• Posted 14-Sep-2020

Hate against Jews: data gaps hide true picture

Most incidents of hatred against Jews go unreported. This, coupled with large data gaps, masks the true extent of antisemitism and hampers efforts to formulate effective responses, according to FRA’s latest annual overview.

Government and civil society require adequate data to tackle the hatred towards Jews that pervades Europe. But, as the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) latest antisemitism overview reveals, large gaps in collecting data remain. This annual overview reveals hardly any change in the 16 years of monitoring such data collection.

Some EU Member States do not collect any official data at all. For example, there is no official data on reported antisemitic incidents for Hungary and Portugal for 2019.

Existing data are generally not comparable across EU Member States. This is because they use different methods to collect the data and draw data from different sources. In addition, official data collection systems do not always categorise incidents as antisemitic. These are some of the reasons why responses to antisemitism so often are ineffective.

Again, as in previous years, the overview underlines the need for sustained efforts to improve data collection. This includes new methods, data sources and data processing techniques to better measure the incidence and effect of hatred against Jews.

While the overview focuses on 2019, it also gives examples of how antisemitic conspiracy theories surrounding the coronavirus pandemic fuelled hate speech online. This only underlines the clear need to tackle hate speech and hate crime towards Jews.

The overview draws attention to FRA’s compendium of practices for combating hate crime. The compendium contains examples of how some Member States record hate crime, which others can draw from.

The overview also reminds authorities that they have to do more to tackle under-reporting. They have to encourage victims and witnesses to come forward to report incidents. They also need the right systems to properly record antisemitic acts.

FRA’s antisemitism overview looks at data from international, governmental and non-governmental sources across all EU Member States, the UK, and for the first time, North Macedonia and Serbia. It compiles available data from 1 January 2009 until 31 December 2019.

Also, for the first time, it contains information about national strategies, action plans or other instruments to protect Jewish communities.

The annual update lists 20 EU Member States plus North Macedonia and Serbia that adopted, endorsed or started using the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism(link is external). It further outlines how governments use or plan to use the definition.

This is the latest in a series of yearly reports on data collection on antisemitism that FRA publishes.

Source: European Union Fundamental Rights Agency News (https://bit.ly/3mcVP38)