KIEV — A quarter of respondents in a survey of Jews from nine European countries said they avoid visiting places and wearing symbols that identify them as Jews for fear of anti-Semitism.
Fear of wearing a kippah and other identifiably Jewish items was especially strong in Sweden, where 49% of 800 respondents said they refrained from such actions, according to the yearlong survey conducted among more than 5,100 Jews by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights.
In France, 40% of approximately 1,200 Jews said they avoided wearing such items in public, followed by Belgium with 36%, according to preliminary results from the survey obtained by JTA.
In total, 22% of respondents said they avoided “Jewish events or sites” because of safety concerns.
Read related IJN blog posting, "Fear — not freedom — of expression"
“The results show that a majority of European Jews are experiencing a rise in anti-Semitism,” Gert Weisskirchen, a former representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe for fighting anti-Semitism, said Oct. 15 at a conference in Kiev, Ukraine.
The survey began on Sept. 3, 2012 and closed last month. Along with Sweden, France and Belgium, the survey was conducted online in Britain, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Romania and Latvia. The full report is due to be published next month in Vilnius.
In Hungary, 91% of more than 500 respondents said anti-Semitism has increased in the past five years. The figure was 80% or above in France, Belgium and Sweden. In Germany, Italy and Britain, some 60% of respondents identified a growth in anti-Semitism, compared to 39% in Latvia.
Figures for people who said they had experienced an anti-Semitic incident in the 12 previous months were 30% for Hungary, 21% for France and 16% in Germany.
Twenty-seven percent of respondents said the perpetrators were Muslims; 22% blamed people with “left-wing views”; and 19% said the people responsible had “right-wing views.”
More than 75% of respondents said they do not report anti-Semitic harassment to police and 64% said they do not report physical assaults, with 67% saying that reporting incidents was either “not worth the effort” or otherwise ineffectual.
“Individual states need to address anti-Semitism not for the sake of the current generation, but to prevent the worsening of the situation for the following one,” said Oleksandr Feldman, aUkrainian Jewish parliament member.
He organized the two-day conference titled “From the Beilis Trial to Berlin and Beyond” on the 100th anniversary of the anti-Semitic blood libel trial against Menachem Mendel Beilis, who was acquitted of killing a Christian child to use his blood for rituals.