Discrimination and hate crime against Jews in EU Member States (excerpts), 2013

THE SURVEY IN A NUTSHELL

(..) The survey was carried out online during September and October 2012.
Who took part in the survey?
The survey was open to individuals aged 16 years and over who consider themselves Jewish (this could be based on religion, culture, upbringing, ethnicity, parentage or any other basis) and who, at the time of the survey, were living in one of the survey countries. The largest samples were obtained from the two countries which according to estimates have the largest Jewish populations in the EU – France (1,192 respondents) and the United Kingdom (1,468 respondents). The survey also collected 400–800 responses in each of five of the EU Member States surveyed – Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Sweden – and 154 in Latvia.

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1 MANIFESTATIONS OF ANTISEMITISM

1.1. Perceptions of the extent of antisemitism

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In the EU Member States surveyed, apart from Latvia and the United Kingdom, a majority of respondents think that antisemitism is ‘a very big’ or ‘a fairly big problem’.

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Over 90 % of respondents in five countries (France, Hungary, Italy, Latvia and the United Kingdom) saw the state of the economy as ‘a very big’ or ‘a fairly big problem’.

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A notable share of respondents in Latvia and the United Kingdom identified the state of health services as a problem (92 % and 69 % of respondents, respectively).

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1.2. Acts of antisemitism against the Jewish community

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In Latvia and in the United Kingdom – or those countries with the lowest proportion of the respondents indicating antisemitism in general as a problem – about 50 %–60 % of the respondents consider antisemitism on the internet to be a problem (Table 2).

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In the remaining countries surveyed, about one third of the respondents (Italy, 43 %; Germany, 33 %; the United Kingdom, 31 %; Sweden, 30 %) or less (Latvia, 23 %) consider the vandalism of Jewish buildings to be ‘a very big’ or ‘a fairly big problem’.

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The survey results show that among the seven manifestations of antisemitism outlined in Table 2, respondents in all survey countries except Latvia are most likely to identify antisemitism on the internet as being on the increase (respondents who said it has ‘increased a lot’ or ‘increased a little’) (Figure 4).

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Regarding the four arenas where antisemitic comments may occur and comparing the eight survey countries, respondents from Belgium, France and Hungary indicate in particular antisemitic reporting in the media (64 %, 70 %, and 71 %, respectively, to be ‘a very big problem’ or ‘a fairly big problem’) and antisemitic comments in discussions people have (69 %, 72 %, and 76 %, respectively).
Respondents in France and Hungary (87 % each) highlight political speeches and discussions. Respondents in Latvia were less likely than those in the other countries surveyed to highlight any of the four arenas as very or fairly problematic with regard to spreading
antisemitic content.

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1.3. Prevalence and context of negative statements about Jews

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In Latvia, one third of the respondents face statements related to the exploitation of Holocaust victimhood all the time or frequently.

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2. Safety and security

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2.3. Responses to safety concerns: actions taken or considered

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Across the EU Member States surveyed, with the exception of Latvia, a majority of those respondents who at least sometimes carry or display such items said that they have avoided doing so at least occasionally (in the case of Latvia, 25 % said they avoid wearing or displaying the items at least occasionally) (Figure 15).

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2.4. The influence of events in the Middle East on antisemitic incidents

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About 90 % of the respondents in Belgium and France reported that the Israeli-Arab conflict has a notable impact on their feelings of safety as Jews (‘a great deal’ or ‘a fair amount’), compared with around 40 % of respondents in Hungary and Latvia. In almost all the other countries surveyed, a majority of respondents (about 50 %–70 %) reported that the Israeli-Arab conflict affects their feelings of safety either ‘a great deal’ or ‘a fair amount’ (Figure 17).

The survey also asked respondents if they felt that they were held accountable for Israeli government actions. The majority of respondents in Belgium, Italy and France (around 60 %) said that people in the country blame or accuse them for anything done by the Israeli government, ‘frequently’ or ‘all the time’. In the United Kingdom, Germany and Sweden the corresponding proportion ranged from 40 % to 50 %. The corresponding percentages in Hungary and Latvia were lower; nevertheless, even in these two countries more than two respondents in five said that they have at least occasionally felt accused or blamed in this way (Figure 18).

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3. Violence against Jews: experiences of harassment, vandalism and physical violence

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3.2. Harassment

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About one third of respondents in Hungary (35 %), Belgium (31 %) and Germany (29 %) experienced at least one type of antisemitic harassment in the 12 months before the survey, while 21 % of respondents in both the United Kingdom and Sweden, and 12 % in Latvia, had similar experiences over the same time period (Figure 20).

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4. Experiences of discrimination

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4.1. Overall discrimination experiences

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When comparing the results of the general population survey Eurobarometer with the eight EU Member States covered by this FRA survey, the national prevalence in Eurobarometer for discrimination experienced on any ground is highest in Italy and Hungary with both at 23 %. The Eurobarometer results for the other six EU Member States that are covered by this FRA survey are as follows: Belgium (19 %), Sweden and Latvia (both at 18 %), France and the United Kingdom (both at 17 %) and Germany (14 %).

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5. Rights awareness

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5.1. Awareness of protection measures against discrimination

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Awareness of legislation prohibiting the discrimination of Jewish people when applying for a job is highest among respondents from the United Kingdom (73 %), Sweden (64 %), France (58 %) and Belgium (53 %) (Figure 29). By contrast, only 12 % of respondents in Latvia said that they are aware of laws protecting Jewish people from discrimination when applying for a job.

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5.2. Holocaust denial and trivialisation

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In seven of the eight EU Member States included in the survey, most respondents are aware of the existence of laws against incitement to violence or hatred against Jews (Figure 30). In countries other than Latvia, two thirds or more of respondents – from 65 % in Hungary to 84 % in France – said that such a law exists.

Survey results show considerable country-specific variation in awareness of laws against denying or trivialising the Holocaust. Respondents in Latvia are the most convinced that such a law does not exist in the country; 42 % answered ‘don’t know’, which could also mean that they are unsure of whether or not such a law exists. In Sweden 27 % of respondents, in the United Kingdom 32 % and in Italy 41 % considered that their countries legislate against denying or trivialising the Holocaust. In some cases, however, they may be wrong, as the state of implementation of the Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia differs by EU Member State. Respondents in the other four countries surveyed are more convinced that there is a law against denying or trivialising the Holocaust, with 67 %–85 % saying that the country has a law prohibiting such actions (Figure 31).

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Germany and Sweden show the highest proportions of respondents who said that they have heard non-Jewish persons suggesting that circumcision or traditional slaughter should not take place in the country, with over 80 % of respondents saying they are aware of such discussions. In Sweden and Germany, 60 % and 49 % of respondents, respectively, have heard about suggested bans on both brit mila and shechita and an additional 21 % and 29 %, respectively, about a ban on circumcision only. The lowest proportions are observed in Latvia and Hungary, where 22 % and 21 % of respondents, respectively, said that they are aware of debates on banning brit mila or shechita or both. In the remaining countries –Belgium, France and Italy – 50 %–60 % of the respondents have heard of such proposals (Table 9).

Over three quarters of respondents in France (88 %), Belgium (87 %), Italy (85 %) and the United Kingdom (80 %) and over two thirds in Germany (71 %) and Sweden (68 %) indicated that a prohibition against circumcision would be a very big or fairly big problem for them. About two thirds of respondents in France (70 %), Italy (70 %) and the United Kingdom (66 %) and half of the respondents in Belgium (59 %) and Germany (50 %) held the same position regarding prohibitions on traditional slaughter. In Sweden, 38 % of respondents said that a ban on traditional slaughter would be a problem for them as Jews, with 27 % in Latvia sharing this view (Figure 32).

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Annex 1: Survey methodology

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Sample sizes
The largest samples, as expected, were obtained from the two countries with the largest estimated Jewish communities: France and the United Kingdom. Latvia and Romania, which have the smallest estimated Jewish populations out of the EU Member States included in the survey, provided the smallest samples. For the remaining five countries the sample sizes ranged from 400 to 800 respondents.

In Romania, 67 respondents completed the questionnaire. Because the sample was small, the results concerning Romania were not presented alongside the other eight countries in this report. Instead, a summary overview of results for Romania is available in Annex 2. Also, a relatively small sample in Latvia (n=154) limits the extent to which conclusions can be drawn based on the country results. Caution is also advised when comparing it with results obtained in other countries surveyed. The numbers of respondents in each country correspond roughly to differences in the sizes of the Jewish population among the EU Member States surveyed, according to the estimates of the members of the JPR academic team.

Main socio-demographic characteristics

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The survey asked the respondents about their country or countries of citizenship (including multiple citizenship). The majority of respondents are citizens of the countries where they currently live, survey results showed. The biggest proportions of citizens are observed among respondents from Hungary (98 %), France (96 %), Sweden (93 %), Italy (93 %), the United Kingdom (92 %), Latvia and Belgium (83 % each). In Germany, 70 % of the respondents are German citizens. Around one in ten respondents from Germany (11 %), Belgium (10 %), France (9 %), and the United Kingdom (9 %) have Israeli citizenship. Smaller shares of respondents with Israeli citizenship are observed in Sweden (7 %), Italy and Hungary (6 % each), and Latvia (4 %).


Document data: published 08.11.2013. Link: https://fra.europa.eu/en/publication/2013/discrimination-and-hate-crime-against-jews-eu-member-states-experiences-and (partly also available in Latvian)

Publisher’s note: some information is presented in graphs and not reproduced here – please consult the full version.

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