Anti-Semitism ‘pervades European life’

Edouard Philippe

Edouard Philippe

Anti-Semitism is getting worse and Jews are increasingly worried about the risk of harassment, according to a major survey of 12 European Union (EU) countries.

Hundreds of Jews questioned by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency said they had experienced a physical, anti-Semitic attack in the past year, while 28 per cent said they had been harassed.

France is identified as having the biggest problem with anti-Semitism.

Germany, the UK, Belgium, Sweden and the Netherlands also saw incidents.

On the day the report was released, the Italian police said they were investigating the theft of 20 memorial plaques commemorating the Holocaust.

The small brass plaques – dedicated to members of a Jewish family, De Consiglio – were dug out from Rome’s pavements during the night.

The Vienna-based FRA paints a picture of synagogues and Jewish schools requiring security protection; of “vicious commentary” on the internet, in media and in politics; and of discrimination at school and work.

The report comes weeks after a gunman murdered 11 people at a synagogue in the US city of Pittsburgh.

Six years after its initial report, the FRA has surveyed Jews in the 12 EU states where most Jews live.

The report says anti-Semitic abuse has become so common that most victims do not bother reporting the incidents.

A startling 95 per cent of French Jews see anti-Semitism as either a fairly or very big problem.

France has been subject to a string of jihadist attacks, including the killing of hostages at a Jewish supermarket in Paris.

This year alone 85-year-old Mireille Knoll, who escaped the Holocaust, was murdered in her Paris flat and an eight-year-old boy wearing a kippah (skullcap) was attacked in the street by teenagers.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has spoken of a 69 per cent increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the country, which has Europe’s biggest Jewish population of around half a million.

He said a national network of investigators would be created to fight hate crime, and a school taskforce would be sent to help teachers tackle anti-Semitism in the classroom.

Over 80 per cent of those surveyed saw anti-Semitism as a serious problem in Germany, Belgium, Poland and Sweden.

Last month, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germans had become almost accustomed to Jewish institutions requiring police guards or special protection.

Sweden, meanwhile, has seen one of the sharpest increases in perceptions of anti-Semitism in the past six years, along with the UK and Germany. -BBC

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