To the Editor:
Re "Political, social turmoil worries Hungary's Jews" (May 13):
For Hungarian sociologist Andras Kovacs to outright dismiss our polling methodology as "superficial and "even irresponsible" is, well, irresponsible.
ADL has been polling on anti-Semitic attitudes in Europe for more than a decade and in the United States for nearly 50 years. Our methodology was developed and refined by professional public opinion polling organizations. Our surveys on anti-Semitic attitudes asked the same questions in Hungary in 2007, 2009 and 2012, allowing for clear comparison over time. While the levels of anti-Semitic attitudes within the adult population in Hungary in 2007 and 2009 were close, at 50 percent and 47 percent, the 2012 result of 63 percent demonstrates a significant and indisputable rise over the last three years.
A recent poll by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation reported similar results as the ADL poll: anti-Semitic beliefs were highest in Hungary and Poland, followed by a middle group of Germany, Italy, and France, and lower scores in the Netherlands and United Kingdom. In that poll, 69 percent of Hungarians agreed with the statement, "Jews have too much influence in Hungary" -- by far the highest -- compared to 50 percent for Poland, the next highest, and less than 6 percent for the Netherlands at the bottom.
One conclusion is crystal clear: the research results from ADL, Friedrich Ebert, and Mr. Kovacs all demonstrate a need to combat anti-Semitism among Hungarians. Debates over methodological differences should not distract from our common goal.