Thursday, April 01, 2004

EUMC releases revised report on anti-Semitism

Ha'aretz reports that the European Union Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) has released a revised version of its controversial report on anti-Semitism:

The new report, made public yesterday in Strasbourg in the presence of European Parliament President Pat Cox and EUMC director Beate Winker, contrasted with controversial findings of last year's EUMC-sponsored study, which the body shelved, citing incomplete data and controversial methodology, after it was leaked to the press in December 2003.

Last year's report predominantly blamed young Arabs and Muslims for rising anti-Semitism. This year the report said: "Although it is not easy to generalize, the largest group of perpetrators ... appears to be young, disaffected white Europeans." The report, including data on anti-Semitism and hostility to Jews in Europe since 2002, concludes, "There were many incidents of Jews being assaulted and insulted, attacks against synagogues, cemeteries and other Jewish property, and arson at a Jewish school."

Jewish leaders in the U.S. and Europe blasted the report, accusing the authors of purposely avoiding identifying who was responsible for anti-Semitic incidents in Europe. Israel Singer, chairman of the World Jewish Congress, said that the report's authors were afraid to present the causes of the latest wave of anti-Semitism.

The 344-page report maintains that France had the most significant rise in instances of anti-Semitism, with 313 incidents, a six-fold increase since 2002. In Belgium the number of incidents doubled, while in Germany, the number of anti-Semitic incidents dropped, though increased in severity.
Certain supporters of Israel, especially on the American Right, have been making a lot of noise about the growth of a "new anti-semitism" amongst Muslim populations and the international Left, particularly in Europe. The initial suppression of the EUMC report was pointed to as a prime example of how Europe was unwilling to own up to this nefarious development.

Considering this charge, it's ironic -- and much more consistent with European history -- that this updated version of the EUMC report emphasizes that those "young, disaffected white Europeans" most prone to anti-Semitism tend to be, as Ha'aretz puts it, "influenced by extreme right-wing political ideas."