"26% of world are anti-Semitic" says ADL

ADL head Foxman tells Jewish Media Summit in Jerusalem that the “findings are sobering but, sadly, not surprising”, after results released last month of biggest ever anti-Semitic poll ever showed over 25per cent of the world’s population to be anti-Semiticand warns W-European Jews of a bleak future going forward. He also accuses the UN of unwittingly legitimising anti-Semitism. Read this frightening account…
by ANT KATZ | Jun 24, 2014

When do anti-Zionist and anti-Israel turn anti-Semitic?

Anti-Defamation League head Abraham Foxman on Monday accused the UN of facilitating anti-Semitism, and intimated that Jews in Western Europe should be highly concerned about their future given the levels of anti-Semitism in some countries there.

Media - ADLSpeaking at the Jewish Media Summit in Jerusalem, moderated by the Times of Israel’s Publisher David Horowitz (RIGHT), Foxman said global anti-Semitism was at its worst level sincethe Second World War, though he stressed that it was by no means as grave as during that time.

The ADL last month published a survey of 102 countries that found about a quarter of the world’s population hold deeply anti-Semitic views; it also showed 7 per cent of those in the Middle East and North Africa are anti-Semitic, with a staggering 93 per cent finding among the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. See more about the survey and a basic world map below this story.

When the survey was first released, JTA reported: “A lot of people around the world hate the Jews.” That was the main finding of the Anti-Defamation League’s largest-ever worldwide survey of anti-Semitic attitudes.


26 per cent anti-Semitic

The survey, published last month, found that 26 per cent of those polled - representing approximately 1,1 billion adults worldwide - harbour deeply anti-Semitic views. More than 53 000 people were surveyed in 102 countries and territories covering approximately 86 per cent of the world’s population.

“Our findings are sobering but, sadly, not surprising,” ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said at a news conference at ADL’s national headquarters in New York on releasing the results. “The data clearly indicates that classic anti-Semitic canards defy national, cultural, religious and economic boundaries.”


Foxman lays much of the blame at UN's door

Foxman told the Jewish Media Summit in Jerusalem this week that the United Nations’ overwhelming obsession with criticising Israel inside the bod, “gives legitimacy” to anti-Semitism. Criticism of Israel was legitimate, he said, but when critics single out Israel for obsessive criticism, rather than highlighting Israel among other targets, that skews into anti-Semitism.

media Foxman 1“I am not saying Ban ki Moon is anti-Semitic,” he qualified, but the organisation as a whole met the criteria for the definition.

Broadly speaking, he went on, anti-Zionism constituted anti-Semitism if Zionism was the only nationalism being opposed.

In that light, Foxman said efforts to pressure governments via boycotts and sanctions could sometimes be positive, but they constituted anti-Semitism if exclusively or mainly focused on Israel. He was also suspicious, he said, of those who claimed not to hate Israel, but to hate Israel’s government. He drew his own conclusions, he said, if the track record of such critics was overwhelmingly focused on Israel.

Foxman said hostility to Israel from other states in the region might include elements of anti-Semitism, but was more a consequence of hatred of the fact of Israel’s very existence. Iran didn't primarily hate Israel because of the Jews, he said, but because it didn'tt want Israel in the region.

Answering questions from dozens of Jewish journalists gathered from around the world, Foxman noted that last month’s survey had shown 24 per cent of those in Western Europe held anti-Semitic attitudes.

'The cemetery of the Jews'

He recalled that Europe was recently “the cemetery of the Jews”, and reflected bleakly that the uniform of the Orthodox Jew in today’s Europe, wary of publicly identifying as a Jew, features a baseball cap rather than a skullcap.

As a baby, Foxman was baptised by the Polish nanny with whom his Jewish parents had left him when they were ordered into a ghetto by the Nazis at the start of World War II. His parents survived the war, were reunited with him, and immigrated to the US in 1950.

Today 74, he is set to step down from his post as ADL national director next year.

Asked at the Jewish Media Summit whether it was better sometimes not to make a fuss about incidents of anti-Semitism in the hope they might blow over, Foxman said that he would not want to be remembered as someone who sought to play down the danger.

If the charge was that he spoke out rather than staying silent, Foxman said, he pleaded guilty. 

Key findings of the anti-Semitism survey:

  • Some 70 percent of those considered anti-Semitic said they have never met a Jew. Overall, 74 percent of respondents said they had never met a Jew.
  • 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 that 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; and
  • Jews don’t care about what happens to anyone but their own kind.

How the ADL did the research…

Respondents who agreed that a majority of the statements are “probably true” were deemed anti-Semitic. Over the years, the ADL has been criticised 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 last month when he said: “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 overseen by First International Resources and conducted by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research. It included telephone and in-person surveys conducted in 96 languages between July 2013 and February 2014. At least 500 adults were interviewed in each of the countries surveyed. 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.


Attitudes towards Israel also surveyed

The survey also questioned respondents about their attitudes toward Israel. Outside the Middle East, Israel’s favourable rating was 37 percent, compared to 26 percent unfavourable. Within the Middle East, Israel’s unfavourable rating rose to 84 percent. The only other region where Israel’s unfavourable rating outweighed its favourable was Asia: 30 percent unfavourable, compared to 26 percent favourably.

media - foxmanAsked how many Jews they believe there are worldwide, more than half of the respondents significantly overestimated the number. Some 30 percent said Jews comprise between 1 and 10 percent of the world’s population, 18 percent said the figure was larger than 10 percent, and 9 percent said more than 20 percent of all people are Jewish. The actual figure is 0.19 percent of the world’s population, according to the ADL.

After the Palestinian-populated territories, the most anti-Semitic places were Iraq, where 92 percent harbor anti-Semitic views; Yemen at 88 percent; Algeria and Libya at 87 percent; Tunisia at 86 percent; Kuwait at 82 percent; and Bahrain and Jordan at 81 percent.

Israel was not included in the survey.

“It is very evident that the Middle East conflict matters with regard to anti-Semitism,” Foxman said. “It just is not clear whether the Middle East conflict is the cause of or the excuse for anti-Semitism. There is no statistical data at this moment to support causality.”


Lowest offenders

After Laos, anti-Semitism was lowest in the Philippines at 3 percent; Sweden at 4 percent; the Netherlands at 5 percent; Vietnam at 6 percent; the United Kingdom at 8 percent, the United States and Denmark at 9 percent; Tanzania at 12 percent; and Thailand at 13 percent.

In Western Europe, the most anti-Semitic countries were Greece (69 percent) and France (37 percent). In Eastern Europe, Poland (45 percent) and Bulgaria (44 percent) topped the list, and the Czech Republic was the least anti-Semitic, at 13 percent.

In the Americas, Panama (52 percent) and the Dominican Republic (41 percent) ranked as most anti-Semitic. In Sub-Saharan Africa, Senegal was the most anti-Semitic, at 56 percent. The least were Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana and Tanzania, all at between 16 and 12 percent.


See below map for stereotypes of why Jews are not liked:

Media - ADL studyThe most commonly held stereotype among the ADL’s list of 11 statements was that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their home country — a view held by 41 percent of respondents. More than one-third agreed with the statements that Jews have too much power in the business world and in international financial markets that Jews think they are better than other people and that Jews don’t care what happens to anyone but their own kind.


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