Main form of antisemitism in EU – the internet

This posting does not include any images or quotations from antisemitic internet postings; they are easily found, repulsive – and could be put up by many, or by very few prolific people. It does have these items:

1) EU Observer: Le Pen meets Ukip man, UKIP man says- in Britain “hardly anyone knows what anti-Semitic means”;
2) Jews4BIG: Whoever the Brussels Museum killer was, Israel can’t blame friends of Palestine, they tried, but they were wrong;
3) FRA: Discrimination and hate crime against Jews in EU Member States:, the Fundamental Rights Agency report; its media release and Conclusions;
4) New Statesman: Why is Europe failing to protect its Roma population from hate crimes?, April 2014;
5) Notes and links on European Parliament election results, and a variety of reports on hate crime in Europe;

The Roma people appear to be the most hated, and ignored, minority in Europe. Here, Bulgarian Roma women react as an excavator demolishes their house in a Roma suburb in the town of Maglizh. Photo by Reuters/Stoyan Nenov

Le Pen meets Ukip man

By Valentina Pop, EUobserver
June 06, 2014

BRUSSELS – French far-right leader Marine Le Pen on Thursday evening (5 June) met outgoing independent MEP Godfrey Bloom, who still retains Ukip membership in Britain.

Officially, Ukip is not interested in an alliance with Le Pen, but Bloom is a long-time supporter of the French politician and has ignored Ukip leader Nigel Farage’s request not to contact her.

Bloom lost the Ukip whip and left the European Freedom and Democracy (EFD) group earlier this year after having jokingly called a female audience “sluts” and after having slapped a BBC journalist on the street.

He has retained party membership back home, but has not been re-elected to the new parliament.

According to sources close to the meeting, Bloom had a friendly conversation with Le Pen, who was interested in how her party might be perceived in Britain.

He told her that her worries the National Front may be seen as anti-Semitic are unfounded because in Britain “hardly anyone knows what anti-Semitic means”.

Glenduffhill Jewish Cemetery in Glasgow was desecrated with pro-Hamas/ antisemitic graffiti during Israel’s 2009 Operation Cast Lead. Scottish Council of Jewish Communities submission, December 2010

EFD spokesman Herman Kelly told this website the meeting does not mean the two parties will formally team up in the EP. “Nigel told him to desist from any interaction with her. What he’s doing is on his own,” Kelly said.

Le Pen is confident she can get enough MEPs (minimum 25) from enough countries (minimum seven) to form a group even without Ukip.

So is Farage, who last week had a lunch with Italian comedian-turned-politician Beppe Grillo in the Ravenstein, an Indian restaurant in the centre of Brussels.

Farage later posted on his Facebook page that he had “great fun” with the Italian leader of the Five Star Movement, who has a “huge personality”.

The lunch didn’t lead to a political alliance and has hampered efforts by Grillo to get his 17 deputies into the Green group.

Other talks are being held by the Greens with independent MEPs from Sweden, Germany, and the Netherlands in an effort to get them to join their group.

More one-on-one meetings among MEPs are expected next week, as groups need to be formed by 24 June when the numbers in each faction are formally counted. After this committee chairmanship and membership will be decided – something that will be keenly watched by Brussels’ thousands of lobbyists.

An overview of parties switching groups and new MEPs joining new or old groups can be found here.

Whoever the Brussels Museum killer was, Israel can’t blame friends of Palestine

By jews4big
June 03, 2014

The fatal attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels on May 24 has given rise to speculation about the identity of two of the dead as well as of the possible perpetrator, most recently identified as a French citizen who had fought with Islamic militants in Syria. Was it a random attack by an anti-semite targeting a Jewish institution? A carefully planned retaliation by an expert hitman against former Mossad agents? Or something else altogether?

Theories abound, some of them entwining the Belgian incident with the rise of the Right in the recent Europe-wide elections and the Papal visit to Israel and Palestine.

One thing is clear: Binyamin Netanyahu’s attempt to blame criticism of Israel for the Brussels deaths was a despicably cynical move that demanded a response. Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods combined forces with the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network to put out a statement dissociating us from Netanyahu’s assertion that the fate of every Jew is shackled to that of the Israeli state.

Perhaps we should welcome the fact that most media outlets seem to have ignored the Israeli PM’s rant. However, it is regrettable that both of the two national daily papers which published it – the Daily Telegraph and the Financial Times – turned down the opportunity to give their readers access to an alternative Jewish perspective.

For the record, we publish the letter here.

An outrage against humanity, not Israel

We deplore the murder of visitors to the Jewish Museum in Brussels and feel the grief of their families and friends.

We find it shocking that Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has rushed to exploit the killings in order to demonise Israel’s critics.

By blaming what he calls “Slander and lies against the State of Israel” for an assault on a Jewish institution in Belgium, he asserts that Israel represents all Jews and acts on their behalf. We reject this absolutely. Israel’s racist crimes against the Palestinian people provide ample grounds for criticising it without recourse to “slander and lies”.

With hate speech and discrimination on the rise, in Europe and elsewhere, our priority must be to combat the virus of racism regardless of whether its victims are Jews, Muslims, Romanians, Sudanese or indeed anyone.

When atrocities occur, it is our humanity that is outraged, not our national, ethnic or religious identity.


Jews for Boycotting Israeli Good
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

George Abendstern
Seymour Alexander, Craig Berman, Rica Bird
Haim Bresheeth, Elizabeth Carola, Linda Clair
Mark Elf, Thomas Eisner, Deborah Fink
Jan Hardy, Abe Hayeem, Rosamine Hayeem
Selma James, Riva Joffe, Michael Kalmanowitz
Leah Levane, Les Levidow, Rosalind Levy
Moshe Machover, Helen Marks, Simon Natas
Diana Neslen, Susan Pashkoff, Roland Rance
Valerie Remy, Frances Rifkin, Leon Rosselson
Amanda Sebestyen, Glyn Secker, Leni Solinger
Stanley Walinets, Sam Weinstein,
Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi

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

FRA survey and report, 2013

FRA media release and report conclusions
This FRA survey is the first-ever to collect comparable data on Jewish people’s experiences and perceptions of antisemitism, hate-motivated crime and discrimination across a number of EU Member States, specifically in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Its findings reveal a worrying level of discrimination, particularly in employment and education, a widespread fear of victimisation and heightening concern about antisemitism online.

Vandals painted pink swastikas and other Nazi symbols on the gravestones in the British cemetery at Loos-en-Gohelle in the Pas-de-Calais, 2010. This photo has been used to illustrate the resurgence of antisemitism in Europe. In fact, this cemetery is for British soldiers, many of whom are not identified and it has no special Jewish section. Photo by AP.

Antisemitism casts a long shadow on Jewish people’s chances to enjoy their legally guaranteed rights to human dignity, freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and non-discrimination. The daily insults, discrimination, harassment and even physical violence, with which Jewish people across the European Union (EU) must contend, show few signs of abating, despite EU and EU Member States’ best efforts. Nevertheless, little information exists on the extent and nature of antisemitic crimes to guide policy makers seeking to effectively fight these crimes. By shining light on crimes that all too often remain unreported and therefore invisible, this FRA report seeks to help put an end to them.

However, this attack, below, is definitely antisemitic – apparently perpetrated by neo-Nazis: Francis Levy, head of the North Alsacian Jewish community, inspects desecrated tombstones in the Jewish Cemetery of Cronenbourg near Strasbourg, France. January 2010. Photo by Reuters


The survey results show the extent and nature of hate crime, discrimination and antisemitism as perceived and experienced by Jewish people in eight EU Member States – Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The results present a detailed overview of the various forms that these incidents can take in the daily lives of Jewish people living in the EU, as well as analysing who is most affected by such incidents. Besides the detailed results for each of the eight countries, the survey exposes some patterns which reflect the situation more gener- ally, and which may also merit attention in EU Member States that were not covered by the survey.

In almost all EU Member States included in the survey, antisemitic comments on the internet emerge as an issue of primary importance to the respondents. These results need to be taken very seriously. They prompt further questions on how to effectively protect fundamental rights in the sphere of the internet while giving due attention to freedom of expression. Antisemitic comments on the internet could be one of the many diverse factors that contribute to Jewish people’s feelings of worry of becoming victims of hate crime.

Close to half of all survey respondents (46 %) indicated that they worry about being verbally insulted or harassed in a public place in the next 12 months, and one third (33 %) fear physical attack in the same period. While the experience of becoming a victim of crime can have a devastating effect on the individuals concerned and on persons close to them, the magnitude of worry – or fear of crime – among the respondents suggests that it merits further consideration, as well as the development of measures that specifically address Jewish people’s concerns.

While incidents of antisemitic violence and vandalism of property belongingto Jewish individuals, as well as the property of the Jewish communities, deservedly receive attention in the media and in political debates, the results also point out the discrimination Jewish people continue to face, particularly in employment and education. This should serve as a reminder of the need to address discrimination against Jews – both by ensuring effective implementation of existing laws, as well as ensuring that Jewish people are aware of the relevant protection, redress and support mechanisms and measures designed to assist people who have been discriminated against, such as national equality bodies.

The survey results indicate that victims of antisemitic incidents are likely to turn to Jewish community organisations, which are specialised in security issues in those EU Member States where such specialised organisations exist. These organisations have the potential to encourage reporting to the police, thereby assisting victims to find access to justice and to benefit from measures that are in place – or are being introduced – to support them, for example, with the implementation of the Victims’ Directive (2012/29/EU).

A question that remains is whether such Jewish community organisations could also perform some or all of the essential functions of victim support services, as stipulated in Article 9 of the Victims’ Directive. This would require further research on the ability of such organisations to provide, for example, advice in legal matters or in ques- tions relating to financial aspects of victim support, or to accompany victims at court proceedings. EU Member States’ obligation under Article 8 of the Victims’ Directive to ensure that victims, in accordance with their specific needs, should have access to specialist support services envisages organisations that are in a position to fulfil all the relevant functions of victim support. To meet the standards of due diligence, Member States could offer specialist organisations support in building any required but not yet attained capacities and skills.

Why is Europe failing to protect its Roma population from hate crimes?

In France, 20,000 Roma live in extreme poverty with little or no access to basic services and face a constant risk of forced evictions.

By Ashley Cowburn, New Statesman
April 09, 2014

Nine in ten Roma people in Europe are living in poverty, and one in five has experienced some form of racist violence, according to a new report from Amnesty International. The report, which criticises the European Union, claims the response to Roma communities living in constant threat of pogrom-like attacks has been “woeful”.

The Roma in Europe have historically faced extreme violence and marginalisation: successive persecutions during World War Two culminated in the Holocaust, or Porajmos – “the Devouring” – as it is called in Romany. They were the first to find themselves among the victims of Nazi policies and sent to their deaths in extermination camps.

A large proportion of the estimated 10 to 12 million Roma in Europe are still discriminated against: thousands live in segregated housing and their children attend inferior and under-resourced schools. It is in Greece, France and the Czech Republic that Amnesty’s report focuses on and where it suggests the most entrenched anti-Roma feeling is held. In France alone, 20,000 Roma live in extreme poverty with little or no access to basic services, such as water and sanitation and at a constant risk of forced evictions.

In January last year, six houses and four cars were firebombed and damaged by the attackers in Etoliko, a village in western Greece. Several Roma told Amnesty that they felt betrayed by the police. One said: “I could see just two policemen from inside the house… They were just staring and asking people to stop. They did nothing more than this.”

In 2012, Ilias Kasidiaris, a member of Greek parliament belonging to the far-right Golden Dawn party, made a speech in Aspropyrgos, home to many Roma, in which he referred to the Roma as ‘human garbage’ and called on residents to get rid of them from the area.

John Dalhuisen, Amnesty’s Europe and Central Asia programme director, said: “All too often European leaders have pandered the prejudices fuelling anti-Roma violence by branding Roma as anti-social and unwelcome. While generally condemning the most blatant examples of anti-Roma violence, authorities have been reluctant to acknowledge its extent and slow to combat it. For its part, the European Union has been reluctant to challenge member states on the systemic discrimination of Roma that is all too evident.”

In 2013, a five-year-old girl, Maria, made headlines around the world. Her blonde hair, green eyes and pale skin complexion supposedly gave Greek police enough evidence to arrest a Roma couple for her abduction. Subsequent DNA testing found Maria to be the biological daughter of a family living in Bulgaria. The crucial detail: the family was also Roma. The media lost interest.

The incident in Greece not only sparked an international search for her biological parents but also put the spotlight on the treatment of Greece’s Roma, making it uncomfortably clear how quickly Europe could still be whipped into racist hysteria. The unfortunate story of Little Maria tapped into myths of greedy gypsies stealing innocent children from their parents’ grasp.

Rather than acknowledging the failure to ensure the human rights of the Roma, some European leaders have chosen to blame Roma themselves for failing to integrate. Last year David Blunkett suggested that the arrival of Roma immigrants in the UK could cause an “explosion”. Speaking to BBC Radio Sheffield, he said of those who had recently arrived in the UK “. . . you’ve got to adhere to our standards, and to our way of behaving, and if you do then you’ll get a welcome and people will support you.”

Of course, Nigel Farage was there to back Blunkett for his courage to speak so plainly on the issue. Politicians should stop blaming Roma communities for not adapting to British society and instead focus on stamping out discrimination against the Roma rather than fuelling the public with a nineteenth century moral panic.

The Roma couple charged with abducting Maria will soon have their legal fate decided. But Maria, like other Roma children across the European continent, will still have to navigate herself through a lifetime of suffering, unemployment, discrimination and a life expectancy that is 10 years below the rest of Europe.

Editor’s note, 10 April: this piece has been updated to correct inaccuracies in the reporting of David Blunkett’s BBC Radio Sheffield interview

Notes and links

Who’s going where? Tracking the musical chairs in the European Parliament, Europe Decides, June 2014.

FRA surveys on hate crimes against Jewish, Muslim and LGBT groups in EU, November 2013.

Violence Against Muslims,  pdf file2008 report, international, from Human Rights First.

 Hate crime in the European Union, FRA factsheet, pdf file

Quotation from above report

The 2008 European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey (EU-MIDIS), which surveyed 23,500 respondents with an ethnic minority or immigrant background, found that more than one in four respondents from the following groups considered themselves to have been a victim of ‘racially motivated’ in-person crime (assault or threat, or serious harassment) over the 12 months preceding the survey: Roma in the Czech Republic; Somalis in Finland; Somalis in Denmark; Africans in Malta; Roma in Greece; Roma in Poland and Sub-Saharan Africans in Ireland (see Figure).

Test your antisemitism; no facts needed, ADL survey, May 2014
Need to ‘prove’ global antisemitism meets contempt

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