Young Jews Face Harassment in Europe, but Nevertheless Express their Jewish Identity

Many young Jewish Europeans face antisemitic harassment in Europe, but are also very resilient as they clearly express their Jewish identity, finds a report published last week by the European Commission and European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). Rising hate speech and intolerance towards them shows the urgent need for continued concerted efforts to adequately address society’s longstanding and persistent hostility towards Jews.


Young Jewish Europeans, although worryingly more exposed to antisemitism than their elders, declare largely having a strong Jewish identity, as the ‘Young Jews in contemporary Europe’ report shows. It uses data stemming from the more than 2,700 young Jewish Europeans polled for the 2018 FRA survey ‘Experiences and perceptions of antisemitism.’ The report’s results also show that young Jewish Europeans are mindful of general changes in society regarding the rise of hate speech and intolerance, and feel generally unsafe in Europe.

Based on FRA’s survey data, the report shows that:

  • 81% of the young Jewish Europeans declared the strength of their Jewish identity to be high;
  • Four in five of the young Jewish Europeans say that antisemitism is a problem in their countries and believe it to have increased over the past five years;
  • 81% of young Jewish Europeans believe racism is a problem in their countries and 74% perceive an increase specifically of anti-Muslim hatred;
  • Remembering the Holocaust remains the most important factor to determine the Jewish identity of young Jewish Europeans (95%);
  • While the importance of ‘supporting Israel’ in the identities of young Jewish Europeans is less significant than for their elders, 85% of young Jewish Europeans report that people in their countries accuse or blame them for anything done by the Israeli government at least ‘occasionally’;
  • 44% of young Jewish Europeans experienced antisemitic harassment, which is 12% higher than their elders. 80% of young victims do not report harassment to the police or any other authority;
  • 45% of young Jewish Europeans choose not to wear, carry or display distinguishable Jewish items in public because there are concerned about their safety.
  • 41% have considered emigrating because they did not feel safe living there as a Jewish person;
  • 48% feel that their government is adequately protecting them and only 17% consider that they are combating antisemitism effectively.

The results relate to the 2700+ Jews aged 16-34 that took part in FRA’s survey of Jews in 12 Member States where over 96% of the EU’s estimated Jewish population live.

Following the suggestion of the European Union of Jewish Students, the European Commission requested FRA to produce this report. FRA commissioned the Institute for Jewish Policy Research to write it.

The complete report is available here for download.