ADL Survey In Six European Countries Finds Anti-Semitic Attitudes Up: Most Believe Jews More Loyal to Israel Than Home Country
Jerusalem, Israel, July 17, 2007
In a companion survey to one fielded several months ago in five European countries, a new survey of an additional six countries shows similarly that millions of Europeans believe the classical anti-Semitic canards that have persistently pursued Jews through the centuries.
The findings released by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today revealed that half of the Europeans surveyed believe Jews are not loyal to their country and more than one third believe that they have too much power in business and finance. Attitudes Toward Jews and the Middle East in Six European Countries, an opinion survey of 3,000 adults 500 in each of the six European countries --Austria, Belgium, Hungary, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom -- conducted May 29 June 18, 2007, found an increase in negative attitudes toward Jews and a decrease in a very few instances from its 2005 findings.
As to attitudes regarding Israel and the Middle East, the poll showed mixed findings, as was true in the earlier poll. For example, while favorable views of Israel increased, there was more sympathy for the Palestinians than Israel. The survey also found strong attitudes against Iran and Hamas.
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.
Asked about boycotts against Israel by UK-based organizations, 43% of British respondents said they opposed them while 37% expressed support for them.
"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. Despite the fact that individual governments and the EU have condemned anti-Semitism and sought ways to counteract it, these attitudes die hard and help incite and legitimize anti-Semitic acts, including violence against Jews," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.
"The increase and high percentage of respondents in Hungary who hold negative views of Jews are disturbing" Mr. Foxman added. "More than a decade after the fall of Communism, we hoped that such anti-Jewish attitudes would have begun to diminish rather than increase. On the other hand, respondents in The Netherlands demonstrated their tradition of tolerance by holding the least anti-Semitic attitudes."
Mr. Foxman said he was, "especially concerned that the survey found a large percentage of all respondents, and a majority in Austria, Hungary and Switzerland, believe that American Jews control U.S. policy on the Middle East, an old canard that has been resurrected in mainstream America and bolsters existing European attitudes."
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
Finally, respondents were asked
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.
Attitudes Toward Jews
Overall, half of those surveyed in the six countries believe that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their own country, with a majority of respondents in Austria, Belgium, Hungary and the United Kingdom saying they believe that this statement is "probably true."
High levels of those surveyed across Europe still believe in the traditional anti-Jewish canard that "Jews have too much power in the business world." Overall, nearly 35% of all respondents believe this stereotype to be true; in Hungary it is 60%.
Similarly, European respondents still adhere to the notion that "Jews have too much power in international financial markets." Overall, 35% of those surveyed cling to the traditional stereotype, in Hungary it is 61%.
Large portions of the European public continue to believe that Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust. Overall, 44% of those surveyed believe it is "probably true." A majority of respondents in Austria, and Hungary believe it to be true.
Overall, 20% of those surveyed continue to blame Jews for the death of Jesus.
Overall, 23% of respondents say that their opinion of Jews is influenced by the actions taken by the State of Israel. Of those whose opinions are so influenced, nearly two-thirds -- 64% -- say that their opinion of Jews is worse as a result of the actions taken by Israel.
Attitudes Toward Israel
Overall, attitudes toward Israel have changed only slightly since 2005. Respondents in Belgium (35% up from 26%), The Netherlands (39% up from 28%), Switzerland (33% up from 27%) and the United Kingdom (30% up from 27%) now view Israel more favorably, while Israel's favorability rating has dropped in Austria (20% down from 31%) and Hungary ( 17% down from 22%).
When asked to think about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict levels of sympathy for the Israelis have increased in every country. Sympathy for the Palestinians has decreased in every country, except Belgium (31% up from 28%) and the United Kingdom (32% up from 27%).
Country by Country Findings on Anti-Semitic Attitudes
In responding "probably true" to the statement, "Jews are more loyal to Israel than their own country," the 2007 survey found:
Austria 54% up from 38% in 2005
Belgium 54% up from 41%
Hungary 50% up from 37%
The Netherlands 46% up from 36%
Switzerland 44% up from 38%
The United Kingdom 50% up from 39%
In responding "probably true" to the statement, "Jews have too much power in the business world," the 2007 survey found:
Austria 37%, up from 24% in 2005
Belgium 36%, up from 33%
Hungary 60% up from 55%
The Netherlands 11% down from 18%
Switzerland 41%, up from 26%
The United Kingdom 22% up from 14%
In responding "probably true" to the statement "Jews have too much power in international financial markets," the 2007 survey found:
Austria 43%, up from 33% in 2005
Belgium 40%, up from 33%
Hungary 61% up from 55%
The Netherlands 14% down from 19%
Switzerland 40%, up 30%
The United Kingdom 21% up from 16%
In responding "probably true" to the statement "Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust," the 2007 survey found:
Austria 54%, up from 46% in 2005
Belgium 43%, up from 41%
Hungary 58% up from 46%
The Netherlands 31%, down from 34%
Switzerland 45%, down from 48%
The United Kingdom 28% no change
ADL commissioned First International Resources to conduct the survey. Fielded in Europe by Taylor Nelson Sofres, it was conducted in the native language of each of the countries among the general population. The margin of error for each country is +/-4.5% 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.