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The legal framework to combat antisemitism in the EU


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The experience and perceptions of the Jewish community and wider European population, recorded antisemitic incidents, the increasing level of antisemitic content online and sociological research show the persisting presence of antisemitism in the European Union. A 2021 survey on the prevalence and intensity of anti-Jewish prejudices in 16 European countries found that on average, 20 % of the population in the countries under scrutiny can be regarded as (strongly or moderately) antisemitic, whereas the proportion of latent antisemites was 14 %, with six countries where the aggregate proportion of strongly, moderately and latently antisemitic people was above 50 %. Research has also shown – and it has also been reported from a number of Member States in the context of the current report – that the consecutive crises of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russian aggression on Ukraine have intensified antisemitic sentiments across Europe. The cut-off date of the research on which the report is based was 7 July 2023, therefore, the study does not reflect the unprecedented spike in antisemitism and antisemitic incidents in Europe and across the world following the horrific terrorist attacks by Hamas on Israeli civilians on 7 October 2023. Thus, the impact of the attacks and their aftermath could not be taken into account in this study. With a view to combating racial and/or religious hatred, including antisemitism, the European Union has not only adopted policies and commitments, but it has also put in place numerous legal instruments that can be used to counter different forms of antisemitism, including but not limited to the Framework Decision on combating certain forms of expressions of racism and xenophobia, the Racial Equality Directive, the Employment Equality Directive, and the Victims’ Rights Directive. The importance of effectively applying this legislation to fight antisemitism is emphasised in the EU Strategy on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life (2021-2030), in which the European Union pledged to ‘step up action to actively prevent and combat’ the phenomenon in all its forms. This thematic report provides a comparative overview of how these legal instruments have been complied with in the 27 EU Member States, and aims to establish how and to what extent the legal framework and its practical application in the different Member States provide protection against antisemitism in three main areas: (i) non-discrimination; (i) hate crimes; and (iii) hate speech. It identifies gaps in the existing legal protections and/or their enforcement across the EU Member States and makes recommendations on mechanisms for the provision of effective protection against acts motivated by antisemitism.



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Kádár, András, European Commission, Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers The legal framework to combat antisemitism in the EU. Publications Office of the European Union. 2024:  https://archive.jpr.org.uk/10.2838/273421