Spiegel Online reports an EU survey on fears of rising anti-Semitism in Germany and elsewhere in Europe.
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.”
Maybe this is just the human normal – group hatreds splashing around all over the place and everyone except those lucky enough to be privileged in all categories just having to put up with it…or be killed by it, as the case may be.
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.
Of course perceptions and fears can be different from reality; they can be, in short, mistaken. But still the numbers are disquietingly high.
- 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.
So fears are at about 50% and experiences are around 25%…In a way, with the experiences being at 25% (assuming the claims are accurate) you’d expect the fears to be even higher.
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.
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.”
Oh dear. I wish the two could be disaggregated. I wish no one saw wanting to prevent infant and child genital mutilation as any kind of group antagonism.