“Anti-Semitism carried by a feeling of rejection of Israel“, according to the terms used, is particularly marked in Belgium, it emerges frominvestigation presented in 16 European countries by the association Action and Protection League (APL) and presented in Brussels.
The survey, allowing the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020 among 16,000 Europeans, including a thousand in Belgium, was carried out on the basis of around seventy questions, in particular to measure primary, secondary or even anti-Semitism linked to Israel.
A first category of questions brings together old stereotypes and the affective aspect. Investigators asked questions such as: “Think a Jewish network is secretly influencing world politics?“. And it is Greece which is in the lead with several Eastern European countries, such as Poland, Hungary or Romania. Belgium is just below the measured average, with 19% of anti-Semitic feelings measured. .
The results are much more homogeneous in the second category, which covers the relativization of the Holocaust, and where the average reaches 39%. With 34%, Belgium is in a group close to France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
In terms of hostility towards Israel, Belgium is here in the lead with 62%, only ahead of Austria, Poland and Greece, and clearly above the rest of the world. medium (49%).
“When we talk about prejudices, it is true that it is a trend more present in eastern Europe, in Greece or in Austria., explains Hungarian rabbi Shlomo Koves. In western countries, it’s not the same thing, but when we talk about secondary anti-Semitism, which for example represents anti-Israel positions, there it is much more important.“.
This study therefore tends to adopt a very broad definition of anti-Semitism. The boycott of Israeli products, for example, is seen as an expression of anti-Semitism, which is a firm interpretation by activists of the BDS campaign, which promotes this boycott to assert Palestinian rights.
The survey also identifies for each country the number of assaults suffered by Jewish people. “Even if the general level of prejudice is low in western countries, the number of assaults is very high. For example, the anti-Semitic prejudice in Hungary, is very high, in the highest levels, but at the same time, the number of attacks is the lowest“, comments Shlomo Koves.
A paradox explained by the chief rabbi by the presumed greater presence of radical Islamists: “We know that most of these anti-Semitic attacks come from a minority, but they are big enough for security concerns. In these countries there is a large Muslim community. A minority is Islamist extremist, ready to carry out anti-Semitic attacks“.
The PLA was born in 2012 in Hungary following the accession to Parliament of an openly anti-Semitic party. Its objective, via this first cross-survey with figures of physical or verbal violence, is to provide a map of the continent giving an index of “dangerousness“for Jews and weigh on receipts.
“The results are varied and complex, so it is difficult to draw general observations by country“acknowledges PLA Rabbi Shlomo Koves.”Especially since fifteen European countries still do not identify anti-Semitic acts“.