Hungary is safer for Jews than pro-immigration Western Europe

Various anti-Semitic statements, as well as prejudices against Jewish communities, are phenomena occasionally accompanying European public discourse. Anti-Semitism is a growing problem in pro-immigration Western European countries, where the Muslim population has grown significantly as a result of mass migration. An analysis based on the survey of Project Europe conducted by Századvég, covering 30 countries, examined the attitudes of the population towards discrimination and insults affecting Jewish people, including the question of how European citizens feel or could feel safe in their own country as a Jew.

The research found that three-quarter of European and V4 respondents (76 percent respectively) had not experienced verbal abuse of Jews in their environment. However, examining differences between countries, we find significant deviations. It can be observed that in pro-immigration, multi-ethnic countries, the proportion of those who have experienced verbal discrimination against Jewish citizens is noticeably higher. Accordingly, while in Luxembourg the proportion of those who experienced verbal abuse against Jews was 31 percent, in France and the Netherlands 23 percent and 20 percent, respectively.  This proportion was only 10 percent among Hungarian respondents. Similarly, violence against Jewish people among their acquaintances was observed by 16 percent in Luxembourg and 11 percent of people in Belgium, compared to only 2 percent in Hungary.

Examining these issues by religious affiliation, we find that insults against Jewish people is more deeply rooted in the environments of Muslim respondents.

Századvég, Project Europe

Eighteen percent of Christian respondents experienced verbal and 8 percent physical abuse against Jewish citizens, while the proportion of Muslim respondents who witnessed aggression against Jews among their acquaintances, either verbally or physically, was 30 and 25 percent, respectively.  It can also be stated that 11 percent of European respondents experienced the threat of violence against Jews in their immediate vicinity. The proportion of those who perceived the possibility of physical aggression against Jewish citizens is highest in Luxembourg (20 percent), the Netherlands (16 percent) and Cyprus (15 percent), while it is the lowest in Hungary (5 percent). Regarding differences in religious affiliation, Muslim respondents experienced twice as many (22 percent) threats of violence against Jews among their acquaintances or environment as Christian respondents (10 percent).

It is easy to see that anti-Semitic manifestations and any kind of insult against Jews have an impact on the sense of security of Jewish people. According to the survey, 24 percent of EU and British respondents agree with the statement that they do not or would not feel safe as a Jew. Examining the differences between countries,

it can be observed that in countries that are more affected by Muslim-based migration, the proportion of those who do not or would not feel safe as a Jew is higher.

Forty-three percent of Dutch, 39 percent of Swedish and 32 percent of Belgian respondents believed that it was not or would not be safe to live in their country as a Jew. At the same time, Hungary (68 percent) and Croatia (62 percent) have the highest proportion of those who feel or would feel safe as a Jew.

Századvég, Project Europe

The research also covered the populations’ experiences of discrimination against Jews. It can be stated that 25 percent of European respondents believe that a distinction is made between Jewish and non-Jewish people, while 54 percent say that one should not talk about discrimination against Jewish people.

Századvég, Project Europe

The proportion of those who believe that a distinction is made between Jews and non-Jews is highest in Belgium (38 percent), Norway (38 percent) and Cyprus (33 percent), while this proportion is the lowest in Slovakia (15 percent), the Czech Republic and Finland (15 percent respectively).

In Hungary, almost two-third of respondents (63 percent) say that there is no distinction between Jewish and non-Jewish citizens.

Examining the issue in terms of religious affiliation, the proportion of Muslim respondents who perceive discrimination against Jewish people is higher (35 percent) than that of Christian respondents (26 percent).


The Project Europe research

In the first half of 2016, the Századvég Foundation conducted a public opinion poll survey covering all 28 European Union Member States, with the aim to analyse the opinions of EU citizens regarding the issues that most affect the future of the EU. In a unique way, Project28 conducted the widest possible survey of 1,000, that is a total of 28,000 randomly selected adults in each country. Gaining an understanding of society’s sense of prosperity and mapping the population’s attitudes towards the performance of the European Union, the migration crisis and the increasing terrorism were among the most important goals of the analysis. The Századvég Foundation, on behalf of the Hungarian Government, conducted the research again in 2017, 2018 and 2019, which continued to reflect on the topics that most determined the European political and social discourse.

In 2020, the survey, now called the Project Europe, will continue, with the aim of mapping the population’s attitude towards the most important public issues affecting our continent. In addition to society’s sense of prosperity, the performance of the European Union and the attitudes towards the migration crisis, in line with the latest challenges affecting Europe, the dominant theme of this year’s poll is the coronavirus pandemic, climate change and anti-Semitism. In addition to the European Union Member States, the 2020 research covered the United Kingdom, Norway and Switzerland, interviewing a total of 30,000 randomly selected adults using the CATI method.

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