Shalom Life | July 31, 2015

Study: Anti-Semitism is on the Decline in Europe

A new ADL poll finds anti-Semitism down among general populations, but on the rise among Western European Muslims

By: B. Shane Morganstein

Published: July 1st, 2015 in News » World

Study: Anti-Semitism is on the Decline in Europe

Photo: Europe, Israeli flags


A new poll from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has found that anti-Semitic attitudes in France among the general population have shown a dramatic decline this year, with Germany and Belgium also registering significant reductions.

The ADL attributes this reduction in anti-Semitic sentiments to the shock caused by recent violence against Jews in Western Europe, including the highly publicized Hyper-Cacher supermarket and Charlie Hebdo attacks in France earlier this year.

The poll, conducted March 10 through April 3 in 19 countries, found minimal changes in the anti-Semitic attitudes in most of the countries sampled. The ADL polled 10,000 adults on their attitudes toward Jews, with respondents answering “probably true” to 6 or more of 11 negative stereotypes about Jews being considered to hold anti-Semitic views.

However, the most significant change was found in France, where the statistical 37% of people expressing anti-Semitic attitudes last year plummeted to 17% this year.

“After the recent murders of Jews in Belgium and France and attacks on synagogues in Germany, we decided to look at the impact on anti-Semitic attitudes among the national population following high-profile violence against Jews and the condemnations by European leaders,” explained ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman.

A similar change also occurred in Germany, who’s statistic declined from 27 to 16 percent, and in Belgium where the number went down from 27% to 21%. In order to ensure the accuracy of their results, the ADL polled an additional 500 people in these three countries.

“The poll found a marked increase in concern about violence against Jews in all three countires,” Foxman continued. “The results indicate that heightened awareness of violence against Jews fosters a sense of solidarity with the Jewish community and that strong condemnation by political and civic leaders makes expressing anti-Semitism less acceptable. The ADL Global 100 Index is the benchmark of anti-Semitic attitudes around the world, and we plan to continue polling periodically to measure changes and the effect of events on anti-Jewish attitudes.

In these three countries, large majorities expressed solidarity with Jewish victims of violence. When asked whether “violence against Jews in this country affects everyone and is an attack on our way of life,” 77 percent agreed in France, 68 percent in Belgium, and 78 percent in Germany.

For the first time, the ADL poll also measured Muslim attitudes towards Jews in six countries, and found that acceptance of anti-Semitic stereotypes by Muslims in France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Britain, and Spain was significantly higher than among the larger populations in each country. Most prevalent among those polled was agreeing with the belief that “Jews have too much power in international financial markets,” with 70% of Western European Muslims responding positively to the statement.

Some summarized results can be found below:

Belgium: 68% of Muslims harbor anti-Semitic attitudes, compared to 21% overall

Spain: 62% of Muslims, compared to 29% overall

Germany: 56%, compared to 16% overall

Italy: 56%, compared to 29% overall

United Kingdom: 54%, compared to 12% overall

France: 49%, compared to 17% overall

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