One in Four Germans Believe Jews ‘Have Too Much Power,’ New Survey Reveals
A World Jewish Congress survey published on Thursday dramatically underlined the continuing rise of antisemitism in Germany, with more than one in four respondents expressing agreement with statements that were based upon classic anti-Jewish tropes.
Out of the 1,300 Germans who participated in the survey, 27 percent concurred with a range of antisemitic statements and stereotypes. The survey was conducted two months ago, before the attempted massacre by a neo-Nazi gunman of Jewish worshipers who attended Yom Kippur services at a synagogue in Halle on Oct. 9.
The claim that “Jews talk too much about the Holocaust” was agreed with by 41 percent of respondents, with the same proportion also believing that “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to Germany.” Asked whether Jews had “too much power in international financial markets,” 26 percent said that was the case.
The statement that “Jews have too much power in global affairs” drew 24 percent agreement, with 16 percent believing that “Jews have too much control over the German government. Nearly one in four respondents — 24 percent — agreed with the statement, “A lot of the people I know have negative feelings about Jews.”
WJC President Ronald Lauder said the survey proved that antisemitism in Germany had reached a “crisis point,” the Süddeutsche Zeitung news outlet reported.
“We saw what happened when ordinary people looked away or kept silent,” Lauder said, referring to the Nazi regime’s persecution of German Jews that began in the 1930s. “It is time for the whole of German society to take a stand and fight antisemitism head-on.”
The survey also probed German attitudes toward Israel and how these might impact on perceptions of Jews. Asked whether “actions taken by the State of Israel influence your opinions about Jews,” 38 percent answered that this was either partly or fully true, while 42 percent agreed that “supporters of Israel use accusations of antisemitism to shut down criticism.” Thirty-four percent said that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict had left them with a “worse opinion about Jews.”
Asked whether Israel had the right to exist as Jewish state, 66 percent agreed, 11 percent disagreed and 23 percent said they were not sure. Meanwhile, a plurality of respondents — 44 percent — said they disagreed with the assertion, “Germany has a special responsibility to look out for the welfare of Israel because of what happened during the Holocaust.”
Awareness that Jews in Germany face the risk of antisemitic violence is also growing among the general public, in tandem with a steep rise in hate crimes targeting Jews. 49 percent of respondents to the WJC survey agreed with the statement that “Jewish people are at risk of racist violence in Germany.” Data released by the Federal Ministry of the Interior over the summer documented a total of 1799 antisemitic offenses in 2018; many observers believe that number is fraction of a much larger total, as the majority of antisemitic crimes go unreported.
The survey also revealed that high levels of intolerance towards other minority groups prevail in Germany. Asked for the views of immigrants, 48 percent responded with “unfavorable.” And when asked for their views of Roma gypsies – around 200,000 of whom were murdered by the Nazis during World War II — 64 percent answered “unfavorable.”