VIENNA: Disinformation and hatred against Jews has “flourished” online throughout Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, further aggravating a trend set in motion during the Covid-19 pandemic, an EU report said Thursday.
“The coronavirus pandemic and Russia’s aggression against Ukraine further fuelled” anti-Semitism, which “remains a serious problem in our societies,” said Michael O’Flaherty, director of the Vienna-based Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA).
A working group meeting in June had already highlighted “the risks of fake narratives” and disinformation stoking up anti-Semitism, as Russia justified its war by misusing “terms such as ‘Nazi’ and ‘genocide'” to describe the government in Ukraine.
In its annual report, which was compiled this July, the FRA said that “Jewish communities across Europe” have been “profoundly affected” by online hate and disinformation in the context of the Russian invasion and the outbreak.
The bloc’s rights agency reiterated that “recording of anti-Semitic incidents remains poor across Europe,” with data collection and classification varying in each country.
No official data on recorded anti-Semitic incidents was available from two EU member states, Hungary and Portugal, making it difficult to meaningfully compare the situation across the bloc.
In some countries, such as Austria and Finland, “most recorded incidents took place online”.
The European Commission had presented its first-ever strategy to combat anti-Semitism in October 2021.
Brussels is expected to publish reports on the implementation of its strategy in 2024 and 2029 respectively, also relying on FRA data regarding anti-Semitic incidents for their assessment.