Four in 10 young European Jews have considered emigrating over fears of anti-Semitism, report says
By CLAIRE PARKER | The Washington Post | Published: July 6, 2019
Nearly half of young Jewish Europeans have considered moving away from their home countries out of fear for their safety amid a rise in anti-Semitic incidents on the continent, according to a new report issued by the European Union.
The report also found that 80% of the people surveyed consider anti-Semitism to be a problem in their countries and almost half had experienced at least one anti-Semitic incident in the preceding year.
The report, compiled by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research and based on an EU survey of more than 2,700 Jewish Europeans between ages 16 and 34 living in 12 European Union member states, points to what many analysts, politicians and advocacy groups have said is a troubling rise in anti-Jewish sentiment.
The report said young Jewish Europeans perceive the frequency of these incidents to be increasing.
"Many see anti-Semitism in the media, in political life and on the street, and almost all see it online and on social media - it is in these contexts that most consider it to be an existing and growing problem," the report reads.
A separate report published in May found that "major violent" anti-Semitic incidents increased globally by 13% in 2018.
Western Europe in particular has grappled with a number of high-profile incidents of anti-Semitism in recent months. Vandals painted swastikas on nearly 100 gravestones at a Jewish cemetery in France in February. British police launched a probe into anti-Semitic speech among some members of the United Kingdom's Labour Party in May. And a government minister in Germany warned Jewish men not to wear the traditional kippah cap in public amid a spike in anti-Semitic hate crimes.
The new report found that even though 44% reported having been targeted within the previous year, 80% do not report these incidents. Of the 4% who said they had experienced physical attacks in that time frame, about half said they decided not to report the incident to authorities. Many respondents said they have chosen not to wear religious garb or hold religious objects in public to avoid harassment.
Around one million Jewish people live in Europe, according to the study, and many have grown up amid a resurgent anti-Semitism that the report attributes to the rise of the far-right, the far-left and Islamic extremism.
These young people represent "the future of Europe's Jews," the study says.
"The decisions they take - not least, whether to remain in Europe and be part of the project to strengthen it, or to leave Europe out of fears for their safety as Jews - will speak volumes about the nature of Europe and its ability to absorb and respect cultural difference," the report reads.
Michael O'Flaherty, director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, called the results of the survey - particularly the proportion of young Jewish Europeans who had contemplated emigrating - "deeply troubling" in a letter introducing the findings. He called on European policymakers to strengthen educational and legal measures to combat anti-Semitism.
"These findings make for grim reading," he wrote. "We must fight anti-Semitism more effectively by tackling it at its roots, no matter how difficult that is."