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Survey: 29% of European Jews considered emigrating due to anti-Semitism

JTA

November 8, 2013 | 9:48 am

Nearly one-third of respondents to a survey said they “seriously considered emigrating” from Europe because of anti-Semitism.

In the survey of 5,847 Jews from nine European Union member states, 29 percent said they considered emigrating in recent years because they did “not feel safe” living in their countries as Jews, according to Morten Kjaerum, the director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, which conducted the survey.

The survey polled Jews from Sweden, France, Belgium, Britain, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Romania and Latvia. The figure for Jews contemplating emigration was particularly high in Hungary, France and Belgium with 48, 46 and 40 percent respectively saying they had considered leaving.

Asked about their definition of an anti-Semite, 34 percent of all respondents indicated that it applied to “a non-Jewish person if he or she criticizes Israel.” In Sweden, only 21 percent of 703 respondents said non-Jewish critics of Israel were anti-Semitic, compared to 42 percent of 1,137 French respondents. Nearly 90 percent of respondents said that people who did not consider Jewish citizens of their country as compatriots were anti-Semitic.

On average, 76 percent said anti-Semitism has increased over the past five years. One in five respondents said they had personally experienced at least one incident of anti-Semitic verbal or physical assault in the previous year. Overall, four percent of respondents said they had experienced physical attack or threats of violence in the year before the survey because they were Jewish.

Twenty percent of respondents said they avoided wearing, carrying or displaying items that might help identify them as Jews in public. That figure was 34 percent in Sweden; 29 percent in France; 20 percent in Hungary and eight percent in Britain.

European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor said the survey was “of great importance,” adding that the fact that “Jews are not able to express their Jewishness because of fear should be a watershed moment for Europe.” Kantor called on E.U. governments to study the survey’s results.

Sixty-four percent of respondents who said they had experienced physical attacks also said that they did not report these incidents because they considered doing so ineffective.

The results of the survey were presented Friday at a press conference in Vienna.

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