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Author(s): Graham, David
Date: 2018
Abstract: JPR’s report, European Jewish identity: Mosaic or monolith? An empirical assessment of eight European countries, authored by Senior Research Fellow Dr David Graham, asks whether there is such a thing as a European Jewish identity, and, if so, what it looks like. The question of whether there is a Jewish identity that is at once common to all European Jews but also peculiar to them, has intrigued scholars of contemporary Jewry since the fall of the Berlin Wall. This study contrasts the European picture with the two major centres of world Jewry, the United States and Israel, and examines the nature and content of Jewish identity across Europe, exploring the three core pillars of belief, belonging and behaviour around which Jewish identity is built. This research was made possible by the advent of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) survey in 2012 examining Jewish people’s experiences and perceptions of antisemitism across nine EU Member States: Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Romania, Sweden and the UK. As well as gathering data about antisemitism, the study investigated various aspects of the Jewishness of respondents, in order to ascertain whether different types of Jews perceive and experience antisemitism differently. This study focuses on the data gathered about Jewishness, thereby enabling direct comparisons to be made for the first time across multiple European Jewish communities in a robust and comprehensive way. The report concludes that there is no monolithic European identity, but it explores in detail the mosaic of Jewish identity in Europe, highlighting some key differences: • In Belgium, where Jewish parents are most likely to send their children to Jewish schools, there is a unique polarisation between the observant and non-observant; • In France, Jews exhibit the strongest feelings of being part of the Jewish People, and also have the strongest level of emotional attachment to Israel; • Germany’s Jewish community has the largest proportion of foreign-born Jews, and, along with Hungary, is the youngest Jewish population; • In Hungary the greatest relative weight in Jewish identity priorities is placed on 'Combating antisemitism,' and the weakest level of support for Israel is exhibited; • In Italy, respondents are least likely to report being Jewish by birth or to have two Jewish parents; • The Jews of Latvia are the oldest population and the most likely to be intermarried; • The Jews of Sweden attach a very high level of importance to 'Combating antisemitism' despite being relatively unlikely to experience it, and they observe few Jewish practices; • In the United Kingdom, Jews observe the most religious practices and appear to feel the least threatened by antisemitism. They are the most likely to be Jewish by birth and least likely to be intermarried. According to report author, Dr David Graham: “This report represents far more than the culmination of an empirical assessment of Jewish identity. Never before has it been possible to examine Jewish identity across Europe in anything approaching a coherent and systematic way. Prior to the FRA’s survey, it was almost inconceivable that an analysis of this kind could be carried out at all. The formidable obstacles of cost, language, political and logistical complexity seemed to present impenetrable barriers to the realisation of any such dream. Yet this is exactly what has been achieved, a report made possible through an FRA initiative into furthering understanding of Jewish peoples' experience of antisemitism. It reveals a European Jewry that is more mosaic than monolith, an array of Jewish communities, each exhibiting unique Jewish personas, yet united by geography and a common cultural heritage."
Author(s): Ben-Rafael, Eliezer
Date: 2017
Abstract: Contemporary works have shown that antisemitism is far from moribund in Europe and it is in this context that in 2012 was conducted extensive research in the EU on current perceptions and experiences of antisemitism among Jews in Europe. I present and analyze here results that relate specifically to Belgian Jews (438 subjects out of 6,200 in eight countries). The first objective of this work is to learn about the Jewishness of our sample. Hence, we find that 40% of the respondents identify themselves as secular Jews; 15% consider themselves liberals; more than a quarter say they “observe certain traditions”; one sixth define themselves as Orthodox Jews. The data confirm, at this point, that there is only a limited correlation between religiosity and Jewishness: less religious or even non-religious people tend to express an identification with, and commitment to, Jewishness that were not weaker than the Orthodox’. The various factions are also united by a general feeling that while Belgium cannot be considered as an antisemitic state, it is currently experiencing virulent antisemitism in wide milieus. This antisemitism is bound to a sharp anti-Israelism salient in public life, the media, and the Internet. More than a number of other communities in Europe, Belgian Jews see antisemitism reigning in their environment with a gravity. They testify that the Israel-Palestine conflict weighs on their sense of insecurity; they confess that they have often considered the option of emigrating and they openly accuse Muslim extremists of inciting antisemitism. Belgian Jews also feel more vulnerable to antisemitic attacks and tend to resent a weakening in their position in society. On the other hand, what grants support to the Belgian Jews in these circumstances is that they often belong to the properous segments of the population. Moreover, there is the vitality of the community where one finds multiple forms of expression and activity - magazines, radio, clubs, synagogues, museums, etc.- and above all, exceptional educational infrastructures. These resources allow Belgian Jews, if not to protect themselves against the virus of antisemitism, at least to face it.
Date: 2014
Abstract: Based on data commissioned by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and gathered and analysed by JPR's academic team, this is the first in a series of reports looking at the perceptions and experiences of antisemitism among Jews in different EU Member States.

This report, focusing on Jews in the UK, demonstrates that Jews feel more secure in the UK than elsewhere, but that Orthodox Jews are measurably more anxious about, and susceptible to antisemitic incidents, than non-Orthodox Jews.

It shows that over half of all Orthodox Jews in Britain are worried about becoming a victim of an antisemitic act, and that they are more than twice as likely as non-Orthodox Jews to have experienced antisemitic harassment or discrimination.

Close to two-thirds of Orthodox Jews believe antisemitism to be a problem in the UK, compared with under half of non-Orthodox Jews, and four in ten of the Orthodox avoid certain places out of fear for their safety as Jews, compared to a quarter of the non-Orthodox.

However, in general, the report shows that levels of antisemitism in the UK are significantly lower than in other Western European countries, and that Jews in Britain feel noticeably less anxious about it than elsewhere on the continent.

Further issues explored in the report include data on how Jews define antisemitism, levels of reporting of different types of antisemitic incidents, and attitudes towards legislation on brit milah (circumcision) and shechita (the methods used under Jewish law to kill animals to produce kosher meat).
Editor(s): Kovács, András
Date: 2004
Date: 2017

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