The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has commissioned a major study into anti-Semitism.
It is designed to produce new insights into how Jews in nine EU Member States perceive and experience anti-Semitism today.
Several Jewish bodies, including the European Jewish Parliament and the European Jewish Congress, warned recently about the rise of extremism, populism and anti-Semitism across Europe.
The only survey is being conducted by the UK-based Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) in partnership with Ipsos MORI, whose joint bid won the contract in an open tender process.
The fieldwork began last week.
“Anti-Semitism remains an issue of concern today, not only to Jews, but to everyone in the EU. The ways in which it manifests itself vary according to time and place, and it affects Jews living in the EU in different ways, “ says Ioannis Dimitrakopoulos, head of FRA’s department of equality and citizen's rights.
He adds, “The FRA is conducting this survey to collect reliable and comparable data on anti-Semitism. This type of robust evidence will assist EU institutions and national governments in taking the necessary measures that will ensure that the rights of Jewish people are fully respected, protected and fulfilled across the EU, and the survey has been specifically designed with this goal in mind.”
The survey will investigate first-hand examples of anti-Semitic harassment and violence, as well as the extent to which Jews feel safe and secure in Europe today, how they characterize anti-Semitism, and whether or not they perceive it to be a growing threat.
It will further explore how and whether incidents are being reported, and levels of awareness among European Jews about their legal rights.
The nine countries where the survey is conducted are Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Romania, Sweden and the UK.
Jon Boyd, executive director of JPR, says: "It is clear to all observers of contemporary Jewish life that anti-Semitism continues to be a major preoccupation and worry in Jewish communal circles.”
"If it is ever to be effectively tackled, it is essential to have shared, reliable data. This survey is designed to provide that data: this is an important and unique opportunity for thousands of European Jews to share their experiences and voice their concerns with policy makers working at the highest European and national levels."
The JPR team includes several of the world’s leading social scientists in contemporary European Jewry, including Professor Eliezer Ben-Rafael of Tel Aviv University, Professor Erik Cohen of Bar-Ilan University, Professor Sergio DellaPergola of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Professor Lars Dencik of Roskilde University in Denmark, Dr Olaf Glöckner of the Moses Mendelssohn Zentrum in Potsdam, Germany, Professor András Kovács of the Central European University in Budapest and Dr Laura Staetsky of JPR. Further expertise is being provided by Professor David Feldman of the Pears Institute for the Study of Anti-Semitism at Birkbeck College in London and Mike Whine and Mark Gardner at the UK-based Community Security Trust.
The data, which will be published in 2013, will provide important evidence both for European Union and national policy makers, as well as for national and European Jewish organisations concerned with security and anti-Semitism.
All these stakeholders will use the data to tackle discrimination and hate crime against Jews, as well as rights awareness and under-reporting of incidents.
Based in Vienna, Austria, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights is an advisory body of the European Union. It was established in 2007.
The body helps to ensure that fundamental rights of people living in the EU are protected. It does this by collecting evidence about the situation of fundamental rights across the European Union and providing advice, based on evidence, about how to improve the situation.
The FRA also informs people about their fundamental rights and helps to make this principle a reality for everyone in the European Union.