|The World Jewish Congress (WJC) is calling for an increased focus on education about the Jewish contribution to Europe and the history of the Holocaust, following the publication of a special Eurobarometer report , which found that 1 in 4 Europeans do not see anti-Semitism as a problem.
The report measures perceptions of anti-Semitism by citizens of all twenty-eight European Union member states by asking a set of questions regarding manifestations of anti-Semitism, education and awareness.
It found that only that 50% of Europeans consider anti-Semitism to be a problem in their own countries.
This contrasts with the findings of a recent survey conducted by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency, which found that 85% of Jews in in 12 member states do consider anti-Semitism to be a serious problem.
Another of the report’s findings is the fact that low awareness of anti-Semitism is linked to lower levels of education. Awareness is also higher among those who have Jewish friends or acquaintances.
Strikingly 68% of Europeans feel ill-informed about Jewish history, customs and practices while more than half (53%) believe Holocaust denial to be a problem.
WJC CEO Robert Singer said that having spent decades involved in promoting Jewish education on an international level, and working in international diplomacy in various realms, it is clear to him that a renewed emphasis needs to be placed on education about Jewish history and the Holocaust.
“While the EU and its member states have indeed taken important steps in protecting their Jewish communities, it must be emphasised that without education, broader European society risks overlooking the poison of anti-Semitism which lingers in so many areas of public life.
“We will continue to work together with the EU and member states for the practical implementation of the recent declaration of the Council of the EU on the fight against anti-Semitism.”
The WJC is itself placing a greater emphasis on education. In November 2018 the organisation oversaw the launch of an educational website – ‘Facts about the Holocaust’ – in partnership with UNESCO, which aims to reach students and young people across the world in dozens of languages, including Arabic and Farsi.
Read more about this issue in The Algemeiner’s article on the report here.