Decrease in anti-Semitic views in Europe

26th April 2004, Comments 0 comments

26 April 2004 , BERLIN - A poll Monday showed anti-Semitic attitudes in 10 European countries have mainly decreased since 2002 with Germans now showing the highest rate of anti-Semitism. "The most significant finding ... is that there is some decrease in anti-Semitic attitudes in almost all countries surveyed," said a statement by the US-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which commissioned the poll. Countries surveyed in advance of a major anti-Semitism conference opening in Berlin on Wednesday were Aust

26 April 2004

BERLIN - A poll Monday showed anti-Semitic attitudes in 10 European countries have mainly decreased since 2002 with Germans now showing the highest rate of anti-Semitism.

"The most significant finding ... is that there is some decrease in anti-Semitic attitudes in almost all countries surveyed," said a statement by the US-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which commissioned the poll.

Countries surveyed in advance of a major anti-Semitism conference opening in Berlin on Wednesday were Austria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland.

According to the survey, those polled in Germany showed the highest rate of anti-Semitism: 36 percent (down from 37 percent in a 2002 opinion poll).

Belgium had the second highest rating with 35 percent deemed to be anti-Semitic according to the poll (down from 39 percent two years ago).

France was third with 25 percent (down from 35 percent) followed by Britain 24 percent (up from 18 percent); Spain 24 percent (down from 34 percent); Austria 17 percent (down from 19 percent); Switzerland 17 percent (down from 22 percent); Denmark 16 percent (down from 21 percent) and Italy 15 percent (down from 23 percent).

The Netherlands had the lowest rate of anti-Semitism with 9 percent (up from 7 percent in 2002), the poll indicated.

A total of 5,000 people were interviewed by telephone for the survey. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percent.

Those polled were asked if they agreed with questions such as "Jews have to much power in the business world" and "Jews are more willing than others to use shady practices to get what they want."

ADL leaders said the results would help the group focus on a country-by-country basis in fighting anti-Semitism.

"Two years ago as acts of violent anti-Semitism were sweeping Europe, leaders were reluctant to acknowledge and confront the issue head on," said ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman.

Foxman said that at the urging of Jews around the world many European leaders had taken a tougher stance on fighting anti-Semitism.

"French President Jacques Chirac finally stopped denying that anti-Semitism existed in France, declared it unacceptable, and created educational and legislative initiatives to combat it," said Foxman.

The European Union has held a number of major conferences on anti-Semitism including one by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 2003 and another in 2004.

The Berlin anti-Semitism conference - hosted by the OSCE and the German government - is expected to attract senior officials from 55 countries including US Secretary of State Colin Powell.  

Meanwhile, a report published on the weekend in Germany, said violence by Moslem youths against Jews is on the rise in the country.

A total 35 violent attacks on Jewish individuals were reported in Germany last year, up from 28 in 2002, according to the report in Der Tagesspiegel newspaper.

The Berlin paper based its report on preliminary federal statistics on anti-Semitism in Germany.

Berlin was the location of more attacks than any other city in Germany, with 12 reported cases of violence against Jews.

The report said half of all such cases involved attacks by non-German youths. Turkish nationals account for 20 percent of all non-Germans in Germany. Berlin has 170,000 Turks, the largest ethnic Turkish population of any European city.

At the same time, however, anti-Semitic violence by German neo-Nazis is on the decline, the report said.

Last year 1,000 incidents were reported, ranging from desecrating Jewish cemeteries to distributing anti-Semitic literature. In 2002 the figure was 1,592.

The number of skinheads has also declined, from an estimated 10,700 in 2002 to 10,000 in 2003.

DPA
Subject: German news

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