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2016 Annual Assessment

JPPI’s anti-Semitism Index, presented here for the second year. This year we focus on Europe – aiming to measure the discomfort and threat levels of European Jewry. This integrated indicator, meant to be a tool for policy makers, relates to three complementary dimensions of anti-Semitism affecting individual Jews and communal Jewish life. Our integrative index utilizes the existing Attitudes Toward Jews Index compiled from data collected by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in cooperation with various research institutes, anti-Semitic harassment figures collected by local Jewish organizations entrusted with security (such as CST in UK, and SPCJ in France) 1, and findings regarding perceptions among Jews of anti-Semitism.

Table 1. Anti-Semitism in Western Europe

2015-2016

Trend

Europe average

France

UK

Germany

PUBLIC OPINION TOWARDS JEWS

Harbor anti-Semitic attitudes (%)2

24 (26)

17 (37)

12 (8)

16 (27)

— as above, among Muslims (%)3

62 (55)

49 (83)

54

54 (62)

ANTI-SEMITIC BEHAVIOR (number of incidents; only as reported to official agencies)4

Extreme violence (including terrorism)

↓ ↑

32 (2)

4 (41)

3 (4)

Assault

66 (108)

82 (80)

18 (25)

Damage to property

109 (131)

65 (81)

N/A

Total incidents (extreme violence, assaults, damages, desecrations and threats)

1,015 (1,092)

912 (1,189)

740 (864)

Number of physical attacks per 1,000 Jews

4 (5)

6 (8)

6 (7)

Percent of attacks that are not reported5

77

72

73

72

ANTI-SEMITISM AS PERCEIVED BY JEWS6

Have been personally assaulted (%)

11

5

Anti-Semitism is a very or fairly big problem (%)

(67)

(86)

(48)

(25)

Have considered emigration because they do not feel safe in their country (%)

(32)

80 (49)

(19)

(26)

Avoid places in their neighborhood because they would not feel safe there as a Jew (%)

(27)

(20)

(35)

1. European Jewish communities are at risk of further terror attacks

Thousands of Europe-born jihadists have fought in the Syrian civil war, and hundreds of them have returned to Europe. Moreover, among the million migrants who have arrived in Europe recently, it is suspected that there are several hundreds of trained jihadists who are setting up sleeping terror cells. On June 2016, the U.S. State Department warned Americans of the risk of potential terrorist attacks throughout Europe.7 It is clear that in recent terror attacks throughout Europe, Jews have been specifically targeted by jihadists. Security services put in place in several European Jewish communities were not designed to safeguard the many thousands of Jewish residences against terror, and do not have the capacity to do so.

2. Strong condemnations of anti-Semitism by top-level political leaders matter

We observe an increase of anti-Jewish sentiment in United Kingdom, while anti-Jewish attitudes and harassment dropped significantly in France and Germany.aa2016-69There is no doubt that high-profile violence against Jews has fostered a sense of solidarity with the Jewish community. Strong condemnations of anti-Semitism by French PM Manuel Valls and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have been highly effective in their respective countries.Israeli diplomats and political figures should encourage European political and top-level civic leaders to take a clear stand against anti-Semitism and demonstrate their commitment to the security of Jews. Declarations backed by visible acts are useful with respect to the three components of the index: (1) Anti-Semites get the message that expressing anti-Semitism is not acceptable; (2) Commitment to stand by the Jews and to vigorously pursue perpetrators deters anti-Semitic acts; (3) Jews regain trust in their country’s commitment to their security and feel comfortable as full citizens.

3. Despite the fact that there was no armed conflict in 2015, the level of anti-Jewish incidents remained similar to those of 2014

If until recently, anti-Semitic harassments were seen to spike mainly during Middle East armed conflicts with a subsequent sharp decline, today anti-Jewishness in Europe remains high even during years (such as 2015) without any armed conflict involving Israel and Palestinians. Beyond the fluctuations linked to external triggers, the trend line of anti-Semitic incidents, as illustrated in Figure 1, shows an overall ascent during the last 15 years. This is due to the fact that anti-Jewish violence, coming mainly from Europe-born Muslims, is now home-grown and endogenous.

aa2016-70
Figure 1: Anti-Semitic incidents in Britain and France
Ascending trend line despite lack of warfare between Israel and Palestinians

Figure 2 provides further insight into the emerging endogenous nature of anti-Jewish violence, in this case in France. After the end of the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict in 2014 and its spike in incidents, the level sloped steeply away from that high level. When compared to the level of incidents at the time of the Paris terror attacks in January 2015, a moderately high level of incidents continued for the two following months. This may be a harbinger of a growing difference not only between the number but also the nature and impacts of endogenous and exogenous triggers. The decline was slower in returning to a baseline level after the January 2015 terror attack in a Parisian kosher supermarket than after Operation Protective Edge. The Paris massacre was perpetrated by French-born Jihadists and their action – especially after being celebrated as a glorious victory by global Jihadists – inspired local radicals. Without the French government’s steadfast reaction this wave of anti-Jewish harassments may have been prolonged even more.

aa2016-71
Figure 2: Anti-Semitic Incidents in France
Comparing reactions to endogenous and exogenous triggers June 2014 – July 2015
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