FRA ten-year survey on antisemitic incidents: Data Gaps hide true picture

The inadequate recording of hate crime incidents, coupled with victims’ hesitance to report incidents to the authorities, contributes to the gross under-reporting of the extent of antisemitic incidents that occur in the EU, according to a new report published by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA)

According to the Overview of antisemitic incidents recorded in the European Union for 2009-2019, whilst government and civil society require adequate data to tackle the hatred towards Jews that pervades Europe, large gaps in collecting data remain.

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.

The report 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 fueled hate speech online. This only underlines the clear need to tackle hate speech and hate crime towards Jews.

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.

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