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Press ReleaseAnti-Semitism-International
ADL European Survey Findings: "A Potent and Dangerous Mix"

30% of Europeans Cling to Traditional Anti-Semitic Stereotypes, Coupled with a High Rate of Anti-Israel Sentiment

Washington, DC, June 27, 2002…In the wake of a wave of anti-Semitic violence in Europe not seen since the end of World War II, an Anti-Defamation League (ADL) opinion survey found 30% of Europeans cling to traditional anti-Jewish stereotypes, while 62% believe the recent violence against Jews is the result of anti-Israel sentiment. European Attitudes Towards Jews, Israel and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, a survey of 2,500 -- 500 each in Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany and the United Kingdom -- was conducted by telephone in the native language of each of the countries May 16-June 4, 2002 by First International Resources for ADL.

"These findings are especially disturbing because they show that the old, classical form of anti-Semitism has been joined by a new form fueled by anti-Israel sentiment, creating a potent and dangerous mix," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "The resiliency of anti-Semitism coupled with the emergence of strong anti-Israel sentiment in European countries with enormous Muslim/Arab populations, demands our serious and immediate attention."

The Findings: Anti-Semitism in Europe

Of the Europeans surveyed:

  • 30% harbor traditional anti-Semitic stereotypes.
  • 45% believe Jews are more loyal to Israel than their own country.
  • 30% believe that Jews have too much power in the business world.
  • 19% say Jews don't care about anyone but their own kind.
  • 16% say Jews are more willing than others to use shady practices to get what they want.
  • 39% of Europeans believe Jews still talk too much about the Holocaust.

Compared to a recent ADL survey, Anti-Semitism in America, that was released on June 11, 2002, 17% of Americans were found to hold strong anti-Semitic views, 33% believe Jews are more loyal to Israel, 24% believe Jews have too much power in the business world, 16% say Jews don't care about anyone but themselves, 19% believe Jews are more willing to use shady practices. The question about the Holocaust was not asked of Americans.

"Large numbers of Europeans accept a wide range of traditional anti-Semitic stereotypes about Jews," Mr. Foxman said. "These beliefs, such as the charge that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their home country, help to fuel and legitimize anti-Semitic violence. It is disingenuous to blame the anti-Jewish violence in Europe simply on a popular reaction to Israel's policies, when it is apparent that the violence is directly targeting Jews. That is anti-Semitism. Yet many European leaders continue to shrug off the violence as an episode in the Mideast conflict, and not a reflection of a serious problem closer to home."

The Findings: Anti-Jewish Violence in Europe

  • 62% of Europeans believe the recent outbreak of violence against Jews in Europe is a result of anti-Israel sentiment and not traditional anti-Jewish feelings.
  • 69% of all Europeans said they are "very concerned" or "fairly concerned" about violence directed against European Jews.
  • 34% of French respondents and 32% of Belgians said they were "unconcerned" or "fairly unconcerned."
  • In France, which had the most anti-Jewish violence of the countries polled, 33% said their government was not doing enough to protect its Jewish citizens.

"It is encouraging that such a large majority of Europeans is concerned about violence against Jews. That is the good news," said Mr. Foxman. "The bad news is that not enough people of goodwill have been willing to stand up to reject anti-Semitism in the face of the intensifying attacks against Jews, synagogues and other distinctly Jewish institutions. It is especially disturbing that only 60 years after the Holocaust, Europe's leaders and citizenry are being diffident when confronted with anti-Semitism."

The Findings: The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

The survey found that a majority of Europeans know nothing or very little about the history the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and say they get their information about it from the media.

One third say they hold neither a favorable nor unfavorable view of Israel, while by a margin of 2-1 they sympathize more with the Palestinians than Israelis. In all five countries surveyed the more closely the respondents say they follow the media coverage of the conflict, the more likely they are to sympathize with the Palestinians.

  • 63% said they know "nothing" or a "very little" about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
  • 57% of those questioned said they follow media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "a great deal" or "a good amount."
  • 38% say the hold "neither favorable nor unfavorable" views of Israel.
  • 28% view Israel favorably.
  • 26% view Israel unfavorably.
  • 29% sympathize more with the Palestinians versus 14% with the Israelis.
  • 86% feel there is no justification for suicide bombers targeting Israelis and
  • 75% believe the attacks carried out by Palestinians are terrorism against Israeli civilians, yet
  • 60% believe Israel's use of military force is excessive and will not stop the attacks.

"While a majority of Europeans say they closely follow media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, many are at a loss when asked about their knowledge of the situation in the Mideast," said Mr. Foxman. "That is most troubling, and it raises fundamental questions about the level of education on the history of the Palestinian/Arab-Israeli conflict. It also speaks to the quality of European media coverage of the Mideast conflict, which we know has often been skewed against Israel. Clearly, Europeans follow the media closely, but this survey shows that many feel as if they are not getting the whole story."

"The early reports of the so-called "massacre" at Jenin is one example of how the European media made biased assumptions in its coverage of the crisis," added Glen A. Tobias, ADL National Chairman. "The poll suggests that ordinary Europeans are not getting the information they need from their media when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

The survey, fielded in Europe by Taylor Nelson Sofres, has a margin of error of +/-4.4% 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.

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Anti-Semitism in Europe
European Attitudes Toward Jews, Israel and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, 361 Kb.
(requires Acrobat Reader)
Selected Questions and Responses about European Anti-Semitic Stereotypes
(ADL Survey May-June 2002)
Anti-Semitic Incidents Around the World in 2002
Resurgence of Global Anti-Semitism
ADL Open Letter to the Nations of Europe
ADL 2002 Survey on
Anti-Semitism in the U.S.
Summary of Major Findings!

ADL Survey: Anti-Semitism in America (2002) (.pdf 431Kb)
(requires Acrobat Reader)
Anti-Semitism and Prejudice in America (1998)
Audits of Anti-Semitic Incidents
  • Jan-May 2002 Anti-Semitic Incidents Increasing
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