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Anti-Semitic Attitudes Dip in France and Belgium

Anti-Semitic attitudes fell in two countries where Jews were attacked over the last year while rising significantly in Italy, Romania and the Netherlands, a new Anti-Defamation League poll found.

The survey of 10,000 respondents in 19 countries in March and early April was a follow-up to the ADL’s first-ever global anti-Semitism poll released in May 2014.

Compared to the 2014 figures, anti-Semitic attitudes as gauged by the ADL fell from 37 percent to 17 percent in France, where in January a Muslim gunman killed four hostages at a kosher supermarket in Paris, and from 27 percent to 21 percent in Belgium, where in May 2014 a Muslim gunman killed four at the Jewish museum in Brussels.

The poll also found that concern about violence against Jews increased in France by 20 percent and in Belgium by 30 percent. Anti-Semitic attitudes also fell significantly in Germany over the last year, the survey found, from 27 percent to 16 percent.

Among the survey’s other significant findings: • Among Western European Muslims, an average of 55 percent harbor anti-Semitic attitudes.

• When asked whether violence against Jews in their country affects everyone and constitutes an attack against “our way of life,” respondents agreed at high rates in Germany (78 percent), France (77 percent) and Belgium (68 percent).

• Turkey is the most anti-Semitic country in Europe, with 71 percent of respondents espousing anti-Semitic views, followed closely by Greece at 67 percent.

• Among the countries newly surveyed, Denmark scored as least anti-Semitic, at 8 percent. Anti-Semitic attitudes in the Netherlands, United States and the United Kingdom polled at 10 to 12 percent.

• Anti-Semitic attitudes rose significantly over the last year in Romania (from 35 percent to 47 percent), Italy (20 percent to 29 percent) and the Netherlands (5 percent to 11 percent).

• Anti-Semitic views were down markedly in Poland (from 45 percent to 37 percent), Russia (30 percent to 23 percent) and Ukraine (38 percent to 32 percent).

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; 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.

Critics say those statements are poor gauges of anti-Semitic attitudes and that some actually indicate admiration for Jews.

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