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Press ReleaseAnti-Semitism: International
E.U. Poll Reflects Excessive Criticism of Israel

New York, NY, November 3, 2003 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today said that a new European Union poll "is nothing less than anti-Semitism," because the results single out Israel as the one nation in the world that poses the greatest threat to world peace.

The public opinion poll, titled Iraq and Peace in the World, questioned more than 7,000 Europeans on a variety of issues related to Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and other issues.  Pollsters listed 15 countries and asked the respondents if each country was a "threat to world peace."  Fifty-nine percent answered affirmatively about Israel.  Fifty-three percent named North Korean, Iran and the United States as threats to world peace.  The Netherlands had the greatest number of respondents listing Israel as a threat – 74 percent, followed by Austria at 69 percent.

Two ADL public opinion polls of ten European countries in 2002 on attitudes toward Jews and Israel found a similar hostility towards Israel by Europeans.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and author of the new book, Never Again? The Threat of the New Anti-Semitism (HarperSanFrancisco, 2003) issued the following statement:

This poll serves to confirm a dynamic that has been underway in Europe for some time – that excessive criticism of Israel is fanning hostilities and hatred across the Continent and contributing to anti-Semitism.
European leaders must understand that their one-sided criticism of Israel has consequences for European policy and opinion.  Clearly the member states of the European Union can legitimately disagree with Israeli policies.  However, in frequency and tone, European criticism of Israeli policies is often aired in a manner that taints the entire State of Israel.  Such criticism is bolstered and augmented by the vilification of Israel in much of the media in Europe.  Little mention is made of the strength of Israeli-European diplomatic and trade relations or the strong binds of history.

These findings undoubtedly create the climate in which anti-Semitism flourishes and in which governments rationalize it.

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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