For the first time, the Anti-Defamation League has commissioned an international survey to research attitudes and opinions toward Jews in more than 100 countries around the world. 85.9% of the world’s population was surveyed. The primary finding is that 26% of the world population, representing an estimated 1.09 billion people, harbor anti-Semitic attitudes.
Anti-Semitic tendencies were gauged by Index Scores which were created by asking whether 11 negative anti-Semitic stereotypes are “probably true” or “probably false.” Respondents who said at least 6 out of 11 statements are “probably true” are considered to harbor anti-Semitic attitudes.
Middle East & North Africa are the most anti-Semitic, 74%; followed by Eastern Europe with 34%, Western Europe at 24%, and Oceania at only 14%. Greece is the most anti-Semitic country outside the Middle East.
The most widely accepted anti-Semitic stereotype worldwide is: “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to this country/the countries they live in.” 41% of those asked hold this opinion. The second most widely accepted stereotype, expressed by 35% of those asked is: “Jews have too much power in the business world.” This is the most widely accepted stereotype in Eastern Europe, held by 53%.
Muslims are more likely to harbor anti-Semitic views than members of other religions. Among all the religious groups tested, Muslims have the highest average Index Score: 49%. Christians in Eastern Orthodox and Catholic countries are more likely to harbor anti-Semitic views than those in Protestant countries.
Gender and age are a factor. Older people are more likely to harbor anti-Semitic views, although in Judea and Samaria and Gaza, between the ages of 1 – 15, 93% expressed anti-Semitic views. Men generally hold more anti-Semitic views than women. This is true for every religion except Buddhism.
Overall, respondents vastly overestimate the world’s Jewish population. In most regions, a majority think over 1% of the world’s population is Jewish. Many even think it is over 10%. The more people overestimate the world’s Jewish population, the more they tend to harbor anti-Semitic attitudes.
Education has a different effect in different regions. In the West more educated people are less likely to harbor anti-Semitic views. Conversely, in the Middle East North Africa, more educated people are more likely to hold anti-Semitic views.
The Holocaust, which serves as an historical reference point in regards to anti-Semitic tendencies is telling. 35% have never heard of the Holocaust. Only 33% are aware of the Holocaust and believe it has been accurately described by history. Nearly a third of respondents who have heard of the Holocaust, 32 %, think it is either a myth or has been greatly exaggerated. Younger people are less aware of the Holocaust
Fewer than 10% of those surveyed say they interact with Jewish people very or somewhat often. Of the 26% who believe a majority of the anti-Semitic stereotypes, 70% have actually never met a Jewish person. Countries with more than 10,000 Jews or where Jews are more than .1% of the population tend to hold fewer anti-Semitic views.
The source of information on Jews is of influence. Most people get their information about Jews from television. However, the Internet is an important second source of information for many. Muslims who get their information about Jews from the Internet are more likely to harbor anti-Semitic attitudes than those who receive their news from other sources.
Fieldwork and data collection for this global public opinion project were conducted and coordinated by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research. All interviews were conducted between July 2013 and February 2014. The data is a result of 53,100 total interviews among citizens aged 18 and over, across 101 countries. Interviews were conducted via landline telephones, mobile phones and face-to-face discussions in 96 languages. All respondents were selected at random.
“The level of anti-Semitism in some countries and regions, even those where there are no Jews, is in many instances shocking,” said Barry Curtiss-Lusher, ADL National Chair. “We hope this unprecedented effort to measure and gauge anti-Semitic attitudes globally will serve as a wake-up call to governments, to international institutions and to people of conscience that anti-Semitism is not just a relic of history, but a current event,” concluded Curtiss-Lusher.
About the Author: Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.
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