Insights from the dashboard: Tracking the shift in Europe’s discourse on antisemitism post-October 2023
The EARS dashboard offers insights into the evolving discourse on antisemitism in Europe following Hamas’ attack on Israel on 7 October 2023. Learn more in today’s article.
Using the EARS dashboard, we explore how Europe is responding to the issue of antisemitism, particularly in the aftermath of Hamas’ attack on Israel on 7 October 2023.
The dashboard is a collection of summaries from European media articles on religion and society. During the two-month period from 27 August to 26 October 2023, it produced 62 summaries on the topic of antisemitism out of a total of 605. Through the dashboard, we were able to discover a number of insights into how this topic has appeared in Europe and how this has been reported in the news.
Media coverage of antisemitism in Europe
Media coverage of antisemitism in Europe has seen a discernible rise since the beginning of October 2023 (see figure below). While earlier reports focused on antisemitism within Europe, there was a significant shift in coverage, with more stories discussing antisemitism in relation to Israel. Before 7 October 2023, only one article addressed the issue concerning Israel. In contrast, since that date and up to 26 October 2023, 13 articles — a third of the total media coverage — have addressed Israel.
For example, an article from 18 October 2023 highlighted the European Parliament’s reaction to the conflict, noting support for Israel from key figures like Ursula von der Leyen, who emphasised Israel’s right to self-defence, and other members who condemned Hamas’ actions, acknowledging the concerning rise in antisemitic sentiments. Additionally, a media report dated 7 October 2023 discussed the immediate strengthening of security around Jewish and Israeli establishments in Germany and France post-attack, reflecting the urgency and gravity of the situation regionally.
These articles reveal a clear change starting in October 2023: media coverage about antisemitism began to pay more attention to events beyond Europe’s borders, especially those involving Israel. Before this shift, Europe’s focus was primarily on dealing with antisemitism within its own communities. However, after the tensions escalated between Israel and Hamas, Europe started to address antisemitism in a broader context, not just locally but globally.
Unsurprisingly, media coverage since October 2023 has increasingly cited Hamas (see figure below), such as the report mentioning that there were over a hundred antisemitic incidents in France, all occurring after the Hamas attack.
This spike in attention to antisemitism came on the heels of media reports from September 2023 on the role of Pope Pius XII during World War II (see figure above). These reports revealed that Pope Pius XII was informed of the Holocaust, including details of extermination camps like Auschwitz and Belzec, as early as 1942, according to a letter from a German Jesuit found in Vatican archives.  This discovery challenges the Vatican’s previous assertions that the pope only had unverified information, raising questions about his silence during the war. It also adds historical depth to the issue, highlighting Europe’s past struggles with antisemitism and the Catholic Church’s role. This context is pivotal as Europe confronts a resurgence of antisemitic sentiment, reflecting on its history to inform its response to current events involving Israel.
Media coverage has also increasingly highlighted concerns over racism and political instability (see figure below), such as the European Parliament’s statements about the current rise of antisemitism in Europe as well as how political violence was being supported on social media and other public forums.
Keyword analysis: antisemitism
The EARS dashboard shows an interplay of the keywords conflict, tension, cultural wars, leadership, and religious institutions in the context of antisemitism (see figure below).
This intersection only underscores the critical shift in the European discourse on antisemitism, marked by a deeper engagement with global tensions.
Keywords like conflict, tension, and cultural wars point to Europe grappling with broader geopolitical issues, particularly those involving Hamas and Israel. This shift also underscores a reactive stance in European leadership, characterised by immediate security measures and rapid commentary on international incidents.
Moreover, religious institutions are now pivotal in this complex dialogue, navigating between calming tensions and addressing aggression. This is, for example, evidenced by the World Jewish Congress’s appeal to Pope Francis on 19 October 2023, requesting his moral intervention in the hostage crisis in Gaza perpetrated by Hamas.
The EARS dashboard signals that Europe’s discourse on antisemitism is no longer an internal dialogue but part of a larger, global discourse, requiring international responses from both political and religious actors.
Learn more on the EARS dashboard
The EARS dashboard allows you to gain insight into a large number of topics, including antisemitism. It is a free tool that allows you to make connections like those described above, and to find out about relationships between interesting subjects across Europe. Please visit the dashboard to learn more.