ADL survey: More than a quarter of the world hates Jews

Uriel Heilman

NEW YORK (JTA) – A large number of people around the world still hate the Jews.

That’s the main finding of the Anti-Defamation League’s biggest-ever worldwide survey of anti-Semitic attitudes.

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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 roughly 86 percent of the world’s population.

“Out findings are sobering, but, sadly, not surprising,” ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said at a news conference Tuesday morning at ADL’s national headquarters. “The data clearly indicates that classic anti-Semitic canards defy national, cultural, religious and economic boundaries.”

Among the survey’s key findings:

• Some 70 percent of those considered anti-Semitic said they have never met a Jew.
• Thirty-five percent of those surveyed had never heard of the Holocaust. Of those who have, roughly one-third believe the Holocaust is either a myth or greatly exaggerated.
• Thirty-four percent of those surveyed over age 65 were deemed anti-Semitic compared to 25 percent of those younger than 65.
• The most anti-Semitic region in the world is the Middle East and North Africa, with 74 percent harboring anti-Semitic views. Eastern Europe comes in second, at 34 percent. The least anti-Semitic region is Oceania (the Australia region), at 14 percent anti-Semitic.
• About 49 percent of Muslims worldwide harbor anti-Semitic views.
• 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.
• The least anti-Semitic country surveyed 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 harbor anti-Semitic attitudes.

“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; people hate Jews because of the way Jews behave.

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 an anti-Semitic attitude. For example, some critics have suggested 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 at the news conference.

“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.”

The survey was conducted by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research and included telephone and in-person surveys between July 2013 and February 2014 conducted in 96 languages. At least 500 adults were surveyed in each of the countries. The margin of error is 4.4 percent in countries with 500 interviews, and 3.2 percent in countries with 1,000 interviews. The study was funded by New York philanthropist Leonard Stern; the ADL declined to say how much it cost.

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