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May 13, 2014 12:19 pm

ADL Global Survey Finds ‘Anti-Semitic Attitudes Are Persistent, Pervasive Around the World’; West Bank, Gaza Highest Scores

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Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman and Jeffrey Liszt, of Anzalone Liszt Grove Research, presenting the findings of the organization's first global survey of anti-Semitic attitudes, on May 13, 2013. Photo: Algemeiner.

Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman and Jeffrey Liszt, of Anzalone Liszt Grove Research, presenting the findings of the organization's first global survey of anti-Semitic attitudes, on May 13, 2013. Photo: Algemeiner.

The Anti-Defamation League on Tuesday said a survey of 53,100 adults in 102 countries and territories “found that anti-Semitic attitudes are persistent and pervasive around the world.”

The survey found that one-in-four adults, 26 percent of respondents, representing a billion people around the world, “are deeply infected with anti-Semitic attitudes.”

It ranked countries and territories in numerical order from the least anti-Semitic – Laos, at 0.2 percent of the adult population – to the most – West Bank and Gaza, where anti-Semitic attitudes, at 93 percent, are pervasive throughout society.

At a press conference in New York to explain the results, ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said the bottom line of the findings were that people, whether they know any Jews or not, share prejudiced views against Jewish people.

“The judgement is you can’t trust Jews,” Foxman said.

He described the prevailing beliefs of the one-in-four adults who supported at least six statements in the survey: “That Jews control – they control media, politics, finance, all for the purposes of controlling others – it’s a very clear anti-Semitic canard.”

Foxman said the internationalization of anti-Semitism is based on the wider dissemination of materials that portray Jews in a negative light, such as the century-old ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion,’ which paints Jews as a nefarious cabal that works behind the scenes to control world events.

“Where do people get information today about Jews?” Foxman asked. “They get it from television and internet. Conspiracy theories about Jews, you don’t have to have them or know them, all you have to do is plug in.”

The survey, ‘The ADL Global 100: An Index of Anti-Semitism,’ was created to measure the level and intensity of anti-Jewish sentiment across the world, and is the first of its kind.

The overall score represents the percentage of respondents who answered “probably true” to six or more of 11 negative stereotypes about Jews, the ADL said. The 11-question index has been used by ADL to measure anti-Semitic attitudes in the U.S. for the past 50 years.

In a statement, Foxman said, “For the first time we have a real sense of how pervasive and persistent anti-Semitism is today around the world. The data from the Global 100 Index enables us to look beyond anti-Semitic incidents and rhetoric and quantify the prevalence of anti-Semitic attitudes across the globe. We can now identify hotspots, as well as countries and regions of the world where hatred of Jews is essentially non-existent.”

ADL said that in the majority of English-speaking countries, the percentage of those with anti-Semitic attitudes is 13 percent, far lower than the overall average. Protestant-majority countries, in general, have the lowest ratings of anti-Semitic attitudes, as compared to any other majority religious country. Interestingly, while 26 percent agreed with six or more of the 11 questions, 28 percent did not agree with any of them.

The survey was financed by a grant from the New York philanthropist Leonard Stern. First International Resources conducted the poll and fieldwork and data collection were performed by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research.

The data was based on interviews conducted between July 2013 and February 2014 in 96 languages and dialects via landline telephones, mobile phones and face-to-face discussions. Respondents were selected at random and constituted a demographically representative sample of the adult populations, the ADL said.

The margin of error for most countries, where 500 respondents were selected, was +/- 4.4 percent. In larger countries, where 1,000 interviews were conducted, the margin of error was +/- 3.2 percent.

At the press conference, Jeffrey Liszt, of Anzalone Liszt Grove Research, noted that in countries, Laos or Vietnam, for example, where people may have never met a Jew and have had little exposure to anti-Semitic media, there was a higher response of “I don’t know” to questions.

Among the findings, only 54 percent of those polled said they had never heard of the Holocaust. Two out of three people surveyed have either never heard of the Holocaust, or do not believe historical accounts to be accurate. In Western Europe, 94 percent knew of the Holocaust.

The most widely accepted anti-Semitic stereotype worldwide is: “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to this country/the countries they live in.” Overall, 41 percent of those surveyed believe this statement to be “probably true.” This was the most widely accepted stereotype in five out of the seven regions surveyed.

The second most widely accepted stereotype worldwide is “Jews have too much power in the business world.” Overall, 35 percent of those surveyed believe this statement to be “probably true.” This is also the most widely held stereotype in Eastern Europe.

Among the 74 percent of those surveyed who said they had never met a Jew, 25 percent harbor anti-Semitic attitudes. Of the 26 percent overall who harbor anti-Semitic attitudes, 70 percent have never met a Jewish person.

Three out of 10 respondents, 30 percent, believe Jews make up between 1 to 10 percent of the world’s population, versus the 0.19 percent in reality. Another 18 percent believe Jews make up more than 10 percent of the world’s population.

By region, the highest concentration of respondents holding anti-Semitic attitudes was in the Middle East and North Africa, where nearly three-quarters of respondents, 74 percent of those polled, agreed with a majority of the anti-Semitic stereotypes that comprise the 11-question index. Non-MENA countries had an average index score of 23 percent.

Ranked by the index score: Middle East and North Africa (74 percent), Eastern Europe (34 percent), Western Europe (24 percent), Sub-Saharan Africa (23 percent), Asia (22 percent), the Americas (19 percent) and Oceana (14 percent.)

The 16 countries with the highest index scores of anti-Semitic views are all in the Middle East and North Africa. Greece, with 69 percent of the adult population falling into the anti-Semitic category, was the highest country outside of MENA. In other countries, anti-Semitism was found to be virtually non-existent, particularly in the Scandinavian countries and in Vietnam, Laos and the Philippines.

Levels of anti-Semitic attitudes are particularly low in English speaking countries, with only 13 percent harboring anti-Semitic attitudes, half the worldwide average.

The most anti-Semitic countries and territories were led by the West Bank and Gaza, where 93 percent of the adult population holds anti-Semitic views, followed by Iraq (92 percent), Yemen (88 percent), Algeria (87 percent), Libya (87 percent), Tunisia (86 percent), Kuwait (82 percent), Bahrain (81 percent), Jordan (81 percent), and Morocco (80 percent.)

The lowest-ranked countries in the ADL Global Index were led by Laos, where 0.2 percent of the adult population holds anti-Semitic views, followed by the Philippines (3 percent), Sweden (4 percent), Netherlands (5 percent), Vietnam (6 percent), UK (8 percent), U.S. (9 percent), Denmark (9 percent), Tanzania (12 percent), Thailand (13 percent), and the Czech Republic (13 percent.)

In the statement, Foxman said, “We were profoundly disappointed about the resilience of anti-Semitism in many countries where we had hoped to see lower numbers, particularly some in Eastern Europe that experienced the war and the Holocaust firsthand.”

“On the other hand, there is a silver lining in countries such as Denmark, the U.K., the Netherlands and Sweden – all Protestant majority countries – where we found incredibly low levels of anti-Semitic beliefs,” Foxman said. “The Czech Republic stands out as well as being one of the lowest-ranked countries in Eastern Europe, with only 13 percent of the population manifesting anti-Semitic views. This is a testament to the high levels of tolerance and acceptance in Czech society.”

The survey also looked at the rankings by respondent religion. Nearly half of all Muslims surveyed around the world responded “probably true” to at least 6 of the 11 index stereotypes in the report. Also, Christians in Eastern Orthodox and Catholic countries are more likely to harbor anti-Semitic views than those in Protestant countries, the ADL said.

Among Muslims, which comprise 22.7 percent of the world population, 49 percent harbor anti-Semitic attitudes. In MENA, the number of Muslims holding anti-Semitic attitudes is 75 percent.

Anti-Semitic beliefs among Muslims outside of MENA is much lower, with those in Asia at 37 percent, in Western Europe at 29 percent, in Eastern Europe at 20 percent, and in Sub-Saharan Africa at 18 percent.

Anti-Semitic beliefs by Christians were the highest in MENA, at 64 percent, compared to the global average for Christians of 24 percent.

Respondents from other religions polled included Hindu, at 19 percent, Buddhist, at 17 percent, and “no religion,” at 21 percent.

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