Thursday, July 19, 2007

Anti-Semitism in Europe persists 

ADL poll: Classic anti-Semitic attitudes in Europe persist

By Haaretz Correspondent and Agencies , By Amiram Barkat
Thu., July 19, 2007 Av 4, 5767

Fifty percent of Europeans in six countries believe that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their home country; 34.5 percent agree that Jews have too much financial and business clout; and 43 percent said Jews talk too much about the Holocaust, according to a poll released yesterday by the Anti-Defamation League.

The survey of respondents in Austria, Belgium, Britain, Hungary, the Netherlands and Switzerland showed a rise in anti-Semitic attitudes, but also a rise in positive views of Israel, in contrast to the Palestinians, since a similar poll was conducted in 2005.

ADL National Director Abraham Foxman called the questioning of Jewish loyalty the most distressing, disturbing, and frightening issue, as it was liable to fuel anti-Semitic incidents.

"Millions of Europeans continue to accept a wide range of traditional anti-Semitic stereotypes and conspiracy theories, including the charge that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their home country," Foxman said at a news conference in Jerusalem. "Despite the fact that individual governments and the EU have condemned anti-Semitism and sought ways to counteract it, these attitudes die hard and help incite and legitimize anti-Semitic acts, including violence against Jews."

According to the survey, an overall 49.7 percent of respondents said it was probably true that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their home countries, compared with 38.2 percent in 2005. A breakdown of the results showed that view was most widely held in Austria and Belgium, where 54 percent of those polled agreed, compared to Switzerland, with 44 percent.

Other questions showed wider differences between countries. The research showed that anti-Semitic attitudes were particularly marked in Hungary, where 61 percent of respondents said that it was probably true that Jews have too much power in international financial markets, up from 55 percent in 2005, and that 60 percent believed that Jews have too much power in the business world. Only 11 percent in the Netherlands held the same view.

An average of 34.5 percent across the six countries agreed that Jews have too much financial and business clout, compared with 26.7 percent two years ago.

Asked about recent initiatives to boycott Israel by academic and journalists' unions in Britain, 43 percent of U.K. respondents said they opposed such attempts, while 37 percent favored them.

In Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, respondents said they viewed Israel more favorably than in 2005. The favorable rating for Israel dropped, meanwhile, in Austria and Hungary.

Foxman said he was "especially concerned that the survey found a large percentage of all respondents, and a majority in Austria, Hungary and Switzerland, believe that American Jews control U.S. policy on the Middle East, an old canard that has been resurrected in mainstream America and bolsters existing European attitudes."

The survey conducted by Taylor Nelson Sofres between May 29 and Jun 18 interviewed 500 adults in each of the six countries, and had a margin of error of 4.5 percentage points.

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