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11 Dec, 2018 17:27

‘Nothing is being done’ about rising anti-Semitism in Europe, survey finds

‘Nothing is being done’ about rising anti-Semitism in Europe, survey finds

Seven decades since the end of World War II, a new survey has found that anti-Semitism is once again on the rise in Europe. The anti-Jewish sentiment is pervasive on social media and increased with Muslim migration to Europe.

The survey, conducted by the EU’s Agency for Fundamental Rights, found that 89 percent of Europe’s Jews feel that anti-Semitism has increased since the last such survey was taken in 2012. Almost a third of respondents said they have been harassed in the last year, with those who “can be recognized as Jewish” subjected to more frequent harassment. Three percent had been physically attacked for being Jewish.

“I never wear any Jewish symbols publicly and I always look over my shoulder when I attend a Jewish event,” one Swedish woman said. “I only want to be left in peace and be able to practice my religion.”

For many European Jews, social media has given a platform to voices that would previously have remained on the fringes. Jews have long been the subject of conspiracy theories, from the 1920s pamphlet ‘The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,’ up to present day conspiracies about Jewish bankers secretly running the world. Some respondents felt that while conspiracy theories are not a crime, they reinforce harmful stereotypes about Jews.

“These are the sort of things that you can’t report to the police or even to the media platform, but strengthen a hostile culture,” one British man said. “For example, references to Jewish bankers, Rothschild cults, etc etc."

While anti-Semitism in Europe has historically come from the extreme right and elements of the socialist left, the 2015 refugee crisis and the subsequent influx of millions of Muslim migrants have helped bring an ancient religious conflict to the streets of modern Europe.

Mireille Knoll, an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor experienced this first-hand earlier this year. After surviving the Vichy government’s roundup of Paris’ Jews in 1942, Knoll was stabbed to death and burned in her apartment this March by her Muslim neighbor. Prosecutors said the attack was motivated by the neighbor’s anti-Semitic beliefs.

“She was absolutely massacred. Eleven knife wounds. That is hatred of the Jews, we see it in the fury of the murderer. This is how we recognize anti-Semitism,” Francis Kalifat, the head of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France, told the New York Times.

One year earlier, another elderly Jewish woman, Sarah Halimi, was killed by a Malian man who shouted, “Allahu Akbar” before throwing her out a window. A year before that, a gunman pledging allegiance to the Islamic State terror group killed four people in a Kosher supermarket in Paris.

Many of the Jews surveyed feared attacks from their Muslim neighbors. 30 percent of those harassed or attacked said the perpetrator was someone with “extremist Muslim views.”

“One of the fundamentally biggest problems for Jews in Denmark is that we do not dare visibly show our Jewish identity in public, at school, at the gym, etc. for fear of anti-Semitic statements, unfortunately, in particular from our Muslim neighbors,” said one Danish man. “The majority of these have been initiated by people of a Muslim background,” another Danish woman added.

Among the other perpetrators were people with “left-wing political views” (21 percent), and people with “right-wing political views” (13 percent).

Over two-thirds of respondents feel their governments are not doing enough to tackle anti-Semitism. So prevalent is this worry that many have decided to uproot and move to Israel, where citizenship is a birthright for Jews worldwide. Out of the thirteen countries surveyed, German, French, and Belgian Jews felt most like emigrating.

“In two months we’ll be emigrating to Israel because of the anti-Semitism in Europe,” one French woman said. “Nothing is being done about it. So we are leaving voluntarily.”

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