European Anti-Semitism on the Rise

According to a 2008 survey hatred of Jews is on the rise in Europe. There was also a strong correlation between anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism.

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Nissan Ratzlav-Katz,

Anti-Semitic graffiti
Anti-Semitic graffiti
photo: file

According to a 2008 survey released this past week by the Pew Research Center, as part of its Global Attitudes Project, hatred of Jews and general xenophobia are on the rise in Europe. Pew also noted a strong correlation
Britain had the lowest level of anti-Jewish sentiment.
between anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism.

Spain displayed both the highest level and the most pronounced increase in anti-Semitism, doubling since 2005 to 46 percent of adults surveyed. Among European states, Britain had the lowest level of anti-Jewish sentiment, with fewer than 10 percent of those polled expressing negative views of Jews.

Thirty six (36) percent of Poles and 34 percent of Russians expressed anti-Jewish sentiments, both figures representing increases since 2005. "Negative attitudes toward Jews are only slightly less common in Germany," the Pew reseachers wrote in a November-December edition of National Interest, "where one-in-four express an unfavorable view, and in France, where 20 percent say they have an unfavorable opinion. And in both countries, negative ratings have become somewhat more widespread since 2004."

Interesting Correlations
Partially accounting for the rise in European anti-Semitism has been the views held by continental Muslims. "Though far-right groups have been responsible for the bulk of anti-Semitic incidents in Europe, in recent years, Muslim youth have also been increasingly involved in these acts," according to the Pew findings. "Negative attitudes toward Jews are quite common among European Muslims," Pew researchers concluded.

Another interesting correlation noted in the Pew Research Center's report is that "people who hold negative opinions of Americans are also especially likely to express negative attitudes toward Jews." In addition, the researchers found, respondents in the United States had the lowest levels of anti-Semitic attitudes from among twenty-four nations included in the 2008 survey (7 percent).

Taking a bird's-eye view of the Global Attitudes Project, Pew researchers noted that anti-Jewish sentiment in Europe remains much less common than anti-Muslim views and that Europeans have far lower levels of anti-Semitism than people in Arab nations. Unfavorable opinions of Jews in Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt reach levels of 95 percent or more.