Saturday, October 19, 2013

Anti-Semitism in Europe

A survey conducted this year among 5,100 Jews by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights  in France in Britain,  Belgium, Germany,  Sweden, Italy, Hungary,  Romania and Latvia has painted a bleak picture of Jewish life in Europe. The vast majority of respondents have reported an uptick in antisemitism in their communities, with 75% of incidents going unreported to the police.

Almost a quarter of respondents said they avoid visiting places and wearing symbols that identify them as Jews for fear of antisemitism. 49% of Swedish respondents , 40 % of the French and 36% of the Belgians reported avoiding wearing such items in public.

22 percent of respondents said they avoided “Jewish events or sites” because of safety concerns.

There was an overall perception of a rise in antisemitism. In Hungary, 91 percent said anti-Semitism has increased in the past five years. 88 percent in France; 87 percent in Belgium and 80 percent in Sweden agreed.   In Germany, Italy and Britain, some 60 percent of respondents identified a growth in antisemitism.  

The full report will be published next month in Vilnius.

Its been notably bad in  Malmo, Sweden. In 2012,  60 anti-Semitic hate crimes were registered -nearly three times that of previous years. There have been no convictions. Simon Wiesenthal Center issued a travel warning in 2010 for the city of Malmö, Sweden, urging “extreme caution” for Jewish travelers, writing:

“We reluctantly are issuing this advisory because religious Jews and other members of the Jewish community there have been subject to anti-Semitic taunts and harassment. There have been dozens of incidents reported to the authorities but have not resulted in arrests or convictions for hate crimes”

Patrick Reilly, an Irish journalist living in Malmo, decided to wear a kippah for the day and see what he experienced.

From Political Blindspot:

"First he was being stared at, giggled at and finally called “f*cking Jew”. Feeling afraid, different and unwelcome he explained that he was relieved to take the kippah off and return to the social privilege of being a non-Jew."

He concludes

 “As an Irish person abroad I’ve never felt remotely threatened but wearing the kippah for a few hours was enough to instill feelings of fear. Even when I didn’t feel afraid I was made to feel different and unwelcome. The statistics show that my fear is well-placed "

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