There are 150 million anti-Semitic Europeans, according to an Israeli state body charged with assessing hatred towards Jews.
In a new 2015 report, the Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism said a contributing factor was “refugees flooding Europe” and that “most antisemitic incidents in Europe are fed by the growing Muslim population”.
Amidst disclaimers and caveats, the report’s authors say “the interpretation of these findings is that more than 150 million of the 400 million EU citizens, aged over 16, are holding views that are classified as anti-Semitic” and that Europe’s leaders are “systematically ignoring” the issue.
The report, which talks of “the European anti-Jewish spirit,” comes as Israeli authorities trade barbs with European legislators, after new EU guidelines on the labelling of goods made in the West Bank and the Golan Heights.
Authors of the CFCA study say one element of European anti-Semitism is “the Islamic approach, which sees the Jews as enemies”. They add that anti-Semitism “stems not only from Islamic fundamentalist interpretation of Islamic law… but also from Islamic contemporary space and cultural identity” and that “radical Islam is grabbing hold of Islamic communities around the world”.
In June, a study by the respected U.S-based Pew Research Center suggested anti-Jewish sentiment in Western Europe was marginal and declining. In France, Britain and Germany, less than ten percent of respondents held unfavourable views of Jews, but among Europe’s Jews, Pew found feelings of anxiety had increased.
David Hirsch, a sociologist at Goldsmiths, University of London, told Ha’aretz that “in Western Europe, anti-Semitism is significant, but only in particular milieus… It is not mainstream and it is not rife in popular culture”.