Survey: About 1 in 4 Europeans hold anti-Semitic beliefs
by Editor · November 21, 2019
BERLIN – About one in four Europeans hold anti-Semitic beliefs, with such attitudes on the rise in eastern countries and mostly steady in the west, according to a survey released Thursday.
The poll of 14 European countries, done for the New York-based Anti-Defamation League, found anti-Semitic attitudes most prevalent in Poland, where such sentiment rose to 48% of the population from 37% in 2015, and Ukraine, where the rise was even greater- to 46% from 32% in 2016.
Anti-Semitic views in Hungary were little changed but remained high, increasing from 40% to 42%.
The governments of all three countries have been criticized by Jewish groups recently, though all deny being anti-Semitic.
For example, Ukraine’s decision last year to honor a nationalist leader whose movement sided with the Nazis during World War II drew sharp remarks from Israel’s ambassador.
In Hungary the nationalist government of Viktor Orban has been widely criticized for its campaign against Jewish financier George Soros.
In early 2018, Poland saw an explosion of anti-Semitic language in public life – expressed on public television and even by public officials – after the conservative, nationalist ruling party passed legislation banning certain kinds of Holocaust speech, which was seen in Israel as an attempt to whitewash the participation of some Poles in the Holocaust.
In Western Europe, the study found that anti-Semitic views were either stable or down, with decreases in Britain, Spain, Netherlands, Italy, Germany and Austria.
Denmark saw an increase from 8% with anti-Semitic views to 10%, Belgium from 21% to 24%, while France was unchanged at 17% and Sweden had the lowest rate, at 4%.
Italy and Austria both posted significant decreases, dropping 11 percentage points and 8 percentage points to 18% and 20% with anti-Semitic attitudes respectively.
The survey, conducted between April 15 and June 3 with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4%, comes at a time of growing concern over anti-Semitic attacks in Europe.