A survey that showed a high fear of anti-Semitism among Hungarian Jews used flawed polling, officials are now saying.
A study published early this month by the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency reported 90 percent of 517 Jewish-Hungarian respondents said anti-Semitism was either a “fairly big problem” or a “very big problem.” This figure dwarfed the 66 percent average for the same question across the whole of European Jewry.
The study also showed 48 percent of Hungarian Jews has considered emigrating due to anti-Semitism. In Britain that figure was just 18 percent.
Now, the head of the Hungarian delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance is calling into question the accuracy of the study’s figures, arguing that the poll took place in 2012 and failed to take into account recent steps by the Hungarian government to combat anti-Semitism.
“Having reconsidered the seriousness of the situation, the Hungarian government has since brought several important decisions designed to monitor and combat anti-Semitic phenomena,” said Gergely Prohle.
Likewise, Prohle quoted the FRA’s own statement on the fallibility of its polling methods: “This methodology is unable to deliver a random probability sample fulfilling the statistical criteria for representativeness,” and “the chosen survey mode is likely to have excluded some eligible members of the target population.”
Hungary has an estimated 100,000-strong Jewish population. But the recent rise of the far-right Jobbik party, which has notoriously anti-Semitic leanings, has raised alarm among many European Jewish officials.
“Members of our community already for a long time are aware of the existence and of the increase of anti-Semitism in Hungary,” Gyorgy Gador, the head of the Pava synagogue community, told the Nepszabadsag daily last week.
“Many [Jews] left in recent years abroad, not only for existential-economic reason, but because of their uncomfortable political feeling here, at home.”