Report: Many Europeans still anti-Jewish

14th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

14 May 2007, Jerusalem (dpa) - A large number of Europeans still maintain "classical" anti-Jewish attitudes and prejudices, and in some cases anti-Semitic sentiments are rising, according to a new report released Monday by the Anti-Defamation League. "These attitudes help incite and legitimize anti-Semitism, including violence against Jews," said Abraham Foxman, the ADL's director, who added that the survey results are a cause for "great concern." The survey of five European countries also examined opinion

14 May 2007

Jerusalem (dpa) - A large number of Europeans still maintain "classical" anti-Jewish attitudes and prejudices, and in some cases anti-Semitic sentiments are rising, according to a new report released Monday by the Anti-Defamation League.

"These attitudes help incite and legitimize anti-Semitism, including violence against Jews," said Abraham Foxman, the ADL's director, who added that the survey results are a cause for "great concern."

The survey of five European countries also examined opinions on Israel and the Middle East in general.

The poll, conducted in Germany, France, Italy, Poland and Spain, found that a majority of those surveyed, 51 per cent, believe Jews are more loyal to Israel than their own country, and over 40 per cent believe Jews wield "too much" power in business and finance.

Large portions of those surveyed believe Jews talk "too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust." In France, 40 per cent felt this way, while in Poland 48 per cent believed this to be true. In Germany, Spain and Italy about 45 per cent agreed with the sentiment.

Overall, 20 per cent of respondents said they blame Jews for the death of Jesus.

The study found the highest percentages of anti-Jewish attitudes among the Polish and Spanish, while Germany and France tend to have the lowest.

On the matter of perceived Jewish control over government policy, the ADL found that nearly half of all respondents think "American Jews control U.S. Middle Eastern policy."

"Jews are not as powerful as they think we are," said Foxman in response to the finding, adding that Jews in the US "want to exercise power and influence just like anyone else."

Foxman said "the survey shows that there are relations between views on Israel and opinions on Jews," although he could not explain the exact link between the two.

Furthermore, the research indicates that Germans are most likely to believe that anti-Jewish feelings are responsible for violence against Jews, while Spain was the only country to have a plurality which believes anti-Israel sentiments are responsible for such violence.

In all the countries surveyed, most people believe governments are doing "enough" to ensure the security of Jewish citizens.

In general, Europeans in the countries surveyed sympathize more with the Palestinians than with the Israelis, with the exception of Italy, but most respondents said they did not favour any side.

However, a relative majority in all five countries believe the Islamic Hamas movement is a terrorist organization, and support the EU boycott on financial aid to the Palestinian government.

Similarly, nearly half of those surveyed think the Lebanese Hezbollah movement is a terrorist group, although a majority believes Israel was wrong in using military force in Lebanon last summer.

The last poll of Europe by the ADL was conducted in 2005. The ADL says certain "traditional anti-Semitic stereotypes" have gained acceptance in the last two years, and only Germany did not exhibit any increase in negative attitudes.

While the survey found that overall attitudes towards Israel have changed little since 2005, fewer people now believe Israelis and Palestinians truly want a peace agreement than they did two years ago.

Foxman, who believes in a "zero-tolerance for bias," says the key to ending anti-Jewish beliefs is education.

"Individual governments, and the EU, need to find methods and implement programmes that will break down the old stereotypes" and "make anti-Semitism unacceptable in their societies," he said.

DPA

Subject: German news

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