Irish Jews are ‘not overly concerned’ over anti-semitism

Irish Jews have said they are not overly concerned about safety despite rising fears of anti-semitic violence across Europe.

Maurice Cohen, Chairman of the Jewish Representative Council told The Irish Catholic that while it should be “obvious to anyone observing events in the last number of weeks that there has been an increase in concerns in Jewish communities throughout Europe, Irish ones in particular haven’t seen any increase in anti-semitism currently.”

He said that while members of the Irish Jewish community are “always reviewing security issues”,  there are no specific concerns at the moment.

Ireland has seen sporadic anti-semitic violence in the past. 

The synagogue in Dublin has been attacked and most recently, Belfast’s synagogue was attacked on two occasions last July when windows were broken.

Mr Cohen’s comments come in response to heightened fears especially in Britain and France, home to the world’s third largest Jewish population. 

The 6,658 Jews who left France for Israel in 2014 were more than twice the number who left in 2013 and comprised that year’s single largest exodus to Israel of any country in the world.

An Irish study published 2011 by Jesuit priest and sociologist Fr Micheál Mac Gréil, based on ESRI statistics, showed that “anti-semitic sentiment was strongest in the 18-25 age range, with 46% claiming that they would not be willing to accept a Jewish person into their family”.

In Britain, a YouGov poll has found that 45% of Britons hold anti-semitic views, with a poll conducted by the Campaign Against Anti-semitism revealing that over half of Britain’s Jews fear they have no future in Britain, with one in four having considered leaving the country.

Speaking on BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme, former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks said he had never known such a high level of concern among British Jews, many of whom, he said, fear for their safety when they go to synagogues or the shops, and have begun to wonder whether they need protection as they go about their daily lives.