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Devising Unified Criteria and Methods of Monitoring Anti-Semitism

Filed under: Antisemitism

Jewish Political Studies Review 21:1-2 (Spring 2009)

Michael Whine

Awareness of the increase in racist and anti-Semitic violence has led the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the European Union (EU) to settle agreements to monitor and combat the phenomenon. A European working definition of anti-Semitism and another on all forms of hate crimes will assist states to devise unified criteria for inclusion in their monitoring. Some governments, however, are failing to abide by the agreements into which they have entered to monitor such crime, including anti-Semitism. This paper examines these agreements, the reports that are published on combating anti-Semitism, and the reasons why the fifty-six governments concerned (OSCE membership overlaps with that of the EU, but also includes the U.S., Canada, and the former Soviet Union) are falling short in fulfilling their obligations. It notes the valuable work of NGOs, which are increasingly encouraged to provide data and expertise in monitoring, and concludes with an examination of the UK model, which is cited as fulfilling all the requirements, as well as the work of the Community Security Trust (CST). It ends with a call for consistent and objective reporting at the government and Jewish community levels.

The Need for Unified Criteria and Methodology

Since the 1980s, Jewish community groups in Europe have been monitoring anti-Semitic incidents. In most cases this is because police and other criminal justice agencies have failed to do so, and because they wished to draw public attention to the mounting violence against their communities. Two academic institutes, the Stephen Roth Institute at Tel Aviv University and the Center for Research on Anti-Semitism at the Technical University of Berlin, have also monitored incidents and trends. Jewish community groups and some independent academic contributors have been sending their reports to the Stephen Roth Institute since 1994 for inclusion in its annual report, “Antisemitism Worldwide.”

Broad incident classifications have been agreed on over this period. However, they are of a somewhat loose and non-technical nature, bearing only a vague resemblance to the crime and incident classifications recognized by criminal justice agencies.

It was the dramatic rise in anti-Semitism worldwide during the late 1990s that forced the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the EU to confront the problem, each in its own way, and eventually to encourage monitoring by national criminal justice agencies. The rationale behind this was that the problem is increasingly trans-national and therefore requires a “joined-up,” Europe-wide approach to understand and defeat it.

Jewish defense and advocacy organizations can therefore no longer rely on simply publicizing details of anti-Semitic incidents, as in the past, in order to galvanize criminal justice agencies to take action. The rise in racist violence in Europe, particularly the increase in anti-Semitism, requires those Jewish organizations that monitor anti-Semitism to adopt unified criteria and methodology for measurement and analysis if they are to effectively educate their communities and their leadership, to alert governments and international agencies and persuade them to take further, effective action. The information that Jewish bodies gather and record has to be delivered and quantified in a form that will now be acceptable to and useable by governments and political and law enforcement agencies if they are expected to take counter action.

Governments and the relevant intergovernmental agencies now accept that anti-Semitism and violence against Jewish communities has increased since the start of the twenty-first century. The murder of Ilan Halimi in February 2006 in Paris, the torching of synagogues in France and the UK, the continuous cemetery and synagogue desecrations, and the rash of anti-Jewish graffiti throughout Europe, North America, and the former Soviet Union have finally roused governments to take action. These bodies have also begun to understand that anti-Semitism now originates from new and different sources, at least in Western Europe and North America. The threat no longer comes from malign states, as it did in the 1930s and 1940s (though Iran and possibly Venezuela might be exceptions), but from sub-state actors such as campaigning Islamist, leftist, and far right groups who pose a challenge to social cohesion and the security of states. The overspill of tensions between Israel and its neighbors has also fed the growth of anti-Jewish discourse, which sometimes spuriously seeks to represent itself as legitimate criticism of Israel.

The increase in racist violence in Europe led the European Commission to establish the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) in 1997. This body was intended to act as an “observatory,” monitoring and reporting on the phenomenon to the Commission via the RAXEN network of National Focal Points established for the purpose. These were primarily government agencies or government-linked commissions, although a few were independent academic institutions. The 2004 OSCE Berlin Declaration, and the OSCE Permanent Council meeting that preceded it, mandated the regional security agency to likewise establish a monitoring mechanism.

In 2003, “The Manifestations of Antisemitism in the EU 2002-2003” report by the EUMC noted that:

The basic premise for a valid monitoring and analysis of a phenomenon is an adequate definition; and the basic premise for comparability is the common use of such an adequate definition within a country, or even better within the EU (as our main reference area). The country-by-country evaluation has shown explicitly that in general neither is the case. Only very few institutions seem to work with an adequate definition of anti-Semitism, while others do not make their definition explicit. Furthermore, if we look at the reports of the National Focal Points, only nine of the fifteen National Focal Points base their evaluation on an explicit definition of anti-Semitism, and of these nine none use the same.[1]

For these reasons, in 2004 the EUMC, since renamed the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), invited Jewish bodies to assist it in formulating a “Working Definition of Antisemitism” (hereafter Working Definition) for use by the RAXEN network and criminal justice agencies. These had reported their confusion at the plethora of definitions available, and the difficulty in differentiating between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.[2]

The Working Definition is not intended to provide a basis for legislation but rather to be used as a template by government and non-government investigators and monitors. Anti-Semitic incidents and crimes are rightly seen as a subset of racist criminality, but one with particular and singular attributes.

Put simply, the definition must be understood by a policeman on patrol, who can use it as the basis for determining if a racist criminal act has anti-Jewish motivation. He must be able to differentiate between legitimate criticism of the State of Israel’s actions and anti-Zionism used as a cloak for anti-Semitism. The EUMC report additionally recommended that the RAXEN network use the CST guidelines for recording anti-Semitic incidents.

It is the task of Jewish organizations to ensure that governments take on the responsibility of monitoring and publishing the data that they collect, in accordance with the agreements they have signed. It is also their duty to ensure that Jewish communities are capable of understanding as well as monitoring anti-Semitism effectively in order to quantify and assess the threat and to combat it.

In reality, some states monitor anti-Semitism inadequately despite their formal commitment to doing so. Their failure may be due, in part, to the lack of a specific mandate in their penal code, or because they lack the necessary understanding or capacities. This paper briefly examines the work of the international agencies in this field, the problems and deficiencies they encounter, and then the work of the CST, in the UK, as a model of best practice.

International Agencies Monitoring Hate Crimes and Anti-Semitism

The FRA, established in February 2007, is a body of the EU. It succeeded the EUMC and carries out its tasks independently, though it works closely with other European institutions, including the forty-seven-member-state Council of Europe (CoE), founded in 1949 to develop common democratic principles based on the European Convention on Human Rights. The CoE component parts include the Committee of (Foreign) Ministers, Parliamentary Assembly, and a Congress of local and regional authorities. The FRA is required to provide the relevant institutions and authorities of the European Community and its member states with assistance and expertise relating to fundamental rights when implementing Community law.

According to the latest FRA report, only eleven EU states collect sufficient data on racist crime to conduct any sort of trend analysis. They are Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden, and the UK. The majority of these – Austria, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Ireland, Slovakia, and the UK – experienced a general increase in recorded racist crime between 2000 and 2006.

Of these eight, only four – France, Germany, Sweden, and the UK – collect sufficient data on anti-Semitic crime to conduct any sort of analysis. Of these, three – France, Sweden, and the UK – experienced an increase in recorded racist crime between 2001 and 2006.[3]

It should be noted that there are various reasons for states’ inabilities to collect data, despite their having agreed to do so at the OSCE 2003 Ministerial Meeting in Maastricht, the Netherlands. For some the reason is a lack of capacity, or training; for others it is because they have not yet amended their penal codes to allow the collection of such data. For yet others the data collected remains within the category of “restricted,” often gathered by internal security and intelligence agencies as part of their surveillance of extremist political activity and therefore not published.

However the data deficit is shortly to be addressed. The Finnish Chairmanship of the OSCE convened a meeting in Helsinki in September 2008 for states’ National Points of Contact (the government agencies or departments which collect and remit hate crime and other data on behalf of their governments). A subsequent smaller meeting at ODIHR in November 2008 rewrote the questionnaire sent to National Points of Contact in a more comprehensive and easily understandable form. Training in the investigation of hate crimes and compiling the required data is to be offered to those states which require help, and the ODIHR website, which publishes states’ existing hate crime legislation, is to be updated so that others may draw on successful past experiences. The process is also to be discussed with the FRA to ensure consistency between the two data collection agencies.

Jewish communities’ own data, published in the Stephen Roth Institute’s “Antisemitism Worldwide” report, and by the Israel government’s Coordination Forum, however, clearly show that the intergovernmental agencies have hitherto presented a somewhat incomplete picture.[4] The implications of the data deficit at official levels are obvious. The FRA Report concludes that EU states with limited official reporting or no official reporting on racist crime “are not in the best position to develop evidence-based policy responses to this problem.”[5]

The FRA notes that most racist incidents are not reported to the police, or, if they are, they do not go on to be prosecuted. It notes that data collection mechanisms should encourage public reporting and should have in place a system for comprehensive and accurate recording at each stage of the criminal justice system in order to assist policy development.

Differences in collection methodology mean, however, that direct comparisons of absolute criminal justice data on racist crime cannot be made between EU member states.

Without good data about the extent and nature of racist crime, a Member State cannot accurately address the problem, and cannot state with any certainty whether racist crime is getting worse or better over time. Also the effectiveness of criminal justice and crime prevention responses to racist crime cannot be measured if data is only available on a few court cases.[6]

Large fluctuations in recorded crime can reflect a number of factors alongside the problem of racism itself. These include changes in the public’s willingness to report crime, as well as changes in the system for recording crime.

States which have amended their systems, and which report low absolute figures, such as Ireland and Denmark, have shown greater percentage increases and decreases from one year to the next than countries with much higher absolute figures, such as Germany and the UK.

The FRA now also publishes an annual “Summary Overview of Antisemitism in the EU.” The latest report, published in January 2008, makese the same points, but adds that complementary problems to under-reporting are misreporting and over-reporting. It suggests that this could be the consequence of unofficial data collection carried out by organizations that do not provide information concerning their methodologies.[7] In order to improve the FRA’s understanding and capacity for monitoring and analyzing anti-Semitism, senior FRA staff visited Israel in early 2008 and met representatives of relevant Israeli institutions, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Yad Vashem.

The second agency for data collection on hate crime and anti-Semitism is the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). The OSCE is the world’s largest regional security organization. It was established as a consequence of the Helsinki Accords which were designed to reduce east-west tension, and has incorporated a substantial human rights initiative known as the Tolerance and Non-Discrimination Programme. This program collects and distributes information and statistics on hate crimes in the fifty-six member states; promotes best practices; disseminates advice on fighting intolerance and discrimination; and provides assistance to participating states in drafting and reviewing legislation on crimes fuelled by intolerance and discrimination.

The OSCE incorporates twice as many states as the twenty-seven of the EU, including the former Warsaw Pact states as well as those of NATO. It relies for its information on states’ National Points of Contact, usually the Ministries of Justice or equivalent, rather than the FRA’s RAXEN network of National Focal Points. These may be the former, but are also sometimes academic institutions with close links to government. The FRA and ODIHR work from essentially the same data, and both also encourage sources beyond official providers of data, such as specialized NGOs and recognized victim groups – for example, Jewish community groups.

The 2007 ODIHR “Report on Hate Crimes in the OSCE Region” made a similar criticism to that of the FRA: it noted that states use different approaches to what constitutes hate crime despite the fact that a broad definition was agreed upon at the 2003 Maastricht Ministerial Council Meeting. This meeting called on states to collect and keep reliable information and statistics on hate crime, including on racism and anti-Semitism. It tasked ODIHR, in full cooperation with the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (ECRI), and the EUMC, as well as relevant NGOs, with serving as a collection point for information and statistics and reporting regularly, with the purpose of promoting best practice and determining future action.[8] The following year, the Ministerial Council agreed that states must collect and maintain reliable information and statistics about anti-Semitic crimes, and make the information available to the public.[9]

The decisions propelled ODIHR itself to conceptualize hate crime and refine its definition in order to carry out this task, while taking into account the diversity of member states’ approaches. Their two-part Working Definition defines a hate crime as:

  • a. Any criminal offence, including offences against persons or property, where the victim, premises, or target of the offence are selected because of their real or perceived connection, attachment, affiliation, support, or membership with a group as defined in part B.
  • b. A group may be based upon a characteristic common to its members, such as real or perceived race, national, or ethnic origin, language, color, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or other similar factor.[10]

ODIHR made a second criticism, also voiced by the FRA. Despite repeated commitments in decisions of the Ministerial Council in 2005, 2006, and 2007 requiring OSCE-participating states to strengthen their collection of hate crime statistics and information, in many OSCE states there remains a lack of publicly available and comprehensive statistics, disaggregated according to bias motivation, offense type, and the outcome of reported hate crimes, such as prosecutions and sentencing. In the absence of such data, it is impossible to determine the frequency with which hate crimes occur in the OSCE region, and generally whether hate crimes are on the rise, as well as which groups are most vulnerable to attack.[11] ODIHR cites the FRA reports to emphasize that only the previously mentioned states provide any data capable of analyzing trends. Seven obstacles are seen to limit the overall collection of data for the region:

1. A lack of legislation defining violent hate crimes as an aggravating factor or as separate offenses. Currently, nineteen out of fifty-six states lack any legislation clearly defining hate crime. If hate crime is registered in general crime statistics it is generally impossible to extract those with a bias motivation.

2. Lack of a central focal point for data collection. The absence of a national reporting center hinders the production of national statistics, even if there is localized reporting.

3. Failure to record and classify the hate element of crimes. Only if the first responders to crime, the police, are given adequate training and provided with classification systems can they properly record hate crimes.

4. Under-reporting. Vulnerable groups typically fail to report crime, and especially hate crime. In the case of anti-Semitic crime, the CST has found that Holocaust survivors in the Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) communities in London and Manchester have an innate distrust of the police, for obvious historical reasons (other NGOs elsewhere have found the same issues in dealing with Roma and Sinti victims). This is an issue that the CST has worked hard to overcome, but it generally requires central and consistent efforts to persuade disengaged, marginalized, or migrant groups to voluntarily interact with the police.

5. Lack of funds and expertise for the purpose of establishing a monitoring and registration system. EU and OSCE states have not found it politically important enough to invest in data collection, despite having signed agreements to do so.

6. Lack of disaggregated data. Without disaggregated data it is not possible to monitor vulnerable groups adequately. Only the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), French police, UK police (since April 2008), and some Canadian police forces do this adequately.

7. Absence of a comprehensive data collection system. Even where hate crimes are registered, hate incidents with low levels of violence are often not reported to official channels and are therefore rarely recorded. The UK registers incidents as well as crimes; the FBI includes vandalism as well as physical attacks; and many NGOs report a much wider variety of hate incidents.[12]

The ODIHR report provides substantial extra details from specialized NGOs, including quantitative and qualitative information from Jewish bodies. This enables it to devote considerable attention to anti-Semitism. Like the FRA, it notes that Austria, Germany, and the Czech Republic collect data on criminal offenses categorized as anti-Semitic as part of their overall monitoring of neo-Nazi activity. Belgium and the Netherlands focus on complaints filed by specialized anti-discrimination bodies. Information in other states, notably the UK, France, Russia, and Canada is also provided by authoritative specialized and community-based NGOs.[13]

The work of ODIHR has been augmented by the reports of Professor Gert Weisskirchen MdB, the personal representative of the OSCE chairman-in-office on combating anti-Semitism. He has published an annual report on his goals and activities, the latter of which include coordination, engaging with, and advising political leaders.

A third international source of data is provided by the U.S. Department of State, relying in part on information provided by embassies, but also on the reports published by the FRA and ODIHR, together with input from Jewish communities that have the capacity to gather their own information.[14] The mandate derives from the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004 which requires the Department of State to document and combat acts of anti-Semitism globally. The Act mandated a one-time report which was submitted to the U.S. Congress in January 2005. It also established an Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, a position currently held by Dr. Gregg Rickman.

However it does not examine anti-Semitism in the U.S. itself. For this information, at the official level, it is necessary to examine the data provided by the FBI, under the terms of the April 1990 Hate Crime Statistics Act. Consistency of reporting is assured as a consequence of the Uniform Crime Reporting Program, but the requirement to report is not mandatory, and therefore, since some states fail to provide statistics, the reporting is incomplete.[15]

Another report is the annual “Report on International Religious Freedom,” which notes particularly severe cases of anti-Semitism on a country-by-country basis, but which generally focuses on the freedom to practice the major religions within states.[16] The final source is the Israeli government’s Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism, which is compiled in the same manner as the U.S. Government report.[17]

International NGO Reporting

The only international human rights NGO to investigate the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe with any degree of perception and rigor is Human Rights First (HRF), formerly the Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights. Like other groups, it also examines other forms of hate crime, including violence against Muslims, against migrants, and based on disability and sexual orientation. Its “Hate Crime Report Card” reviews the implementation of commitments undertaken by OSCE states, and follows its 2007 “Hate Crime Survey.” Like the FRA and OSCE reports, it concludes that only thirteen out of twenty-seven EU states and fifteen out of fifty-six OSCE states are fulfilling their commitments in respect to hate crime monitoring. None of the countries of Southeastern Europe or the former Soviet Union do so as yet.

In addition to the conclusions reached by the FRA and OSCE, this organization made the point that while police forces traditionally make data collection and systematization a high priority, hate crimes fall outside their frame of reference even when they have acknowledged their seriousness. However, NGO reporting in such cases can provide the baseline against which to assess the gaps in official information, but that is no substitute for official action.[18]

With regard to anti-Semitism, it notes that Jewish bodies in the UK, France, Belgium, Canada, and the U.S. fill the gap left in official data collection, as does the non-Jewish SOVA Center in Russia.[19] Its “Country Addendum” examines the quality of information available in each of the OSCE states.[20]

The HRF 2008 “Hate Crime Survey” contained a substantial section on anti-Semitism, as in previous years. This was extracted and published separately as “Antisemitic Violence 2008.”[21] It made important additional comments to those above: it noted that too many states are failing to keep pace with the growth of anti-Semitic and other forms of racist violence; that reported crimes are only the tip of the iceberg; and that states’ responses are inadequate. To make the claim with specificity, the survey examined two critical elements of an effective government strategy: 1) official monitoring, data collection, and public reporting; and 2) legislation and its implementation. To address the data deficit from governments, it argued for increased training and support for civil society groups to enhance their capacity to monitor and advocate.

The need for additional training is well recognized by European states themselves and by the international agencies, as is encouragement for civil society groups. This need is being met in several ways. ODIHR convened an inter-government conference to discuss the data deficit, as well as an NGO preparatory meeting in Vienna in 2006. In the same year, Professor Weisskirchen convened an “Expert Meeting on Best Practices in Combating Antisemitism” in Berlin, which inter alia examined the need to address the data deficit.[22] In 2008 the OSCE Finnish chairmanship convened a meeting for National Focal Points in Helsinki.[23]

The ODIHR Law Enforcement Officer Programme is designed to assist police and criminal justice agency representatives to investigate and monitor hate crimes; the examination of anti-Semitic crimes constitutes a notable part of the program. Although it suffered from funding problems during 2008, it nevertheless continues, on a diminished basis. The program is centered on the realization that police officers constitute the first response to hate crime, and that their perception may determine the reaction of others within a criminal justice system. They therefore need to be trained to recognize perpetrators’ motivations and the characteristics of hate crime, and to engage and empathize with victims. They also need to understand the corrosive effects on society that hate crimes engender.[24]

The UK Model

The FRA and ODIHR reports identify only the UK as providing data on hate incidents as well as hate crimes. The UK also provides detailed information on the criminal prosecution of racial and religious hate crime offenses. Most states provide no information on hate crime prosecutions at all.

The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 defined racial aggravation, and created specific offenses of racially aggravated assault, criminal damage, public order, and harassment.[25] The Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000, subsequently amended in 2001, imposed a duty on the courts to treat evidence of racial aggravation as an aggravating feature and increased the seriousness of the offense and the sentence to be imposed in cases where the offenses are not specifically charged under the 1998 Act.[26] In turn, the 1998 Act was amended by the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001 to include specific offenses of religiously aggravated assault, criminal damage, public order, and harassment. The duty on the courts was extended to include evidence of religious aggravation as an aggravating feature.[27]

The 1998 Act also imposed an obligation on the Crown Prosecution Service to report on prosecution outcomes and decisions. This report is published as the annual “Racist Incident Monitoring System” report, which enables monitoring of racist crimes.[28]

Since April 2008, all UK police forces are bound to report all hate incidents and crimes, disaggregated by major faith group. Thus official reporting of anti-Semitic incidents will at last become truly accurate (until now only London and Manchester police forces have routinely reported anti-Semitic incidents and crimes). Therefore, from 2009, it will become theoretically possible to monitor anti-Semitic crime, prosecutions, and judicial outcomes in the first consistent national “joined up” system.

The UK also now seeks to address the data deficit, using the expertise developed by the police and CST in investigating and recording anti-Jewish attacks as a model of best practice. Among the main recommendations made in their 2006 report, the “All Party Parliamentary Group against Antisemitism” asked the Crown Prosecution Service to investigate the reasons for the low number of prosecutions for anti-Semitic crimes.[29] Following a year-long internal investigation, which included meetings with Jewish community representatives, the Crown Prosecution Service published a report which noted, inter alia, that 69 percent of recorded crimes motivated by anti-Semitism did not proceed because no suspect was identified; 34 percent of cases investigated resulted in no further action; of these, 58 percent could not proceed because victims were unwilling to support a prosecution.[30]

In other words, more than half the number of recorded anti-Semitic crimes could not be investigated because the culprits remained unidentified (for whatever reason), but the other half that could proceed were not taken to court because Jewish witnesses were unwilling to testify or otherwise assist the police or prosecution process. The Crown Prosecution Service therefore proposed to intensify training for police and prosecutors and to extend victim support services, both with the assistance of the CST.

Clearly there is a need for objective standards and accurate reporting. Collection programs must distinguish between incidents and crimes. Generally there is agreement on what these are across the national criminal justice systems, and it is an important distinction. Incidents have to be recorded and analyzed for the intelligence they provide, as well as for monitoring trends. This can also be important for the few Jewish defense agencies with sophisticated systems and a close working relationship with the police.

A series of anti-Semitic graffiti in a particular area might suggest the presence of an anti-Semitic individual or group, which could graduate to more serious activity. A series of anti-Jewish disturbances in a university might call for political initiatives by Jewish students, anti-racist groups, and even action by university authorities.

CST in Britain devised its recording methodology in 1984, although it subsequently modified its categories to bring them into line with the crime categories of the British criminal justice system so that it could better relate to the police. CST’s recording methodology is more rigorous than that of the police. In English law a hate incident or crime is recorded according to the victim or any other person’s perception. This is known as the Stephen Lawrence test, based on the criteria established by the Macpherson high level judicial commission in 1999.

CST classifies an anti-Semitic incident as any malicious act aimed at Jewish people, organizations, or property, only where there is evidence that the victim was targeted because they are (or are believed to be) Jewish. It does not include the general activities of anti-Semitic organizations, nor anti-Semitic material that is permanently hosted on Internet sites.

Incidents are reported to CST in a number of ways, most commonly by telephone, email, or mail. Incidents can be reported by the victim or someone acting on their behalf. The collection process also includes press monitoring and information passed on by the police. In 2001, the CST was accorded third-party reporting status, an officially sanctioned and promoted system that allows appointed groups to report and act as an intermediary between those unwilling or unable to report directly and the police.[31]

Not all anti-Semitic incidents are reported to CST, and therefore it under-reports. Non-reporting varies according to the category of incident, and whereas most assaults will be reported, instances of verbal abuse may not, even though serious cases might be deemed criminal behavior.

All cases reported are investigated thoroughly and rejected if no anti-Semitic motivation is found. In 2007 CST received 488 reports of potential incidents that were rejected for this reason. These represented 47 percent of the total number of incidents reported.[32]

English law on privacy and data protection, and the trusting relationship that CST has with members of the Jewish community, may also mean that it cannot publicize details of some incidents.


Anti-Semitic discourse and violence have increased, but it is obvious that the 1930s are not returning, and that the danger no longer comes from states. Indeed, many states are now committed to combating anti-Semitism and to monitoring its occurrence and publishing data thereon. However, and despite good intentions, many are failing to implement the agreements into which they have entered. It is also apparent that the danger now comes from new and different directions. Residual religious and political antipathy, racism, and the overspill of Middle East tension will ensure that anti-Semitism does not disappear in the near future.

The picture will be incomplete and impossible to analyze or adequately counter until central authorities collect and publish data routinely, consistently, and according to agreed and unified criteria. States’ failure to implement the agreements that they have entered into requires Jewish communities also to monitor anti-Semitism. We would do so anyway, but we can make Jewish and state agencies work better by doing so according to internationally agreed norms. It also provides greater leverage to be able to negotiate around shared data and perceptions.

The first requirement on both states and Jewish NGOs is, therefore, that of objectivity. The ODIHR working definition of hate crime and the EUMC definition of anti-Semitism now provide objective criteria on which to base measurements.

The second requirement is that of methodology and consistency. Governments and their criminal justice agencies have undertaken to collect data, but many fall short in doing so. The ODIHR training for law enforcement officers and a planned program to train prosecutors to bring hate crimes cases to court will help to rectify the problem, but they cannot succeed before relevant legislation is enacted by states. Many have yet to pass laws which recognize the concept of hate crime, or which allow the courts to enhance penalties for hate motivation on conviction in the absence of specific statutes.

The third requirement is that governments should heed the advice of the international agencies and incorporate into their data the information provided by civil society organizations focused on combating hate crime. They should be under no illusion that official systems are capable of gathering evidence from all victims.

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[1]. EUMC, “Manifestations of Antisemitism in the EU 2002-2003” (Vienna: EUMC, 2003).

[2]. EUMC, “Working Definition of Antisemitism,” WorkingDefinition-draft.pdf. The American Jewish Committee’s European Forum on Anti-Semitism has translated the Working Definition into all the languages of the European Union and these may be found at

[3]. European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), Annual Report 2008, 8,

[4]. Dina Porat and Roni Stauber, ed., “Antisemitism Worldwide” (Tel Aviv: The Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism, Tel Aviv University),; Israel Government, The Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism,

[5]. FRA, Annual Report 2008, 9.

[6]. FRA, Annual Report 2008, 32.

[7]. FRA, “Anti-Semitism – Summary Overview of the Situation in the European Union 2001-2007,” updated version, January 2008, 3.

[8]. OSCE, “Decision No 4/03 Tolerance and Non-Discrimination, Eleventh Meeting of the Ministerial Council,” December 2003, Maastricht,

[9]. OSCE, “Permanent Council Decision No 607 Combating Anti-Semitism,” Twelfth Meeting of the Ministerial Council, December 2004, Sofia,

[10]. OSCE ODIHR, “Combating Hate Crimes in the OSCE Region,” June 2005, Warsaw

[11]. OSCE ODIHR, “Hate Crimes in the OSCE Region: Incidents and Responses, Annual Report for 2007,” June 2008, Warsaw, 31,

[12]. Ibid., 53-55.

[13]. Ibid., 76-77.

[14]. U.S. Department of State, “Contemporary Global Anti-Semitism – A Report Provided to the United States Congress” (Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of State, 2008).

[15]. In 2006, 85.2 percent of the U.S. population was covered by the hate crime program. See “About Hate Crime Statistics,” 2006,

[16]. U.S. Department of State, “2007 Report on International Religious Freedom,” 2007,

[17]. Israel Government, The Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism,

[18]. Michael McClintock and Paul LeGendre, “Hate Crime Report Card 2007, Overview,” HRF, 4,

[19]. Ibid., 16.

[20]. Ibid., Country Overview.

[21]. Tad Stahnke, Paul LeGendre, Innokenty Grekov, Michael McClintock, and Alexis Aronowitz “Anti-Semitic Violence, 2008 Hate Crime Survey,” HRF, 2008,

[22]. OSCE, “Best Practices in Combating Antisemitism – Expert Meeting, German Delegation of the OSCE-PA,” Permanent Delegation of Belgium to the OSCE, 20-21 November 2006, Berlin, CIO.GAL/225/06, 18 December 2006.

[23]. OSCE ODIHR, “Tolerance Implementation Meeting: Addressing the Hate Crime Data Deficit,” 9-10 November 2006, Vienna,

[24]. OSCE, Law Enforcement Officer Programme,

[25]. UK Office of Public Sector Information, Crime and Disorder Act 1998,

[26]. UK Office of Public Sector Information, Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000,

[27]. UK Office of Public Sector Information, Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001,

[28]. Crown Prosecution Service, “Crown Prosecution Service Racist Incident Monitoring Annual Report,”

[29]. The Parliamentary Committee against Antisemitism, “Report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism,” September 2006,

[30]. Crown Prosecution Service Policy Directorate, “The Crown Prosecution Service Response to the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism,” 2008.

[31]. Community Security Trust, “Antisemitic Incidents Report 2007,”

[32]. Community Security Trust, “Definition of Antisemitic Incidents,”

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Michael Whine is Director of Government and International Affairs at the Community Security Trust and Director of the Defense and Group Relations Division of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. He represents the European Jewish Congress at the OSCE.