European Anti-Semitism Makes German, U.K. Jews Consider Emigration
(Bloomberg) -- Insecurity fueled by anti-Semitism prompted a growing number of British, German and Swedish Jews to consider leaving their countries, according to a landmark survey conducted by the European Union.
Nine out of every 10 Jews sense anti-Semitism is getting worse with some of the most acute concern registered in northern Europe, according to the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency. The survey is the largest of its kind worldwide and polled more than 16,000 Jews in 12 countries.
“Mounting levels of anti-Semitism continue to plague the EU,” said Michael O’Flaherty, the Irish human rights lawyer who runs the Vienna-based agency. “Across 12 EU member states where Jews have been living for centuries, more than 1/3 say that they consider emigrating because they no longer feel safe as Jews.”
Concerns over safety are prompting Jewish communities in some of the EU’s biggest economies to question whether they should remain, according to the data. In Germany, their share soared to 44 percent from 25 percent six years ago.
The 86-page report published on Monday highlights how social media and the Internet are fueling anti-Semitism. About 88 percent of respondents said that hate speech is rising online with the biggest increases measured in Germany, Sweden and the U.K.
While most Jews living in Europe consider criticism of Israeli policies to be fair game, a vast majority said that supporting boycotting Israel or Israelis is anti-Semitic. People who think Jews can’t adopt the nationality of the country they live in were considered anti-Semitic by 94 percent of respondents.
Respondents to the poll also identified other problem areas afflicting European societies. While anti-Semitism was the most widely-cited problem across Europe, Jews surveyed in Austria, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Sweden and the U.K. considered racism to be even more pervasive. Jews in Hungary and Spain named government corruption the biggest problem while respondents in Italy said it was unemployment.
“In many cases, the Jews of Europe have to decide between a commitment to being part of the Jewish community and a commitment to being part of Europe,” said Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress. “This is intolerable and a choice no people should have to face.”
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