House of Lords Library

Incidence of Antisemitism Worldwide

Published Thursday, June 13, 2019

This House of Lords Library Briefing has been prepared in advance of the forthcoming debate on the incidence of antisemitism worldwide.

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This briefing looks at several recent reports that have sought to measure the incidence of antisemitism around the world.

Statistics indicated that in 2018, the number of Jews killed in antisemitic attacks worldwide reached its highest level since the 1990s. A report produced by Tel Aviv University noted a rise in antisemitic acts, both violent and non-violent, in many countries and cities around the world in 2018 and a sense of antisemitism becoming “normalised” in the public sphere. A large-scale survey of people who considered themselves Jewish, carried out across twelve EU member states in 2018, found that: 

  • antisemitism pervades everyday life;
  • pervasive antisemitism undermines Jewish people’s feelings of safety and security;
  • antisemitic harassment is so common that it becomes normalised; and
  • antisemitic discrimination in key areas of life remains invisible.

An overwhelming majority (89%) of participants in the survey felt antisemitism was getting worse. This contrasted with another EU survey that looked at perceptions of antisemitism among the general population. Only 36% thought antisemitism had increased in the past five years. The European Commission described this as a “clear perception gap of the problem of antisemitism”.

In the UK, the Community Security Trust (CST) recorded the highest ever number of antisemitic incidents in 2018. It noted an upward trend over the last three years. Nevertheless, the CST believes antisemitic hate crime and hate incidents are significantly under-reported. The UK Government has suggested that a rise in religiously motivated hate crime may be partly attributable to better recording, but the Home Office acknowledges that official figures may not capture the full extent of hate crime.

The Government states it is tackling antisemitic hate crime through its hate crime action plan. It has set out plans to address online hate crime in the recently published online harms white paper. The Government also explains that it undertakes work to promote freedom of religion or belief around the world and to address post-Holocaust issues through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s human rights work.

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