50% of Swiss Jews Faced Anti-Semitic Abuse in Past Five Years – Study

Switzerland Anti-Semitic Abuse
A Swiss flag is pictured during the sunrise on the Commercial and Financial District in Geneva, Switzerland, November 23, 2017 (Photo: REUTERS/DENIS BALIBOUSE)

A recent study by the Zurich University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland, where approximately 18,000 Jews live, revealed that of the 500 Swiss Jews that were questioned, half reported having been targeted with antisemitic abuse in the past five years, according to the Algemeiner.

Prof. Dirk Baier, director of the survey, told the Berner Oberlander that the antisemitism “obviously comes from the middle of society,” referring to middle-class citizens. These are in contrast to residents of Western European countries, where it is those who live in poverty and who immigrated to such countries that hold biases against Jews, Baier claims. He says that attacks in such countries are often motivated by extremist views.

Baier said that the results did not surprise him, following the government survey which revealed that one in 10 residents of the country held negative views of Jews.

“There is an ‘everyday antisemitism’ in Switzerland,” said Dominic Pugatsch, head of the GRA Foundation against Racism and Antisemitism, whose research supported the survey’s conclusions. “Verbal harassment is unfortunately widespread on the street, at work or at school.”

Animosities like those directed at Jews are also directed at other minorities, Baier explained. “If you asked 500 black people in Switzerland about their experiences, you’d probably get responses similar to those of the Jewish community now,” he said.

The survey showed that Jews were most commonly attacked with verbal threats and insults in workplaces, schools and public areas. Other survey responders – 6% of them – said that they had experienced antisemitism in targeted vandalism of their properties, while 3.5% had been targets of physical violence.

One of the people who participated in the survey said that, out of fear of being targeted with antisemitism, he does not wear his kippah in public. When he had done so in the past, passersby had shouted antisemitic comments at him, such as “Heil Hitler.”

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