An all-new report by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom found that nearly a dozen European countries are “insufficient” in their efforts to meet the challenges of anti-Semitism. Unfortunately enough, even as the US battles instances of antisemitism, it is more than evident that a colossal number of such incidents are happening every year in Europe, without being properly addressed.
The report primarily went on to show a worsening scenario in 11 European countries- Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom—and sought to answer the fundamental question of: “Are Jews able to live openly and freely as Jews, in whatever manner they wish?” The sizes of the Jewish communities ranged from 1,500 in Norway to 448,000 in France, and found that in 10 out of 11 of the countries featured efforts to meet the challenges of anti-Semitism remain “insufficient.”
The only country to avoid this designation and “exceed” efforts to combat anti-Semitism was Norway, which has a comprehensive national plan to combat the scourge, as well as sufficient funds for security measures to protect the Jewish community, among other positive measures.
In a briefing after the report was released, Gary Bauer, a commissioner with the organization stated, “Sadly, 2020 was another difficult year for global anti-Semitism between COVID-19 unleashing an “avalanche” of anti-Semitic propaganda to physical attacks on Jews worldwide.”
He added during the release of the report which was titled, “Antisemitism in Europe: Implications for U.S. Policy”, that, “Even dead Jews were not allowed to rest in peace,” noting that Jewish cemeteries were frequent targets for graffiti and vandalism with headstones overturned.
According to the report’s recommendations, the European governments should wholly fund the security requirements of Jewish communities, which is currently done in only Hungary, Norway, and the United Kingdom. The second thing to be done is to reform education to include positive portrayals of Jews and their contributions to the individual country and the world. And lastly, to improve law enforcement’s handling of anti-Semitic crimes.
Furthermore, according to David Weinberg, ADL’s Washington director for international affairs, “The U.S. Commission for American’s Heritage Abroad can play a larger role at calling out vandalism at Jewish sites like synagogues and cemeteries, and the congressionally approved and authorized Office to Monitor and Combat anti-Semitism should be fully staffed as quickly as possible.”