A lot of people around the world hate the Jews.
That’s the main finding of the Anti-Defamation League’s largest-ever worldwide survey of anti-Semitic attitudes.
The survey, released Tuesday, found that 26 percent of those polled –representing approximately 1.1 billion adults worldwide – harbor deeply anti-Semitic views. More than 53,000 people were surveyed in 102 countries and territories covering approximately 86 percent of the world’s population.
“Our findings are sobering but, sadly, not surprising,” ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said at a news conference Tuesday morning at ADL’s national headquarters in New York.
“The data clearly indicates that classic anti-Semitic canards defy national, cultural, religious and economic boundaries.”
Among the survey’s key findings:
● Thirty-five percent of those surveyed had never heard of the Holocaust. Of those who had, roughly one-third said it is either a myth or greatly exaggerated.
● The most anti-Semitic region in the world is the Middle East and North Africa, with 74 percent harboring anti-Semitic views. Eastern Europe was second at 34 percent. The least anti-Semitic region was Oceania (Australia and New Zealand) at 14 percent.
● The three countries outside the Middle East with the highest rates of anti-Semitic attitudes were Greece at 69 percent, Malaysia at 61 percent and Armenia at 58 percent.
● About 49 percent of Muslims worldwide harbor anti-Semitic views, compared to 24 percent of Christians.
● The West Bank and Gaza were the most anti-Semitic places surveyed, with 93 percent of respondents expressing anti-Semitic views. The Arab country with the lowest level of anti-Semitic views was Morocco, at 80 percent. Iran ranked as the least anti-Semitic country in the Middle East, at 56 percent.
● The least anti-Semitic country overall was Laos, where 0.2 percent of the population holds anti-Semitic views. The Philippines, Sweden, the Netherlands and Vietnam all came in at 6 percent or lower.
● Approximately 9 percent of Americans and 14 percent of Canadians harbor anti-Semitic attitudes.
● Thirty-four percent of respondents older than 65 were deemed anti-Semitic, compared to 25 percent of those younger than 65. Men polled were slightly more anti-Semitic than women.
“The ADL’s Global 100 index will serve as a baseline,” Foxman said. “For the first time we have a real sense of how pervasive and persistent anti-Semitism is today around the world.”
The survey gauged anti-Semitism by asking whether respondents agreed with an index of 11 statements the ADL believes suggest anti-Jewish bias:
Jews talk too much about what happened to them during the Holocaust; Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the countries they live in; Jews think they are better than other people; Jews have too much power in international financial markets; Jews have too much power in the business world; Jews have too much control over global affairs; people hate Jews because of the way Jews behave; Jews have too much control over the U.S. government; Jews have too much control over global media; Jews are responsible for most of the world’s wars; Jews don’t care about what happens to anyone but their own kind.
Respondents who agreed that a majority of the statements are “probably true” were deemed anti-Semitic.
Over the years, the ADL has been criticized for overstating what qualifies as anti-Semitism, with critics suggesting that some of the statements used to measure bias actually are more indicative of admiration for Jews than anti-Jewish hostility.
Foxman addressed such criticism on Tuesday.
“We frequently get accused of seeing anti-Semitism everywhere, and we’re very conscious about the credibility,” he said. “We were cautious, we were conservative, to understate rather than overstate.”
About the Author: Uriel Heilman is managing editor of JTA. An award-winning journalist, he has worked in a variety of positions for publications in the United States and in Israel, including as New York bureau chief of the Jerusalem Post.
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