Photo : Antisemitic and anti-Muslim acts in France (screenshot LCI)

EU: Antisemitism in Europe reaching levels unseen in decades, says top Rabbi

By Maria Psara

EURONEWS (25.10.2023) – European Jews are afraid following a spike in antisemitic attacks sparked by the latest Israel-Hamas war despite authorities increasing protection, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the chairman of the European Jewish Association, has told Euronews.


The Rabbi said the increase in such incidents, which include physical and verbal aggression, is something that has not been seen for decades.


“We do get a lot of information, a lot of calls, a lot of emails from Jewish people from Europe, both individuals in the institutions, synagogues, schools,” Margolin told Euronews.


“People see in the street that they get much more remarks, many more bad looks, hatred, looks and call for death and physical incitement.”


According to figures compiled by the Anti-Defamation League and released on Tuesday, nearly 590 antisemitic incidents have been reported to French police since October 7, when Hamas launched a deadly attack against Israel. In Germany, the number of such incidents has risen by 240% compared to the same period last year, while in Austria they have gone up by 300%.


Some of the incidents listed include the destruction of Israeli flags, the vandalisation of Jewish monuments and sites, graffiti, and death threats.


The Rabbi said that many people are now taking extra precautions to protect their families from hate crimes.


“There are many, many people now who will secure their doors, install cameras, change the windows to bulletproof windows,” he explained.


“They tried to fireproof doors and yet many people know it is not enough.”


As the chairman of the European Jewish Association explained, the main tool for hate messages is social media. He wants better editorial control to be exerted over such content and for better education against racism.


The European Commission has raised concerns about the increase in hate speech and hate crimes targeting both Jewish and Muslim communities in Europe and has made their safety a top priority.

Further reading about FORB in the EU on HRWF website