Photo Credit: Alisdare Hickson via Flickr

A survey (Young Jewish Europeans: perceptions and experiences of antisemitism) conducted by the European Commission and the European Union agency for fundamental rights, with more than 2,700 Jewish respondents ages 16 to 34 from 12 EU member states, reveals that 44% of young Europeans Jews face anti-Semitic harassment and almost half of them prefer not to wear items of clothing identified with Judaism because they fear for their safety.

The survey notes that more than a million Jews live in EU countries today, most notably in France, the United Kingdom, Germany and Hungary.

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“The young adults among them constitute a vibrant, well-educated group, with strong roots in Europe and strong attachments to the countries in which they live. With close to 80% of them born in the European countries where they currently reside, and almost 90% holding citizenships of those countries, Europe’s young Jews are very much part of Europe, much like their forebears,” the survey notes.

“Yet in spite of their deep roots in Europe and their general ability to participate in Jewish life, they see a great deal of anti-Semitism around them. Four in five believe anti-Semitism to be a problem in their countries, and the same proportion believes the problem to have deteriorated in recent years. They feel similarly about racism in general, and indeed, intolerance towards Muslims. 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.

“Moreover, young Jewish Europeans are considerably more likely than either of the other two older cohorts to experience anti-Semitism. Remarkably, close to half of this sample of young Jewish Europeans said they had experienced at least one anti-Semitic incident in the previous twelve months. While most of these incidents involved harassment rather than violence, the figures paint a portrait of a community living in a context imbued with regular doses of anti-Semitic hostility.

“On occasion, this hostility spills over into violence: 4% of the young Jewish Europeans surveyed said they had experienced a physical anti-Semitic attack in the previous year, and about half of these were not reported to the police or any other authority.

“Many of these incidents were perpetrated by a ‘teenager or group of teenagers,’ or a ‘colleague from work or school/college’. This raises a question about the extent to which this is happening within the university sector – 56 % of the young Jewish Europeans in this sample were at school or university in the year prior to the survey. In many cases, anti-Semitism has a distinctly ideological flavor: young Jews report that one-third of all cases of anti-Semitic harassment, and over half of the cases of anti-Semitic violence they have experienced in the past year, were perpetrated by ‘someone with a Muslim extremist view.’

“About one in five point to ‘someone with a left-wing political view’, and about one in seven to ‘someone with a ‘right-wing political view.’ Elevated levels of anti-Semitic sentiment among these three groups have been found in existing research.”

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