Poll: 96% of Jews in 13 EU countries say they experience antisemitism in daily life

Jews ‘more frightened than ever’ since Oct. 7, warns Fundamental Rights Agency, after its third antisemitism survey finds most respondents feel less safe, especially in France

A German police officer stands guard in front of a synagogue in Frankfurt, Germany, on November 8, 2023. (Michael Probst/AP)
A German police officer stands guard in front of a synagogue in Frankfurt, Germany, on November 8, 2023. (Michael Probst/AP)

A survey of nearly 8,000 self-identified Jews from 13 European countries has found that 96 percent of respondents said they had encountered antisemitism in their daily lives even before the ongoing war in Gaza, the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency said on Thursday.

Europe’s Jewish community is facing a “rising tide of antisemitism,” with the conflict in the Middle East “eroding” progress made in the fight against it, said agency director Sirpa Rautio. She added that the surge in antisemitism was jeopardizing the success of the EU’s first-ever strategy for combating the problem, adopted in 2021.

Some 37% of respondents said they were harassed over the past year. A total of 4% of respondents said they had experienced antisemitic physical attacks in the 12 months before the survey — double the number recorded in 2018, the last time the survey was taken.

Most respondents said they worry for their own (53%) and their family’s (60%) safety and security.

Eighty percent of Jews surveyed said they feel antisemitism has worsened in recent years, with the most common “negative stereotypes” accusing Jews of “holding power and control over finance, media, politics or economy.”

Some 76% of respondents reported hiding their Jewish identity “at least occasionally,” and 34% said they avoid Jewish events or sites “because they do not feel safe,” according to the report.

About 60% of those asked said they were not satisfied with their national government’s efforts to combat antisemitism.

Members of the Jewish Community of Milan attend a ceremony of solidarity with relatives of Israeli hostages kidnapped in Hamas’s October 7 terror onslaught, at the Central Synagogue in Milan, Italy, April 7, 2024. (Gabriel Bouys / AFP)

Many also reported encountering denial of Israel’s right to exist as a state.

Three-quarters felt that people hold them responsible for the Israeli government’s actions because they are Jewish.

Just over half of respondents indicated that they think that criticizing Israel is “probably antisemitic.” A pattern of “always noting who is Jewish among [one’s] acquaintances” was deemed “probably antisemitic” by 64% of respondents.

Considering Jewish citizens not to be compatriots was considered “definitely antisemitic” by 91% of respondents, according to the survey, which took place before Hamas’s October 7 attack, but also includes information on antisemitism collected from Jewish organizations in 2024.

The attack saw thousands of Hamas-led terrorists storm southern Israel to kill nearly 1,200 people and take 251 hostages.

The onslaught prompted Israel to launch an offensive aimed at crushing Hamas. Over 38,000 people have been killed in Gaza, according to the Strip’s Hamas-run health ministry, which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants. Israel says it has killed some 15,000 combatants in battle, in addition to 1,000 terrorists killed inside Israel during the October 7 attack.

Protesters attend an anti-Israel rally ahead of the second semi-final at the Eurovision Song Contest in Malmo, Sweden, May 9, 2024. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

“The spillover effect of the conflict in the Middle East is eroding hard-fought-for progress” in tackling anti-Jewish hate, Fundamental Right Agency director Rautio said, warning that “Jews are more frightened than ever before.”

To assess the impact the conflict in the Middle East has had on antisemitism in Europe, the FRA report relied on information collected from 12 Jewish organizations in 2024.

“FRA’s consultation with national and European Jewish umbrella organizations in early 2024 shows a dramatic surge” in antisemitic attacks, Rautio said.

In France, 74% of Jews felt that the conflict had affected their sense of security, the highest rate among the countries surveyed.

The ‘Wall of the Righteous’ (Mur des Justes) outside the Shoah memorial in Paris, France, is vandalized with red-hands graffiti, May 14, 2024. (Antonin Utz / AFP)

Besides the 2024 data, the bulk of the report by the Vienna-based agency was based on an online survey conducted from January to June 2023 — before the war in Gaza broke out.

The survey covered 13 EU countries, which are home to 96% of the bloc’s Jewish population: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain and Sweden.

It was the third of its kind, following those of 2013 and 2018.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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