Inadequate registration harms anti-Semitism assessment, EU report says

Inadequate registration of anti-Semitic crimes by European Union countries makes it impossible to accurately assess their prevalence, the EU’s Agency for Fundamental Rights said.

The Vienna-based EU agency made the claim in a working paper released Monday titled “Anti-Semitism — Summary overview of the situation in the European Union 2001-2011.”

“A small minority of member states operate official data collection mechanisms robust enough to provide a picture of the situation,” the 55-page report states, listing France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom and, “to a lesser extent,” Belgium.

The report notes that Hungary, Latvia, Bulgaria, Luxembourg and Cyprus do not collect data on anti-Semitism specifically. Data from Estonia, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia were “not available.” Denmark and Lithuania can offer “little” and “scarce” information, respectively, on the phenomenon.

“No clear-cut conclusions can be drawn on the situation of anti-Semitism in the EU on the basis of the data that are currently available,” the report states.

Poland, according to official data, reported 25 anti-Semitic cases. Greece reported three cases and Ireland two.

France’s government watchdog registered 389 cases in 2011; 466 incidents in 2010; and 815 in 2009. The Community Security Trust of Britain’s Jewish community counted 585 anti-Semitic incidents in 2011.

Germany’s “political crimes” police unit recorded 1,188 anti-Semitic incidents in 2011 and 1,192 cases in 2010. The unit, KMPD-PMK, said most perpetrators were extreme right activists.

Decreases in the number of recorded incidents in states that collect data “should not be taken to mean” that anti-Semitic manifestations are becoming rarer in the EU, the report says. The data indicate a return to levels that were recorded prior to Israel’s 2009 attack on Hamas in Gaza, according to the report.

The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights hopes to improve monitoring in the EU through a two-year grant to the Facing Facts project led by CEJI-A Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe.

Britain’s CST and the Dutch Center for Information and Documentation on Israel are some of the key partners in the project, which aims to help nongovernmental organizations as well as government bodies better monitor hate crimes.

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