Website policy


We provide links to articles we think will be of interest to our supporters. We are sympathetic to much of the content of what we post, but not to everything. The fact that something has been linked to here does not necessarily mean that we endorse the views expressed in it.
_____________________

BSST

BSST is the leading charity focusing on small-scale grass roots cross community, anti poverty and humanitarian projects in Israel/Palestine
____________________

JfJfP comments


2016:

06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics

2015:

23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

13 Sep: Rosh Hashanah greetings

21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

15 April: Letter re Ed Miliband and Israel

11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo

2014:

15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

25 Nov: Submission to All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

7 Sept: JfJfP Executive statement on Antisemitism

3 Aug: Urgent disclaimer

19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

24 Jan: Support for Riba resolution

16 Jan: EJJP lobbies EU in support of the EU Commission Guidelines, Aug 2013–Jan 2014

2013:

29 November: JfJfP, with many others, signs a "UK must protest at Bedouin expulsion" letter

November: Press release, letter to the Times and advert in the Independent on the Prawer Plan

September: Briefing note and leaflet on the Prawer Plan

September: JfJfP/EJJP on the EU guidelines with regard to Israel

14th June: JfJfP joins other organisations in protest to BBC

2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011

_____________________

Posts

Antisemitism in Europe: find the facts you want

Because of the wide publicity given to the FRA report on antisemitism in Europe, this posting has these items from the report [from which it has proved impossible to copy much of the information]  interspersed with commentaries and other material, plus an extensive list of notes and links:
1) Ha’aretz: European Jews feel comfortable at home, but see rising anti-Semitism Anshel Pfeffer keeps his feet on the ground;
2) Spiegel: EU Study: Jews in Germany Fear Rising Anti-Semitism, the particularity of Germany;
3) BBC: Anti-Semitism ‘on the rise’ say Europe’s Jews, straightforward report which, unlike the American commentaries, recognises that ‘Europe’ consists of very different countries;
4) FRA: Introduction to survey;
5) Commentator: Plight of Europe’s Jews revealed in new survey, Jews are in danger everywhere except the US and Israel;
6) American Jewish Committee: AJC Urges EU to Act on Findings of Anti-Semitism Report, AJC finds the figures that confirm its warnings about Europe;
7) FRA: Combating antisemitism, figures for the answers to the questionnaire;
8 – Slate: Why You Can’t Be Both French and Jewish, Rachael Levy describes the enforcement of a uniform French secularism in public life;
9) Notes and links.


Gravestones desecrated with swastikas in a Jewish cemetery in northeastern Germany. Photo by DPA.

European Jews feel comfortable at home, but see rising anti-Semitism

Of nearly 6,000 Jews surveyed in eight countries, over three-quarters said anti-Semitism had risen in last five years; some researchers, however, say figures may be misleading.

By Anshel Pfeffer, Ha’aretz
November 11, 2013

The first comprehensive survey of European Jews on their exposure and reactions to anti-Semitism has prompted dire headlines. Of the nearly 6,000 Jews surveyed recently in eight countries, over three-quarters said European anti-Semitism had risen in the last five years. Twenty-nine percent said they were considering emigrating out of concern for their safety; among Hungary’s Jews, that figure was 48 percent, among French Jews, 46 percent, and among Belgian Jews, 40 percent. Furthermore, 22 percent of respondents said they were afraid to identify as Jews in public or visit Jewish events and centers, while a quarter said they had experienced anti-Semitic threats or harassment over the last year.

However, those attention-getting figures may well be misleading. These data are not backed up by clear figures of a major rise in reported anti-Semitic incidents throughout Europe – partly due to the lack of such data in most European countries (with the notable exception of Britain), and the lack of European Jews’ eagerness to report such incidents; 75 percent of respondents said they have not reported their perceived brushes with anti-Semitism.

Moreover, there is the deeper problem of defining an anti-Semitic incident. The survey, commissioned by the European Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), is based on the respondents feelings, not on any objective definition of anti-Semitism. In none of the eight countries participating in the survey (France, Britain, Germany, Hungary, Belgium, Italy, Sweden and Latvia) did more than 10 percent report they had experienced actual physical violence or threatening behavior over the last five years, and in some countries it was as low as three percent. On the other hand, over 75 percent said they consider anti-Semitism on the Internet a significant problem, but since millions of people can be exposed on the Web to what one person wrote, it is impossible to say whether online anti-Semitism is on the increase, or rather that the sensitivity to racism is so high that isolated cases get widely circulated.

The survey included 5,847 respondents, and its findings were presented on Friday after part of them were published by Haaretz last month.

Catastrophe or renaissance, take your pick

The study’s most striking finding was that over three-quarters of respondents said anti-Semitism had risen over the last five years. Yet it is difficult to determine if this perception was caused by a rise in actual expressions of Jew-hatred, when in Hungary, for example, there was a rise in nationalism accompanied by the electoral success of the far-right Jobbik party; when in France, many Jews attribute a rise in anti-Semitism to the growth of the local Muslim community; and when in other Western European countries, many Jews feel it’s left-wing animosity toward Israel that is fueling hatred of Jews in general.

One figure that contrasted sharply with the high proportion of French and Hungarian Jews who said they were considering emigration (which is not borne out by numbers of actual immigrants) was the measure of the respondents’ sense of belonging to their countries, and their sense of comfort with both their national and Jewish identities. Over 70 percent of Hungarian Jews reported feeling a strong sense of belonging, while in France the figure topped 80 percent.


Hasidic Jews feeling quite comfortable, despite their distinctive appearance, in North London’s Stamford Hill. It’s the largest Hasidic Jewish community in Europe with about 50 synagogues in the area. Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images Europe

Dr. Jonathan Boyd, executive director of London’s Institute for Jewish Policy Research, who was one of a group of associates working with the FRA on the survey, said: “We have to acknowledge that people feel quite comfortable where they are, and that’s quite an important counter-balance. This survey is very important, but the problem is that since it’s the first of its kind, we don’t have any data to compare it to. Neither can we say what is an acceptable level of anti-Semitic exposure; one in five is too high. It’s also difficult to define what is an anti-Semitic incident. The fact that a lot of people are talking about something and it’s in the media and online doesn’t tell us how wide it us; it makes it much harder to pin it down.”

According to Boyd, “There’s no way of saying whether European Jews are facing impending catastrophe or an imminent renaissance. This is just one piece of data and there’s evidence to point either way.”



EU Study: Jews in Germany Fear Rising Anti-Semitism

By Barbara Hans, SpiegelOnline
November 08, 2013

A vast survey conducted by the EU’s Agency for Fundamental Rights and published Friday contains troubling results almost exactly 75 years after Kristallnacht: Jews in Germany and seven other EU countries continue to live in fear of verbal or physical abuse — whether in public or, increasingly, online.

“I find it almost unbearable that religious services can only take place with police protection.”

“Anti-Semitism is one reason for me to leave Germany because I want to protect my family from any danger.”

“The anti-Semitic insults I have experienced were not from neo-Nazis or from leftists, but from ordinary people of the political center.”

What is it like for Jews to live in Europe? Are they able to practice their religion without restraint? Seventy-five years after the beginning of the Kristallnachtpogrom, also referred to as the “November pogroms,” how much harassment, discrimination and hate crime do they encounter?

On Friday, the Vienna-based European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) released a report titled “Discrimination and Hate Crime against Jews in EU Member States: experiences and perceptions of antisemitism.” The online survey polled 5,847 self-selected individuals who identified as Jewish in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Sweden and the UK, states in which an estimated 90 percent of European Jews live.

Coping with Anti-Semitism

The survey’s results provide insight into the perceptions, experiences and self-conception of European Jews. Rather than supplying absolute figures on anti-Semitic attacks, the study focuses on the perceived danger of such attacks and how much the anxiety this causes affects their lives.

Two-thirds of respondents (66%) said that anti-Semitism is a problem in Europe, and over three-quarters (76%) noted that there had been an increase in anti-Semitic hostility in their home countries over the last five years.

Close to half of respondents (46%) are afraid of being verbally attacked or harassed in a public place because they are Jewish, while a third (33%) worry that such attacks could turn physical.

Roughly 50 percent of surveyed parents or grandparents of school-aged children worry that their children could be victims of anti-Semitic verbal insults or harassment at or on the way to or from school if they wore visible Jewish symbols in public.

More than half of respondents (57%) said that, over the last 12 months, they had heard or seen someone claim that the Holocaust was a myth or that it has been exaggerated.

About a quarter (26%) of respondents said that they had experienced some form of anti-Semitic harassment over the previous year, while 4 percent said they had experienced physical violence or threats of attack in the same period.
Almost one-fourth (23%) said they had been discriminated against in the last 12-month period for being Jewish.
Among employed respondents, 11 percent said they are most likely to experience discrimination for being Jewish at the workplace, while 10 percent said this was the case when looking for work.
The study also examined whether these incidents made it into official statistics. The overwhelming majority of respondents (82%) said that they had not reported to any authority or organization “the most serious incident, namely the one that most affected them.”

In Germany, the KPMD, a service for registering crimes, has recorded a decline in anti-Semitic crimes since 2009. However, by itself, that says nothing about the perceptions of Jews living in Germany. According to the FRA report, 63 percent of the Jewish respondents in Germany have avoided “wearing, carrying or displaying things that might help people identify them as Jews in public,” such as a skullcap (kippa). Likewise, 25 percent of them claimed to have considered emigrating from Germany in the last five years because they don’t feel safe there.

When it comes to the relative seriousness of anti-Semitism, Germany was the only country in which a majority (61%) of respondents said it was the greatest problem. Respondents from the other seven countries believed that unemployment was the most pressing issue.

Blamed for Israeli Policies

In the report, FRA states that a survey it published in 2012 had “found evidence suggesting that events in the Middle East can act as a trigger for translating anti-Israel sentiment into antisemitic sentiment targeting Jewish populations as a whole.” For the poll published Friday, 49 percent of respondents in Germany claimed to have heard or seen non-Jewish people suggest that Israelis behave “like Nazis” toward the Palestinians. The study’s results seem to suggest that German Jews are viewed as proxies of the state of Israel and its policies. Indeed, it found that 81 percent of them have felt accused of or blamed for something the Israeli government had done. Moreover, it noted a close coincidence between when trouble flares up in the Middle East and when Jews in Germany perceive rising hostility.

“One reason (not the only one!) for the latent anti-Semitism is the open conflict between Israel and Palestine and other neighboring Arab countries. A peaceful solution to this conflict would also reduce the ground for anti-Semitism in other countries.”

The study also found that respondents claimed that they had been increasingly exposed to negative statements about Jews online, including on blogs and social-networking sites. Three-quarters (75%) of all respondents in the eight countries identified the Internet as “the most common forum for negative statements” and a place where such statements could be made with virtual impunity. This was particularly true for respondents between the ages of 16 and 29, of whom 88 percent said that they saw or heard negative comments about Jews online.

Worries about suffering verbal or physical attacks, the study notes, have been found to have negative effects on physical, social and emotional well-being by prompting people to restrict their movements or activities. Almost a quarter (23%) of respondents claimed to avoid visiting Jewish events, sites or parts of their neighborhoods because they don’t feel safe there or on the way there owing to their Jewish identity.

The survey also found that Jews living in Germany were particularly concerned with two issues that have sparked much debate in recent years: the prohibition of circumcision (brit mila) and traditional Jewish rituals associated with slaughtering animals (shechita). Almost three-quarters (71%) said that banning circumcision would be a “very big” or “fairly big” problem for them, while half (50%) held the same view regarding prohibitions on traditional slaughter.

“I will wait for the developments concerning a statutory regulation on the Brit Mila. This will be crucial for my decision on whether or not to leave Germany.”

* The quotations in italics are statements made by Jews living in German who responded to the survey online. Translations are taken directly from the report.



Anti-Semitism ‘on the rise’ say Europe’s Jews

By Bethany Bell, BBC News
November 08, 2013

Many Jews in Europe say anti-Semitism is increasing, particularly on the internet, according to a survey by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA).

The survey of 5,847 Jewish people said 66% of those who responded considered anti-Semitism to be a problem.

Three out of four respondents, 76%, believed anti-Semitism had increased over the past five years.

The survey was carried out in 2012 in eight countries which are home to about 90% of the EU’s Jewish population.

Respondents in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Sweden and the United Kingdom were asked to give “their opinions and perceptions on anti-Semitic trends and anti-Semitism as a problem in everyday”.

They were also asked about their personal experiences and worries about their own safety and that of family members.

There was particular concern about anti-Semitism online. About three-quarters of respondents considered that to be a problem which is getting worse.

A British woman in her 50s, quoted in the survey, said she had “experienced more anti-Semitic comments” since going on Facebook “than I ever have done throughout my whole life”.

She added: “This is very dispiriting. The speed at which hostile comments and misinformation can be passed around is frightening and leads to a sense of deep unease, which may not connect with the day-to-day reality of being Jewish in a diverse society.”

Condemnation call
The survey found 29% of those surveyed had considered emigrating because of concerns about safety, with particularly high figures recorded in Hungary (48%), France (46%) and Belgium (40%).

It found one in five respondents had personally experienced at least one anti-Semitic verbal insult and/or a physical attack in the year before the survey.

Perpetrators of the most serious incidents were described as “being perceived as someone with Muslim extremist views, 27%, left-wing political views, 22%, or with right-wing views, 19%”.

Respondents said the most frequent comments made by non-Jewish people in the UK were: “Israelis behave ‘like Nazis’ towards the Palestinians” and “Jews exploit Holocaust victimhood for their own purposes” (both 35%).

In France 52% of the Jewish people surveyed described anti-Semitism as a “very big problem” in their country, in Hungary the figure was 49%, while in the UK it was much less – 11%.

The survey showed significant differences between Western and Eastern European countries.

In Latvia, only 8% said the Israeli-Arab conflict had had a large impact on how safe they felt, but the figure rose to 28% for Germany and was as high as 73% in France.

FRA Director Morten Kjaerum said this reflected differing histories, as well as recent patterns of immigration.

“I think that there is across Europe… a traditional form of anti-Semitism that goes back in history for a long time,” he said.

“But then we also see a particular sort of anti-Semitism reported by the respondents, namely the anti-Semitism which comes out of the conflict in the Middle East. And this is where you have to be careful: when do you have a legitimate critique of whatever your position may be in terms of that particular conflict and when would it be an anti-Semitic statement?”

Demand for action
The FRA said EU countries should work “urgently” to find effective ways to combat online anti-Semitism. It called on public figures to condemn anti-Semitic statements.

The President of the European Jewish Congress, Moshe Kantor, welcomed the survey, but said “the fact that a quarter of Jews are not able to express their Jewishness because of fear should be a watershed moment for the continent of Europe and the European Union.”

“The Jewish reality in Europe is of great concern and the authorities need to deal with incidents of hate and intolerance in a holistic manner, to really combat these manifestations before it is too late.

“We would like to see concrete steps being taken, including creating legislation to specifically deal with anti-Semitism and racism, bolstering law enforcement agencies and ensure a zero-tolerance approach to anti-Semitism, even, and perhaps specifically, when opinion-shapers and decision-makers engage in these forms of hate,” he said. with Anti-Semitism

The survey’s results provide insight into the perceptions, experiences and self-conception of European Jews. Rather than supplying absolute figures on anti-Semitic attacks, the study focuses on the perceived danger of such attacks and how much the anxiety this causes affects their lives.

Two-thirds of respondents (66%) said that anti-Semitism is a problem in Europe, and over three-quarters (76%) noted that there had been an increase in anti-Semitic hostility in their home countries over the last five years.

Close to half of respondents (46%) are afraid of being verbally attacked or harassed in a public place because they are Jewish, while a third (33%) worry that such attacks could turn physical.

Roughly 50 percent of surveyed parents or grandparents of school-aged children worry that their children could be victims of anti-Semitic verbal insults or harassment at or on the way to or from school if they wore visible Jewish symbols in public.

More than half of respondents (57%) said that, over the last 12 months, they had heard or seen someone claim that the Holocaust was a myth or that it has been exaggerated.

About a quarter (26%) of respondents said that they had experienced some form of anti-Semitic harassment over the previous year, while 4 percent said they had experienced physical violence or threats of attack in the same period.

Almost one-fourth (23%) said they had been discriminated against in the last 12-month period for being Jewish.
Among employed respondents, 11 percent said they are most likely to experience discrimination for being Jewish at the workplace, while 10 percent said this was the case when looking for work.

The study also examined whether these incidents made it into official statistics. The overwhelming majority of respondents (82%) said that they had not reported to any authority or organization “the most serious incident, namely the one that most affected them.”

In Germany, the KPMD, a service for registering crimes, has recorded a decline in anti-Semitic crimes since 2009. However, by itself, that says nothing about the perceptions of Jews living in Germany. According to the FRA report, 63 percent of the Jewish respondents in Germany have avoided “wearing, carrying or displaying things that might help people identify them as Jews in public,” such as a skullcap (kippa). Likewise, 25 percent of them claimed to have considered emigrating from Germany in the last five years because they don’t feel safe there.

When it comes to the relative seriousness of anti-Semitism, Germany was the only country in which a majority (61%) of respondents said it was the greatest problem. Respondents from the other seven countries believed that unemployment was the most pressing issue.

Blamed for Israeli Policies

In the report, FRA states that a survey it published in 2012 had “found evidence suggesting that events in the Middle East can act as a trigger for translating anti-Israel sentiment into antisemitic sentiment targeting Jewish populations as a whole.” For the poll published Friday, 49 percent of respondents in Germany claimed to have heard or seen non-Jewish people suggest that Israelis behave “like Nazis” toward the Palestinians. The study’s results seem to suggest that German Jews are viewed as proxies of the state of Israel and its policies. Indeed, it found that 81 percent of them have felt accused of or blamed for something the Israeli government had done. Moreover, it noted a close coincidence between when trouble flares up in the Middle East and when Jews in Germany perceive rising hostility.

“One reason (not the only one!) for the latent anti-Semitism is the open conflict between Israel and Palestine and other neighboring Arab countries. A peaceful solution to this conflict would also reduce the ground for anti-Semitism in other countries.”

The study also found that respondents claimed that they had been increasingly exposed to negative statements about Jews online, including on blogs and social-networking sites. Three-quarters (75%) of all respondents in the eight countries identified the Internet as “the most common forum for negative statements” and a place where such statements could be made with virtual impunity. This was particularly true for respondents between the ages of 16 and 29, of whom 88 percent said that they saw or heard negative comments about Jews online.

Worries about suffering verbal or physical attacks, the study notes, have been found to have negative effects on physical, social and emotional well-being by prompting people to restrict their movements or activities. Almost a quarter (23%) of respondents claimed to avoid visiting Jewish events, sites or parts of their neighborhoods because they don’t feel safe there or on the way there owing to their Jewish identity.

The survey also found that Jews living in Germany were particularly concerned with two issues that have sparked much debate in recent years: the prohibition of circumcision (brit mila) and traditional Jewish rituals associated with slaughtering animals (shechita). Almost three-quarters (71%) said that banning circumcision would be a “very big” or “fairly big” problem for them, while half (50%) held the same view regarding prohibitions on traditional slaughter.

“I will wait for the developments concerning a statutory regulation on the Brit Mila. This will be crucial for my decision on whether or not to leave Germany.”

* The quotations in italics are statements made by Jews living in German who responded to the survey online. Translations are taken directly from the report.



FRA survey of Jewish people’s experiences and perceptions of discrimination and hate crime in European Union Member States

Survey dates 03/09/2012 to 08/10/2012

FRA online survey on Jewish people’s experiences and perceptions of discrimination, hate crime and antisemitism collected responses from 5,847 self-identified Jewish people in eight EU Member States – Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The survey was open to all respondents who considered themselves Jewish (based on e.g. religion, culture, upbringing, ethnicity, parentage), were 16 or older, and living in one of the survey countries. In addition to the eight countries, survey data collection was carried out also in Romania, but due to the small number of respondents from Romania FRA’s comparative analysis focuses on the eight EU Member States where a larger sample size was achieved.

The survey data collection was managed by a joint team from Ipsos MORI – a survey research company – and the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR), based on the data collection methodology developed with FRA. This is the first EU survey to collect comparable data on Jewish people’s experiences and perceptions of hate-motivated crime, discrimination and antisemitism. The survey asked respondents’ opinions about trends in antisemitism, antisemitism as a problem in everyday life, witnessing antisemitic incidents and worries about becoming a victim of an antisemitic attack (personal safety, safety of children, other family members and friends). The survey also provides data on the extent to which respondents consider antisemitic acts against the Jewish community, such as vandalism of Jewish sites or antisemitic messages in the broadcast media or on the internet, to be a problem in their countries. Furthermore, respondents were asked about their personal experiences of antisemitic incidents – harassment, violence and vandalism of property which the respondents felt took place because of them being Jewish. They could also describe their experiences of discrimination – in general and specifically linked to being Jewish – and their awareness of laws that exist to protect Jewish people from discrimination and hate crime.

The FRA survey results will help support policy makers and other stakeholders in tackling discrimination and hate crime against Jews across the EU. In light of this, FRA suggests several steps to support EU and national policy makers in developing and implementing measures designed to safeguard the fundamental right of Jews.



Plight of Europe’s Jews revealed in new survey

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

By Tom Wilson, The Commentator
November 09, 2013

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.

US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel

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.


A couple dances during the theatrical performance ‘Jewish Wedding in Galicia’ as part of the International Festival of Jewish music 2013 held in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, Europe on September 1, 2013. Photo by Yuriy Dyachyshyn /AFP/Getty

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



AJC Urges EU to Act on Findings of Anti-Semitism Report

Media release, American Jewish Committee (AJC)
November 08, 2013

AJC is calling for greater pan-European coordination in combating anti-Semitism, following today’s release of an EU survey of Jews across Europe.

The survey of the EU Fundamental Rights Agency’s (FRA) – Discrimination and Hate Crime Against Jews in EU Member States – was made public on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogroms in Nazi Germany. Comprised of responses from 5,847 Jews in the eight EU Member States with the largest communities, it is the first such study to collect comparable data on Jewish experiences of anti-Semitism.

“Over the past few years, we have read report after report about the growing presence of anti-Semitism in Europe,” said Daniel Schwammenthal, Director of the AJC Transatlantic Institute. “The FRA survey confirms those troubling reports and truly gives voice to the concerns of Europe’s Jewish citizens.”

According to the survey, 21% of respondents have experienced at least one incident of anti-Semitic verbal insult or harassment, and/or a physical attack in the past 12 months (an increase from 7% in the five years prior to the survey). More disturbing, 82% of those who “felt discriminated against during the period because they are Jewish did not report the most serious incident” to the authorities or competent bodies. As a result, 23% said that they, at least occasionally, avoided Jewish events or sites. Another 29% have considered emigrating in the past five years. In Hungary, France and Belgium the numbers are between 40% and 48%.

“Police protection has long been a sad necessity for Jewish schools and houses of worship throughout Europe, but it is clear that current methods of protection are not sufficient,” said Schwammenthal. “The fact that the overwhelming number of anti-Semitic attacks go unreported and that almost a third of Jews have considered leaving Europe shows there is a lack of trust in the relevant authorities’ abilities to deal with the threat. That must change immediately.”

The survey findings underscore the severity of the threat of anti-Semitism to the Jewish communities: in Hungary, 92% of respondents felt it was among the top three social and political problems, while 80% of those in France said the same.
Moreover, it highlighted the prevalence of new forms of anti-Semitism – namely anti-Zionism. For example, 48% of respondents said they regularly hear people compare Israel to the Nazis. And around 60% of respondents in Belgium, Italy and France said that they are frequently or all the time blamed for Israeli actions. In the U.K., Germany and Sweden the corresponding proportion ranged from 40% to 50%.

“The EU already has a working definition on anti-Semitism developed in 2005 by FRA’s predecessor organization which clearly spells out that such attacks, branding Israel as a racist entity or drawing comparisons to the Nazis, go well beyond the boundary of legitimate criticism,” said Schwammenthal. “This survey makes clear that it is now time for the EU to formally adopt this definition so that there is clarity and uniformity in the fight against anti-Semitism.”

Founded in 2004, the Brussels-based AJC Transatlantic Institute engages European lawmakers on issues related to anti-Semitism in the European Union.



Combating antisemitism

By FRA
November 08, 2013

Assessment of manifestations of antisemitism according to country (% of respondents who said that a given form of antisemitism is ‘a very big problem’ or ‘a fairly big problem’ in the country)

Abbreviations
BE- Belgium, DE – Germany, FR- France, HU – Hungary, IT – Italy, LV- Latvia, SE- Sweden, UK, Av- Average of  the 8 countries.

Figures given are percentages of the Jewish respondents per country. [It is notable that, with the exception of Latvia – where fewest people have internet access – the most commonly reported experience of antisemitism was its manifestation on the internet.]

Antisemitism on the internet

Be: 85, De: 67, Fr: 85, Hun: 86, It: 87, Lat: 52, Swd: 68, UK: 64, Av: 75

Antisemitism in the media

Be: 70, De: 40, Fr: 71, Hun: 73, It: 59, Lat:37, Swd: 54, UK: 52, Av: 59

Expressions of hostility towards Jews in the street or other public places

Be: 74, De: 48, Fr: 84, Hun: 72, It: 30, Lat: 16, Swd: 51, UK: 35, Av: 54

Desecration of Jewish cemeteries

Be: 42, De: 46, Fr: 74, Hun: 79, It: 41, Lat: 56, Swd: 34, UK: 35, Av: 50

Antisemitic graffiti

Be: 52, De: 30, Fr: 69, Hun: 69, It: 61, Lat: 21, Swd: 29, UK: 26, Av: 45

Vandalism of Jewish buildings and institutions

Be: 54, De: 33, Fr: 78, Hun: 52, It: 43, Lat: 23, Swd: 30, UK: 31, Av: 45

Antisemitism in political life
Be: 51, De: 30, Fr:50, Hun: 84, It: 36, Lat:35, Swd:41, UK: 34, Av:44



The caption to this photo reads ‘A woman mourns after the funerals of three French-Israeli children and a Jewish teacher killed in the March 19 school shooting in Toulouse, France’  [she is leaning against a reflectng surface]. Gunman Mohammed Merah went to the school expecting to find soldiers there. He had already killed three soldiers, two of them Muslim. This aspect of his murder spree is rarely mentioned in accounts of the Toulouse school killings. Photo by Phillippe Desmazes/AFP/Getty Images.


Why You Can’t Be Both French and Jewish

The Toulouse school shootings were horrible. But they should come as no surprise.

By Rachael Levy, Slate
March 2012

A woman cries as she stands against the side window of the convoy.
A woman mourns after the funerals of three French-Israeli children and a Jewish teacher killed in the March 19 school shooting in Toulouse, France.
Photo by Phillippe Desmazes/AFP/Getty Images.

I’m an American Jew who lived in France for most of the last four years, first in Nantes and later in Paris. Last year, I was sitting in a café in the 6th arrondissement with two French college friends, randomly recounting to one of them—a nonpracticing Jew whose family has long lived in Paris—a philosophical debate from a Jewish studies course about married women covering their hair. The other friend, not Jewish but also raised in Paris, cringed as he listened to our conversation.

“You see? This is the difference between you and us,” he said as he glared at the Parisian Jew and me. “While you spend your time talking about this, in France we debate culture and politics.”

Taken aback, my Jewish friend and I both looked at each other, me hoping he would break the silence. I was the foreigner, after all—wasn’t it his place to defend himself in his native city?

But nothing came of it. Seconds later, the awkward moment passed and my two friends went about chatting as if nothing had happened. But that experience—between supposed friends, no less—confirmed a suspicion I’d come to harbor about how many French view their Jewish countrymen: with furtive skepticism and distaste.

To understand exactly what happened in that café, you must first grasp a simple truth: You cannot actually be both French and Jewish.

For an American, that sounds odd. After all, in the land of plenty, Jews can identify with endless variations of hyphenation: Jewish-American, American Jew, “half-Jewish,” even “quarter-Jewish.” It would rarely, if ever, occur to you that someone would question whether you could be both American and a member of that Israelite faith. You are considered as Jewish as you are American, as American as you are Jewish.

But what seems so simple in the United States is anything but in France. In the end, the trouble stems from the idea that “French” means you follow the values of the state—in this case, secularism. What Americans often believe to be the mere French version of “separation of church and state” is actually diametrically opposed to Americanized freedom of religion. In short, while Americans value freedom of religion, the French value freedom from religion.

In practice, French secularism, or laïcité, means that you don’t express your religious beliefs in public: That means in public schools, Muslim girls can’t wear their veils, Jewish boys can’t wear their kippot, and Christians can’t draw attention to their crosses. It also means that when a state exam falls on your religious holiday, well, tant pis, because laïcité means you’re supposed to be French before anything else.

Secularism regularly pops up in political debates. Indeed, it has been one of the driving points in this year’s presidential election. Just this month, Prime Minister François Fillon suggested that Jews and Muslims give up their “ancestral traditions” of eating kosher and halal meat, highlighting the French belief that one can’t be both a religious person and dedicated citizen.

Interestingly, no one knows with certainty how many people in France practice different faiths: The République doesn’t keep official stats. It is only by approximation that we estimate that largely atheist France is also home to the largest Jewish and Muslim populations of Europe, with roughly 600,000 Jews and 5 million Muslims.

And after those four years living among the French, I concluded that the country’s nearly religious devotion to secularism is at least a partial explanation for the country’s latent racism and anti-Semitism. It also fosters an ignorance that likely contributed to the perverted mindset of the suspected Toulouse gunman. Mohammed Merah might have been a radical Islamist of Algerian background, but he’s also a French national who grew up in Toulouse.

To understand French anti-Semitism, one must first understand the origins of its Jewish population: Jews have lived in France for over 2,000 years, with even some prominent Jewish religious commentators residing there in the early Middle Ages*; between the 18th and 20th centuries came the Jews of Central and Eastern Europe who were often fleeing pogroms; and the most recent wave, along with much of France’s Muslim immigrants, is of North African Jews from France’s old colonies, who largely began leaving as tensions rose in the Arab world after the creation of Israel and left en masse when enmity spiked around the 1967 Israeli-Arab War.

France has a long history of anti-Semitism with two main, albeit separate, strains: the more modern one coming from descendants of recent Muslim immigrants, and some leftists, who identify very strongly with the Palestinians—Merah seems to fit this camp—while the other stems from a centuries-long, heavily Catholic-influenced tradition. One of the most well-known instances is surely the 1890s Dreyfus affair, when the French rioted over whether a Jewish army officer could truly be considered French. The vitriolic reaction so marked one Austrian reporter that he decided Europeans would never accept their Jews. He left Paris convinced that sooner or later, Jews were going to need a place of refuge—a fairly perceptive observation, in hindsight. That journalist was Theodor Herzl, the founder of the modern political Zionist movement that eventually led to the creation of Israel in 1948.

And of course there is the old narrative of the valiant French resistance—and that it was ordinary Frenchmen, not the French Jews, who were the victims of Nazism—that remained the accepted storyline for decades after World War II. If indeed one in four of France’s Jews had perished in the Holocaust, collective memory indicated that the Nazis alone had been at fault. The fact that most arrests of French Jews were made by French policemen and that Drancy internment camp was policed by French authorities conveniently slipped public consciousness once France sought to rebuild its postwar economy. While it’s notable that the first research on French collaboration under Vichy wasn’t even undertaken until the early 1970s, it’s more revelatory that these studies were not completed by a Frenchman, but an American, Robert Paxton. And who can forget François Mitterand, president from 1981 to 1995, who insisted that France “was never involved” in the ill-treatment of France’s Jews; that it was 50 years after the war’s end, in 1995, before Jacques Chirac finally admitted France’s “inescapable guilt”; or that the SNCF train company, which provided cattle cars that transported France’s Jews to Nazi death camps in occupied Poland, issued its first public apology only last year.*

U.S. media noted this week that the Jewish school shooting in Toulouse was the worst violent anti-Semitic attack in France “in decades.” They were referring to the 1980 rue Copernic synagogue bombing, which rose to further infamy after then Prime Minister Raymond Barre characterized the attack as “a heinous act against Jews in a synagogue that struck four innocent Frenchmen crossing the street”—again reinforcing the idea that one couldn’t be French and Jewish.

The claim that Monday’s shooting was the worst violent attack in “decades” is somewhat misleading, since it glances over the fact that there have been scores of violent anti-Semitic acts in recent years—yes, perhaps not reported by the international press, but certainly on par in horridness. How could the media largely forget when Ilan Halimi, a Jewish 23-year-old of Moroccan origin, was brutally tortured in 2006 for weeks on end before his body, burned in acid and gasoline, was found in a woodlot outside Paris, all because his kidnappers thought his family could afford a ransom? (The kidnappers had presumed that he could quickly access funds because he was Jewish, ignoring that Halimi was from a working-class family.) It always struck me as a bit off that the French largely viewed that case as one perpetrated by Muslim immigrants: The ringleader of the gang grew up in Paris, and if that doesn’t make one French, what does? Or what of when an entire Jewish school was burned down in a middle-class Paris suburb in 2003?

And what about the hundreds of anti-Semitic acts that are recorded each year? True, the number of anti-Semitic acts in France has decreased recently—there were 466 in 2010 and 389 last year—but the number of violent attacks have increased over the same time.

That is why I wasn’t all that shocked by Monday’s shootings. When I lived there, France seemed like a powder keg of stubborn intolerance. If that is true nearly 70 years after the Holocaust, there was no reason to think it would be much better any time soon.

And as bizarre as this may seem, my heart sank when I learned that the besieged gunman was not a neo-Nazi, one early popular theory, but a radical Muslim. I actually would have preferred him to be a neo-Nazi. For now, I predict that in an ironic twist of fate, what was explicitly an anti-Semitic attack will become a source of anti-Semitic and hypocritical finger-pointing, as French presidential candidates will use Merah’s background to supplement their borderline racist rhetoric on the importance of laïcité and integration, while those who wish to downplay the very horror of an attack carried out by a French citizen will point at Israel, which the gunman named as a reason for targeting Jewish children. But if you say as much, people will only glower at you and stare.


Notes and links
Jewish life in Europe: Impending catastrophe, or imminent renaissance?pdf
Report by Jonathan Boyd, Institute for Jewish Policy Research, November 2013

INTRODUCTION
There are three major hypotheses about the future of Jewish life in Europe. The first argues that rising levels of antisemitism, increased criticism of Israel and changing demographics all point in the same direction: that Europe is rapidly becoming an unsafe place for Jews. The second argues that greater levels of diversity and heterogeneity in European societies are creating a more open environment for Jewish life to thrive, and the result can be seen in innovative and creative Jewish initiatives taking off all over the continent. The third argues that the demography of Jews in Europe, with higher death rates than birth rates the norm, points to a slow but inevitable decline of Jewish life.

Which one of these hypotheses is right? This paper examines each of them in turn, but ultimately concludes that there is insufficient evidence to make a fully accurate assessment. All have an evidence base to support them, but none is robust enough to completely outweigh the others.

In particular, it focuses on the new data gathered by JPR for the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), which sheds fresh light on the question of the future of Jewish life in Europe, and provides researchers with what is probably the largest dataset on European Jews ever to be produced.


Antisemitism
FRA, Summary overview of the situation in the European Union 2001–2011, Working paper
June 2012Technical report, FRA survey

Discrimination and hate crime against Jews in EU Member States: experiences and perceptions of antisemitism

Survey methodology, sample and questionnaire

Technical report

[This includes the questionnaire.
Section 2 asks questions about feelings of safety and security including worry that is provoked by the Arab-Israeli conflict or by actions of the Israeli government. The answer to this question does not distinguish between the various causes of feeling anxious or unsafe as a Jew. Questions 3, 4 and 6 ask about actual experience of harassment, violence and discrimination.

The full report, Discrimination and hate crime against Jews in EU Member States: experiences and perceptions of antisemitism, pdf, can be downloaded here, as can the Technical report.]

Antisemitism in France
Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the French Anti-Semitism Myth
From Daily Beast, May 2011
“France is not more anti-Semitic than America,” argued Roger Cukierman, then the head of the Representative Council of the Jewish Institutions of France (CRIF). He called on U.S. Jewish organizations to stop interfering in the affairs of French Jews, and suggested that the attacks on Jewish institutions at the time were the result of a fringe section of France’s six million-strong Muslim community. ( France has 600,000 Jews, the largest number outside the U.S and Israel. Cukierman thought the violence was a direct result of Israel’s reaction to the Palestinian intifada.

Islamophobia in France
‘Islamophobic France’: Muslim leader urges govt to act, RT August 2013.

Antisemitism in Hungary
Hungary launches PR blitz to combat racist image, Ha’aretz, October 2013

Hatred of gypsies in Hungary
Leading Hungarian journalist says Gypsies are ‘animals’ and should be ‘cast out of society’, World Jewish Congress, January 2013

American propaganda about European antisemitism
What U.S. Jews don’t get about European anti-semitism. Jonathan Freedland, Daily Beast, January 2013

UK Jewish life: putting antisemitism into context
“British Jewry should be defined by its success and vibrancy, rather than by antisemitism. Nevertheless, antisemitic race hate attacks and threats, and antisemitic discourse, are issues of considerable importance for British Jews.”

From Antisemitic Discourse in Britain in 2011, pdf, by Community Security Trust

Print Friendly

Comments are closed.