By Tom Wilson, Published: November 9, 2013
Without a sea change on the part of European political and intellectual elites, it appears as if Europe is about to become a dark continent of anti-Jewish persecution once again
Europe’s Agency for Fundamental Rights has just released a major new survey, perhaps the most extensive of its kind, documenting the realities of anti-Semitism across Europe. The picture is bleak.
The findings of this survey reveal a continent in which racism against Jews is widespread, on the rise, practiced openly, underreported and seemingly unrelenting in scope.
The survey, which covers eight European countries; Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, Hungary and Latvia features the responses of 5,847 Jewish individuals. It includes an incredibly wide ranging amount of information about anti-Semitic activity in Europe, who is perpetrating it, where it is taking place and what effects its having.
Not surprisingly, the survey also establishes quite definitively the link between incitement against Israel and attacks on Jews living in European countries.
There is no longer any hiding for those who have endlessly demonised the Jewish State in the most vicious ways while attempting to claim, that they personally, feel nothing but good will towards Jews generally. That claim always sounded unconvincing and now this study shows how the fruits of the campaign against Israel have been borne out in the form of incitement and bigotry directed at all Jews, Zionist or not.
Also worthy of note is the fact that this survey further exposes just how much of Europe’s anti-Semitism emanates from both the Left and hardline Islamic elements.
This will hardly come as news to anyone who has been following this issue honestly or closely in recent years. Yet, it demonstrates as false the ongoing belief that the Conservatives and the Right are the enemies of Jews, and the survey further shows how, despite claims to the contrary, the Church is simply not the primary perpetuator of Jew hatred anymore.
The first thing that jumps out from the findings here is the sheer amount of anti-Semitism that now takes place across Europe.
Of those surveyed, 66% say anti-Semitism is a problem in their country, 76% say that in the past five years anti-Semitism has worsened. And the anti-Semitism being experienced is wide ranging with 59% having experienced it in the media and 75% on the internet. Additionally, 27% of respondents had witnessed a verbal or physical attack on a Jewish person in the past twelve months. That figure stands at 21% in the United Kingdom.
When it came to having experienced general anti-Semitic harassment in the last five years, 36% of Jews in Germany have been victim to this, 35% of French Jews and 33% of those in Sweden. In Britain the situation is only marginally better where 29% of those Jews surveyed said they had witnessed anti-Semitic harassment over that same period. These are the stark facts of Jewish life in the enlightened and liberal societies of modern Europe, with all the lofty and civilizing influence of the European Union.
Yet, the results of this study show how it is the greatest supporters of the European Union and Multiculturalism, the Leftwing champions of "tolerance", who are at the forefront of this upsurge in anti-Jewish racism.
Of those who had experienced anti-Semitism, overall 53% had observed it from someone on the Left. In Britain 57% of those who had witnessed anti-Semitism said it came from someone on the Left. In Italy 62% of this group registered hearing anti-Semitism from the Left and in France that figure stands at 67%. By contrast, in Britain, for example, only 33% of those reporting anti-Semitism said it came from the political Right.
The Left have of course made themselves Fellow Travellers of, and apologists for, extremist elements within the Muslim community. In turn it has been these same groups who have been the greatest beneficiaries of the Left’s Multiculturalist policies.
It is worthy of note then that in Britain 56% of those who had encountered anti-Semitism said they had seen it come from a Muslim extremists. Just 14% said it had come from Christians. In Sweden 51% of those experiencing anti-Semitism associated it with having come from Muslims and in France a shocking 73% did.
What this survey further demonstrates is that those who fan the flames of hatred against Israel also do so against Jews in general. The most common anti-Semitic slur reported by Jews in this survey concerned equivalences being made between Israelis and Nazis, with 82% saying they had heard such an accusation.
Indeed, 79% said that they had felt held to account or blamed for events in Israel, simply because they were themselves Jewish. The way in which events in the Middle East are used as an excuse for unleashing attacks against Jews in Europe was further attested to by the fact that 68% of respondents said that the Arab-Israeli conflict impacted upon their own sense of safety either a great deal or to a fair amount.
Unsurprisingly, the upshot of this wave of animosity has been an extremely negative effect upon Europe’s Jews, 68% whom say they have avoided appearing identifiably Jewish in public because of fears of anti-Semitism. Almost half of those who have been victims of anti-Semitism, 49%, say they now avoid certain areas for fear of further attack; 21% of those who have not yet been attacked do so anyway.
And while the Jewish population of many European countries has been dwindling over the years, it appears that hatred against Jews could be contributing to this, with many saying they are considering emigration to escape hostility against them in Europe. Overall, 29% of European Jews say they are considering emigration to escape persecution in the European Union and in countries such as France that figure goes up to 49%.
Despite this study revealing just how much anti-Jewish hostility takes place Europe, it also exposed just how little of this gets reported. Of those who had experienced harassment 76% failed to report this to the authorities and of those who have been physically attacked 64% had not done so either.
Many said they did not report these crimes because they did not expect the police to take any action. Another group, 27%, said these things happen all the time and too often to always be reported, and 9% said they don’t report anti-Semitism as they don’t expect to be believed or taken seriously.
Such statements are, if nothing else, simply depressing. Will this be enough to alert Europe’s political leaders to the rising danger of repeating the worst mistakes of Europe’s past? Most likely, European politicians will express concern, some of it genuine. But most of them are far too wedded to the very ‘progressive’ ideology that allowed for this situation to arise in the first place.
They are not about to condemn their own constituencies on the Left, nor are they about to admit that the Islamic community, an ethnic minority and therefore by definition a righteous victim group, must face up to its own serious anti-Semitism problem.
It also seems unlikely that European leaders are about to display much moral clarity on the Israel issue and declare unequivocally the right of Israel, as an embattled democracy, to defend itself and the right of the Jews to have self-determination like any other people.
Instead, they will no doubt push ahead with their growing support for boycotts of Israeli products which sit unpleasantly alongside the mounting prospect of seeing kosher and circumcision banned in many EU countries.
Without a sea change on the part of European political and intellectual elites, it appears as if Europe is about to become a dark continent of anti-Jewish persecution once again.
Tom Wilson lives in New York where he is a political analyst and writer