ADL Survey in Five European Countries Finds Anti-Semitic Attitudes Rising
Strong Support For Sanctions Against Iran;
Opposition To Aid To Palestinians With Hamas In Government
Jerusalem, Israel, May 14, 2007
A large number of Europeans continue to be infected with anti-Jewish attitudes, holding on to the classical anti-Semitic canards and conspiracy theories that have dogged Jews through the centuries, according to a new poll released by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today.
A survey of five European countries revealed that a plurality of Europeans believe Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their country and that they have too much power in business and finance. The opinion survey of 2,714 adults slightly more than 500 in each of the five countries found an increase in negative attitudes toward Jews, or in some instances no change, from its 2005 findings.
As to attitudes regarding Israel and the Middle East, the poll showed mixed findings. For example, sympathy for the Palestinians over Israel continue but strong attitudes against Iran and Hamas were evidenced.
Asked about Iran's nuclear development, a majority believe Iran is developing a nuclear weapon and strongly support sanctions against Iran.
A majority identified Hamas as a terrorist organization and supports the European decision not to provide foreign aid to the Palestinian government until Hamas renounces terrorism, and agrees to recognize Israel and agreements signed by Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Attitudes Toward Jews and the Middle East in Five European Countries is a survey of France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Poland, conducted March 21April 16, 2007 among the general public.
Respondents across the continent were asked a series of indicator questions representing the most pernicious notions of anti-Semitism and whether or not they thought the following four statements were "probably true" or "probably false."
- Jews are more loyal to Israel than to this country.
- Jews have too much power in the business world.
- Jews have too much power in international financial markets.
- Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust.
Respondents were also asked whether they agree or disagree with the following statement:
The Jews are responsible for the death of Christ; and
If their opinion of Jews was influenced by actions taken by the State of Israel and whether they believed the violence directed against European Jews was a result of anti-Jewish feelings or anti-Israel sentiment.
A majority of those surveyed across Europe, 51%, believe that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their own country, with a majority of respondents in Spain, Poland and Germany saying they believe that this statement is "probably true."
High levels of those surveyed still believe in the traditional anti-Jewish canard that "Jews have too much power in the business world." Overall, nearly 39% of all respondents believe this stereotype to be true.
Similarly, respondents still adhere to the notion that "Jews have too much power in international financial markets." Overall, 44% cling to the traditional stereotype.
Large portions of the European public continue to believe that Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust. Overall, 47% of those surveyed believe it is "probably true." In fact, a plurality of respondents in France, Germany, Italy, Poland, and Spain believe this notion to be true.
Overall, 20% of those surveyed continue to blame Jews for the death of Jesus.
Overall, 25% of those surveyed say that their opinion of Jews is influenced by the actions taken by the State of Israel. Of those respondents whose opinions are influenced, a majority, 52%, say that their opinion of Jews is worse as a result of the actions taken by Israel.
Nearly half of all respondents agree with the notion that "American Jews control U.S. Middle Eastern policy;" in Spain - 53%; in Poland - 56%.
Overall, 51% of respondents believe that Iran's nuclear program is being developed for military purposes, with an additional 16% believing it is both a weapons program and a nuclear energy program. Only 14% believe it is solely for nuclear energy.
Attitudes 'Legitimize Anti-Semitism'
"Millions of Europeans continue to accept a wide range of traditional anti-Semitic stereotypes and conspiracy theories, including the charge that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their home country. These attitudes help incite and legitimize anti-Semitism, including violence against Jews, and give us great concern," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.
"We are not surprised to find that a high percentage of the respondents in Spain and Poland hold negative views of Jews. Given each country's history of animus towards Jews, it appears that anti-Semitism is ingrained in the fabric of each society.
"Equally disturbing is the finding that nearly half of all respondents, and a majority in Spain and Poland, believe that American Jews control U.S. policy on the Middle East, and old canard that has been resurrected in mainstream America and bolsters existing European attitudes.
"The findings of this survey demonstrate that individual governments and the EU, who have condemned anti-Semitism and sought ways to counteract it, need to find methods and implement programs that will break down the old stereotypes that die hard, and take leadership to make anti-Semitism unacceptable in their societies."
Country by Country Findings
In responding "probably true" to the statement, "Jews are more loyal to Israel than their own country," the 2007 survey found: (view graph)
France 39%, up from 29% in 2005
Germany 51%, down from 55%
Italy 48%, down from 57%
Spain - 60%, up from 51%
Poland 59%, up from 52%
In responding "probably true" to the statement, "Jews have too much power in the business world," the 2007 survey found: (view graph)
- France 28%, up from 25% in 2005
- Germany 21%, up from 20%
- Italy 42%, up from 33%
- Spain 53%, up from 45%
- Poland 49%, up from 43%
In responding "probably true" to the statement "Jews have too much power in international financial markets," the 2007 survey found: (view graph)
- France 28%, up from 24% in 2005
- Germany 25%, up from 24%
- Italy 42%, up from 32%
- Spain 68%, up from 54%
- Poland 54%, up from 43%
In responding "probably true" to the statement "Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust," the 2007 survey found: (view graph)
- France 40%, up from 34% in 2005
- Germany 45%, down from 48%
- Italy 46%, down from 49%
- Spain 46%, no change
- Poland 58% up from 52%
ADL commissioned First International Resources to conduct the survey. Fielded in Europe by Taylor Nelson Sofres, the telephone interviews were conducted in the native language of each of the countries, among the general population. The margin of error for each country is +/-4 percent at 95% level of confidence.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.