Authors of a study on anti-Semitic incidents in Europe reached a number of conclusions that confirm the fears of conservative skeptics of Muslim immigration and also question the liberal narrative that right-wing natives are behind the increase of attacks on European Jews.
Commissioned by the University of Oslo’s Center for Research on Extremism and the Center for Studies of Holocaust and Religious Minorities, the authors examined the perpetrators of anti-Semitic violence in contemporary Europe. Specifically, the study looked at data from seven countries, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Russia. The UK had the lowest number of attacks, while France the highest. Since 2000, worldwide violence against Jews has increased dramatically.
“Available data on perpetrators suggest that individuals of Muslim background stand out among perpetrators of antisemitic violence in Western Europe,” the authors wrote. They also added that this data supports the notion that “antisemitic attitudes are far more widespread among Muslims than among the general population in Western Europe.”
The exception to this conclusion was Russia, “where right-wing extremist offenders dominate.” Russia still had a “very low number of incidents,” despite having a “relatively large Jewish population.” Russia was also one of the only nations in the study that did not accept a large number of refugees during the European migrant crisis.
When victims of violence were asked who the perpetrators were, those living in France, Germany, Sweden, and the UK all overwhelmingly responded that “someone with a Muslim-extremist view” were behind the incident. In all four countries but Germany, individuals with “a right-wing view” (who the study’s authors say “are often associated with antisemitism”) were the clear minority by a significant margin. With the exception of Germany, leftists were the second highest perpetrators. In Sweden, leftists constituted 25 percent of all the violence against Jews.
Even in cases where proponents of right-wing positions were blamed by local governments in Sweden for acts of vandalism or violence, the authors write, one shouldn’t necessarily trust these numbers.
“The use of the swastika and similar symbols does not necessarily mean that the perpetrators is a “classic” right-wing extremist.” Many individuals who use these classic symbols of hate are Arabs, motivated by the Israel-Palestine conflict. While many anti-Semites use conflicts in the Middle East as a foil for their hatred of Jews, the authors point out that increased attacks are not necessarily correlated with flare ups in the region, nor with the actions of the Israeli government — delegitimizing the common left-wing talking point that Israel is the cause of tensions between Jews and Muslims in Europe.
In short, this latest study should give pause to those who believe Muslim-European integration is going smoothly. Not only are anti-Semitic incidents on the rise — and directly correlated with rising Muslim populations in Western Europe — but many individuals in the mainstream press seem unwilling to discuss the culprits.
Instead, cable news stations and newspapers discuss the so-called “disturbing” increase of populist or nationalist political movements and parties while making outrageous comparisons to the social climate of the 1930s and 1940s. Unfortunately for those behind these irresponsible talking points, the facts don’t make the rhetoric. While right-wing extremism should be routinely condemned, we shouldn’t ignore the real threats against Europe’s most vulnerable population just because it’s politically inconvenient.