Survey paints troubling picture of anti-Semitism in Europe

Arutz Sheva speaks to Rabbi Shlomo Koves about his organization's new survey that maps anti-Semitic trends in Europe.

Yoni Kempinski ,

Rabbi Shlomo Koves
Rabbi Shlomo Koves
Arutz Sheva

Rabbi Shlomo Koves, Chairman of the Action and Protection League (APL), presented a very troubling picture regarding anti-Semitism in the European Union in a special interview with Arutz Sheva.

On Tuesday, the APL unveiled a new survey and an integrated database on the disturbing levels of prevalent anti-Semitism across 16 European countries at the European Jewish Association’s Community Leaders Conference.

“We have presented a very unique survey that was never done before in Europe,” Rabbi Koves said.

The APL polled over 1,600 residents in 16 EU countries, asking 70 questions. In total, over one million questions were asked.

They asked about traditional anti-Semitic ideologies along with anti-Israel sentiment – the “new anti-Semitism.”

“We got a very large picture about anti-Semitism in general in Europe, as well as country by country,” he said.

They “tried to touch upon all these types of anti-Semitism. What we saw are that the trends in Eastern Europeans countries and Greece and Austria are more in the traditional so called 19th, 20th century anti-Semitism, including the conspiracy theory that Jewish people have some type of international secret alliance against the world, some agenda against the world” while “in the Western European countries we more see that anti-Israel sentiment has become a way of manifesting [anti-Semitism] for many people.”

Rabbi Koves also emphasized that “you cannot just take this study and understand the full picture of anti-Semitic prejudices in society. You also have to take into consideration the number of anti-Semitic assaults on Jewish people in these countries.”

He said that the issue of anti-Semitic assaults needs to be monitored across the EU. Furthermore, given the study’s findings, more work needs to be done to investigate how Jews in Europe perceive their situation and what they “believe is their fate in the future.”

What does he think can be done to improve the situation for Europe’s Jews?

Rabbie Koves said that a “full picture” needs to be gathered through more data, as half of EU nations do not monitor anti-Semitic assaults, and so we don’t know how many occur.

“Once we get a full picture we can try to make some type of comprehensive indicator that will explain each country and what the level of anti-Semitism is,” he said.

This step is important because “in any fight you first have to learn the battlefield… to initiate ideas how to fight against anti-Semitism.”

He also said that the fight against anti-Semitism has two aspects.

There is the legislative aspect – how to take legal action.

And there is the education component – how to look through and examine a country’s education curriculum for how it teaches about Jews, Israel and the Holocaust, and then how to make suggestions for improvement.