Report: Young Jews Face Harassment in Europe; Still Express Their Jewish Identity

Many young Jewish Europeans face anti-Semitic harassment in Europe, but are also very resilient as they clearly express their Jewish identity, according to a report published Thursday by the European Commission and FRA (European Agency for Fundamental Rights). The report shows that rising hate speech and intolerance toward them shows the urgent need for continued concerted efforts to adequately address society’s longstanding and persistent hostility toward Jews.

Young Jewish Europeans, although worryingly more exposed to anti-Semitism than their elders, declare largely having a strong Jewish identity, as the ‘Young Jews in Contemporary Europe’ report shows.

It uses data stemming from the more than 2,700 young Jewish Europeans polled for the 2018 FRA survey “Experiences and perceptions of anti-Semitism.”

The report’s results also show that young Jewish Europeans are mindful of general changes in society regarding the rise of hate speech and intolerance, and feel generally unsafe in Europe.

EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Věra Jourová says, “Young Jewish Europeans are very attached to their Jewish identity. I am saddened that they fear for their security in Europe, do not dare to wear a kippah and some even consider emigrating. We need to act fast to combat anti-Semitism in Europe and join our efforts to keep our youth safe. We want young Jewish people to grow up in Europe feeling they fully belong here. Anti-Semitism is a threat to our European values. This is why we made fighting it a priority and work closely with Member States to ensure they are fully part of our Union.”

“Anti-Semitism in Europe remains a stubborn stain that refuses to go away,” says FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty. “We owe it to all Jews, and particularly future generations, to erase this blot once and for all through coordinated action at the EU and national level working hand-in-hand with Jewish communities.”

Based on FRA’s survey data, the report shows that:

  • 81% of the young Jewish Europeans declared the strength of their Jewish identity to be high;
  • Four in five of the young Jewish Europeans say that anti-Semitism is a problem in their countries and believe it to have increased over the past five years;
  • 81% of young Jewish Europeans believe racism is a problem in their countries and 74% perceive an increase specifically of anti-Muslim hatred;
  • Remembering the Holocaust remains the most important factor to determine the Jewish identity of young Jewish Europeans (95%);
  • While the importance of “supporting Israel” in the identities of young Jewish Europeans is less significant than for their elders, 85% of young Jewish Europeans report that people in their countries accuse or blame them for anything done by the Israeli government at least “occasionally”;
  • 44% of young Jewish Europeans experienced anti-Semitic harassment, which is 12% higher than their elders. 80% of young victims do not report harassment to the police or any other authority;
  • 45% of young Jewish Europeans choose not to wear, carry or display distinguishable Jewish items in public because there are concerned about their safety.
  • 41% have considered emigrating because they did not feel safe living there as a Jewish person;
  • 48% feel that their government is adequately protecting them and only 17% consider that they are combating anti-Semitism effectively.

The results relate to the 2700+ Jews aged 16-34 that took part in FRA’s survey of Jews in 12 member states where over 96% of the EU’s estimated Jewish population live.