2021 Annual Assessment

Key Points

  • Starting in 2000 following a post-Shoah grace period, antisemitism has resumed in Europe and has led Jews to gradually distance themselves from political arenas and public debates. Seventy-one percent of them avoid public display of items that could identify them as Jewish, 35% avoid attending Jewish events, 38% consider emigrating because they don’t feel safe as Jews, and 70% refrain from discussing Judaism or Israel with their work colleagues.1
  • Over the last five years, Canada and the United States have begun to see similar negative trends (in type if not magnitude or effect). There is a need to monitor these trends and mobilize resources to mitigate the possible threats they represent.
  • More broadly, these trends reflect declining support for liberal pluralism. They are critical harbingers of growing illiberal forces (far-right, neo-Nazi, Islamist, far-left) attempting to exploit anti-Jewish prejudices to attack the liberal order. If Jews are not defended, the broader political order will become increasingly threatened.

Recommendations

  • Monitor – To mitigate a possible “Europeanization” of Jewish life in America, we delineate a series of negative trends – observed in recent decades in Europe – that we recommend American Jewish institutions monitor. It may be noted that the monitoring indicators shift the focus from merely counting reported incidents to measuring social and political attitudes that either engender such incidents or are bound to them in a cycle of amplification and mutual intensification.
  • Focus – The most important trend to watch is how the more extremist forces on both the right and left (far-right, neo-Nazi, Islamist, far-left) are influencing mainstream actors and advocating measures inimical to Jewish thriving.
  • Coordinate – This year, once again, JPPI reiterates its recommendation for coordination between the Israeli government, prominent Jewish organizations, and Diaspora communities as part of the fight against antisemitism.
  • Israel – We also re-emphasize the recommendation that Israel establish an integrative body to monitor and respond proactively to developments in the Diaspora
  • Diaspora – The most effective tool to avoid social marginalization is building strong and effective coalitions with other threatened minorities as well as with those concerned about the future of liberalism. JPPI’s central recommendation is to redouble efforts in this direction. However, as explained below, in Europe (and perhaps the US as well) such efforts are far from simple to execute. At the same time, we recommend tightening the connection of Jewish institutions with the media and with companies that monitor social networks, as well as with government officials in key positions (including senior officials responsible for fighting antisemitism and promoting religious freedom).

JPPI’s integrated index for this year consists of three parts. We first list developments of note. As publications and conferences about antisemitism become more numerous, it is important to provide decision makers with a selection of key points and indicators that require attention. The second part of this report presents JPPI’s customary three-dimensional table of indicators in selected countries.2 In the third section, we outline cultural trends that have increasingly become part of the European environment with deleterious effects on Jewish life. The intention is to work toward a set of metrics to assess how similar or dissimilar the American experience is from Europe’s in 2021 and going forward.

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