Tue, Mar 03, 2009 - Page 6 News List

Most EU countries fail to compile data on anti-Semitism

AP , VIENNA

Most EU countries fail to compile statistics on anti-Semitism, a new report said, complicating efforts to gauge the level of animosity toward Jews within the 27-country bloc.

Often, anti-Semitic incidents do not make it into official records because they are not labeled as such or because victims or witnesses do not report them, the Vienna-based European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights said in a report yesterday.

“The agency’s data collection work shows that most member states do not have official or even unofficial data and statistics on anti-Semitic incidents,” the report said, adding that even when information is compiled, it often cannot be used for comparative purposes because it is collected in different ways.

The agency did not blatantly single out states that are failing to track anti-Semitic incidents. But its breakdown of country-specific data — both official and unofficial — only included Austria, Belgium, Britain, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden.

It also gave recent examples of anti-Semitic incidents in other EU countries, indicating the problem is widespread.

The agency said it did not have enough information to calculate an overall EU trend in anti-Semitic activity for the period between 2001 and last year. But it said that the data available showed a decrease in such offenses in 2007 and last year.

In France, for example, where the Interior Ministry collects and compiles data, the number of officially recorded anti-Semitic incidents was lower in 2007 — 386 — than at any year since 2001 when the tally was 219, the report said. The number of anti-Semitic violent acts and threats in France peaked at 974 in 2004 after reaching 936 in 2002.

German statistics showed that the number of anti-Semitic incidents decreased to 1,561 in 2007 after peaking at 1,682 in 2005.

In 2006, authorities recorded 1,662 such incidents. The low since 2001 occurred in 2003, with 1,226 incidents.

Dutch authorities reported that 50 out of 216 discriminatory incidents in 2007 were anti-Semitic in nature — about half as many as in 2006. In Britain, the Community Security Trust recorded 541 anti-Semitic incidents last year, compared with 561 in 2007 and 594 a year earlier.

The report also showed discrepancies between official and unofficial numbers.

Official Austrian statistics, for example, show that the number of anti-Semitic offenses doubled in 2007 compared with the two previous years — from eight in 2005 and 2006, to 15 in 2007. Unofficial non-governmental data, however, found 125 anti-Semitic incidents in 2006 and 62 in 2007.

The report also said that since the most recent outbreak of violence in Gaza, a number of assaults against Jews, attacks on synagogues and sporadic violence have mainly been reported by the media in France, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark and the UK.

Last month, a survey for the US-based Anti-Defamation League conducted in Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Spain and the UK found nearly a third of 3,500 Europeans polled blamed Jews for the global economic meltdown.

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