the UK said that they found anti-Semitism to be a very big or fairly big problem: up from 48 per cent in 2012.

Furthermore, 29 per cent of British Jewish people said that they had considered emigrating, as they no longer felt safe. This figure was 41 per cent across all 12 countries.

Speaking on Wednesday, the Bishop of Lichfield, Dr Michael Ipgrave, who chairs the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ), said that the report reinforced the “severity of anti-Semitism as a problem in British society and politics”.

He continued: “We are deeply concerned where this may lead. Churches today have a particular responsibility to address historic Christian anti-Judaism, which in some cases still informs prejudice in our society.

“The Council of Christians and Jews works to educate Christian clergy and church leaders about the roots of anti-Judaism in a number of ways, including our annual seminar at the International School of Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem. Across the UK, alumni of this programme lead the way in combating contemporary anti-Semitism and improving Christian-Jewish relations.

“We must inspire people of faith to act to eradicate anti-Semitism from society and seek to build together a community which respects the individual, celebrates diversity, and pursues the common good.”

In a letter to The Times on Wednesday, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, together with Jewish and Christian leaders, wrote that they were “concerned where this situation may lead”.

The letter-writers — who also included the RC Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland — the Rt Revd Dr Susan Brown, wrote: “Anti-Semitism has no place in our society, and those in positions of power and influence must listen to these concerns. Similarly we continue to speak out on anti-Christian sentiment and persecution of Christians in many parts of the world. . .

“Our faiths compel us to speak to defend truth, celebrate our diversity and common humanity, be a voice for those in need, and seek transformation for the common good.

“We call on people of faith to act together with us to promote religious and cultural understanding, and advance the elimination of religious and racial prejudice, with particular reference to anti-Semitism, through education, dialogue, and social action.”

Eighty-nine per cent of those surveyed said that anti-Semitism was at its worst online; 28 per cent had faced some kind of harassment for being Jewish, in the past year, and two per cent said that this was physical; 47 per cent said that they worried about verbal insults or harassment, and 40 per cent were worried about physical attack; 34 per cent had avoided Jewish events or activities out of fears over their safety.

The European Commissioner for Justice, Vera Jourová, told The Guardian: “This is a serious message we have received from the Jewish community. We must do everything to let the Jewish communities know that they are not alone in Europe.”

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