Anti-Semitism on rise in Europe, online poll of eight nations finds

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 November, 2013, 7:19am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 November, 2013, 7:19am

Anti-Semitism has worsened in Europe in the past few years with abuse increasingly widespread on the internet, an online survey by the European Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) has found.

The study, released on Friday, found that 66 per cent of European Jews considered anti-Semitism "a fairly big or very big" problem in their country.

Some 76 per cent 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 spread faster than before.

"I feel that since going on Facebook, I have experienced more anti-Semitic comments in a few years than I ever have done throughout my whole life," one British respondent was quoted as saying. "This is very dispiriting."

FRA's report was based on a poll conducted in eight EU countries - Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia and Sweden - which are home to 90 per cent of the bloc's Jewish population. Of these, France, Belgium and Hungary reported the highest rates of anti-Semitism in the media and political life, as well vandalism and open hostility in the street.

Hungary, especially, has come under fire in the past year over repeated anti-Semitic incidents, which critics say Prime Minister Viktor Orban has done little to fight.

According to FRA's study, 21 per cent of people said they had experienced verbal or physical abuse in the last year for being Jewish.