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April 1, 2022 10:27 am

New Report Lifts Lid on Concerning Levels of Antisemitism in New Zealand

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

Antisemitic graffiti daubed upon the Wellington Jewish Progressive Congregation in New Zealand. Photo: Wellington City Council.

A new report has revealed both disturbing levels of antisemitism and ignorance of Jewish history and culture in New Zealand.

The survey of antisemitism in New Zealand in 2021 — conducted by the New Zealand Jewish Council (NZJC) — found that 63 percent of respondents held at least one antisemitic view.

“There are many different forms and sources of antisemitism but if you boil it down to the most basic, it has remained this — it’s the idea that Jewish people have too much control and too much power,” Juliet Moses, a spokesperson for the NZJC, told local broadcaster One News.

The survey revealed that large numbers of New Zealanders knew too little to venture an opinion on the 18 statements about Jews and Israel that were presented to them. The statements included classical antisemitic and contemporary anti-Zionist tropes: “Jews have too much power in financial markets,” “Jews in NZ are more loyal to Israel than to New Zealand,” “Israeli government policies are similar to those of the Nazi regime.”

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“Overall, 95.9 per cent of New Zealanders were unsure about at least one question, and 43.5 percent were unsure about nine or more of the 18 statements,” the report noted.

“The large percentages of ‘don’t knows’ may obscure some attitudes that did not want to be declared,” it observed. “But irrespective, it shows the need for education about the Holocaust and geopolitical history, and highlights the huge potential for unaware people to be captured by extremists and online racial hatred.”

Seventeen per cent of the people surveyed said they knew “virtually nothing” about the Holocaust, while only 42 per cent knew that six million Jews were exterminated by the Nazis. Over the last two years, ignorance of the Holocaust has been accompanied by a growing embrace of Nazi and Holocaust-related imagery by the COVID-19 conspiracy theorists and vaccine refusers.

“This shows the importance of Holocaust education in New Zealand,” the report stated. “As Winston Churchill famously quoted: ‘those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.'”

The report stressed that “while there are some significant proportions of New Zealanders holding antisemitic views, there is also a high level of warmth toward Jews, in general.” Despite the fact that less than 10,000 Jews live in New Zealand out of a population of five million, 32 percent of respondents said that they knew a Jewish person.

“New Zealand is facing a period of anxiety, instability and anger over the pandemic, economic conditions and geopolitical instability. In this context, a rise in antisemitic incidents and tropes can be anticipated,” the report stated. “With 10 percent of New Zealanders holding seven or more antisemitic views, we cannot afford to be complacent.”

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