Anti-Semitism spreading in the West, but not in Central Europe

David's star in the downtown Budapest Dohány street synagogue. (
By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

The spread of conspiracy theories surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic — conspiracies that often involve Jews — has contributed to the rise of anti-Semitism in Western Europe, according to an overview of the decade constituting 2010-2020 by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).

Although the study points out that, due to differing definitions of the concept itself and different methodologies used in different countries, it is difficult to draw decisive conclusions, it is clear that the nature of discrimination has changed over the years. A significant proportion of anti-Semitic conspiracy cases have migrated to online platforms in the form of hate speech and defamatory content.

What the data makes obvious is that in many Western European countries, there is a growing trend of crimes against Jews motivated by anti-Semitism. In contrast, in Hungary, Slovakia, or Poland, for example, the report shows a decrease in cases.

In Germany, for example, the number of anti-Semitic incidents has been on the rise since 2015 — the first year of the migration wave. In 2020, the number of incidents reached 2,351, which is up from 2,032 a year earlier. Since 2016, the series of migration crises and terrorist attacks on Europe, crimes committed from the standpoint of religious ideology have been classified in a separate category that did not previously exist in the statistics. Although the EU report focuses on hate crimes committed by far-right individuals and groups, the newspaper The Times of Israel, citing a 2016 survey, wrote that 41 percent of Jews who were verbally and physically attacked in Germany said the perpetrator was a Muslim, with 20 percent mentioning far-right attacks and 16 percent citing far-left attacks.

The situation is also worrisome in Austria, where, according to unofficial data collected by NGOs, there were 585 anti-Semitic incidents last year, up from 550 a year earlier compared with 70 only a decade ago. The number of recorded cases is also increasing in Sweden, with 278 cases of anti-Semitic crime based on the latest data from 2018, compared to 182 in 2016.

French statistics are less frightening than in Germany, with 339 cases reported to the French authorities last year, which is about half of 687 the previous year, according to an earlier report by the National Anti-Semitic Office, also quoted by The Times of Israel.

More than half of the anti-Semitic incidents and almost all of the particularly violent incidents were perpetrated by Muslim immigrants.

Share This Article