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Anti-Semitism on rise in Europe

Survey by EU's Fundamental Rights Agency shows an anti-Semitism increase across Europe over the past five years.

Last updated: 08 Nov 2013 16:48
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The tragic murders at a Jewish day school in Toulouse, France, are the most significant anti-Semitic attack in Europe in recent years [AFP]

A report by the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) has shown that anti-Semitism has got worse across Europe over the past five years, facilitated by social media and file-sharing websites.

A total of 76 percent said it had worsened in the past five years, with abuse especially prevalent on the Internet, where social media and file-sharing websites allowed anti-Semitism to travel around even faster than before.

The report, which was released on Friday, was timed to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogroms in Nazi Germany.

Based on a poll of European Jews, the study has found that more than three-quarters of those questioned believe anti-Semitism is on the rise in their home countries and close to one-third have considered emigrating because they do not feel safe.

Hungary, France and Belgium reported the highest rates of anti-Semitism in the media and in political life, as well as vandalism and open hostility in the street, the study showed.

Among the findings: 34 percent of poll respondents in Sweden and 29 percent in France said they never wear a Star of David or anything else that could signal their religion.

The Agency said 5,847 self-identified Jews were surveyed in eight Western European countries. It said its findings aim to provide guidance on measures to take against anti-Semitism.

One third of the respondents experienced some form of anti-Semitic harassment in the five years before the survey, while 26 percent encountered such harassment in the 12 months before the survey.

Of the five forms of harassment listed in the survey, offensive comments in person were the most widespread. Almost one in five respondents experienced such comments at least once in the 12 months preceding the survey.

As FRA collected data for this survey, antisemitic incidents took place in all of the EU Member States surveyed. The Jewish community in Hungary was targeted in a number of violent incidents.

In Malmö, Sweden, a series of attacks culminated in the bom bing of a Jewish community centre. In March 2012 the tragic murders at a Jewish day school in Toulouse, France, shocked public opinion.

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