The Anti Defamation League (ADL) on Tuesday released the shocking results of its first-ever global survey of anti-Semitic attitudes in more than 100 countries around the world.
The research, which surveyed 53,100 adults in 102 countries and territories, and accounted for roughly 88% of the total global adult population, aimed to form a comprehensive index of anti-Jewish sentiment worldwide.
The results were astonishing: 26% of those surveyed, a figure representing an estimated 1.09 billion people around the world, held deeply anti-Semitic attitudes. Further, a mere 54% of respondents had heard of the Holocaust. Two out of three surveyed either had not heard of, or did not believe in, the Holocaust.
A live broadcast of the press conference presenting the findings began on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. Israel time (10:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time).
The research established global attitudes towards Jews by asking respondents to agree or disagree with 11 negative stereotypes about Jews. Interviews were held between last July and this February in 96 languages and dialects, by phone and in person.
An element that became clear was how lack of contact with Jews influenced views. 74% of respondents said they had never met a Jew, and of those 25% held anti-Semitic attitudes.
Along those lines of hating the unknown, 30% responded that Jews are between one and ten percent of the world's population, with another 18% saying Jews are over 10% of the global population. Only 16% answered that Jews make up less than one percent of the global population; in fact Jews number 0.19% of the world's total population.
The Middle East, leading the world in Jew hatred
ADL's ranking also listed countries based on their anti-Semitism to form an index. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Middle East and North African (MENA) region was the most anti-Semitic, with 74% of those polled harboring most of the negative stereotypes.
Outside of MENA, the average index score was 23%, with the second most anti-Semitic region being Eastern Europe at 34%.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, noted that even not considering MENA countries, "close to a quarter of those polled in other parts of the world is infected with anti-Semitic attitudes. There is only a three-point difference when you take world attitudes toward Jews with the Middle East and North African countries, or consider the world without.”
The top 16 countries on the anti-Semitic index were all in the MENA region, with "West Bank and Gaza" leading the pack at 93%. Second up was Iraq, followed by Yemen and Algeria. Jordan, which has a tenuous peace treaty with Israel, came in ninth.
The most anti-Semitic country outside of the MENA region was Greece, which scored 69%. On the other side of the spectrum, Laos had the lowest level of anti-Semitic views, coming in at a mere 0.2%, followed by the Philippines and Sweden.
Research finds half of the world's Muslims are anti-Semitic
Another perhaps unsurprising finding was that Muslims, who comprise 22.7% of the world's population, led the religious groups in anti-Semitism. A full 49% of Muslim respondents held anti-Semitic views, with a significantly higher proportion of 75% of Muslims in the MENA region holding such attitudes.
In total, 24% of Christians were anti-Semitic according to the survey, with Christians in the MENA region showing much higher anti-Semitism at 64%.
The religious break-down revealed that those listing "no religion" were 21% anti-Semitic, while Hindus were 19% and Budhists 17%.
“For the first time we have a real sense of how pervasive and persistent anti-Semitism is today around the world,” commented Foxman. He added that the research "enables us to look beyond anti-Semitic incidents and rhetoric and quantify the prevalence of anti-Semitic attitudes across the globe. We can now identify hotspots, as well as countries and regions of the world where hatred of Jews is essentially non-existent.”
Regarding those areas of lesser anti-Semitism, majority English-speaking countries were found to have 13% anti-Semitic attitudes, far lower than the total average.
ADL National Chair Barry Curtiss-Lusher remarked on the goals of the research, saying "we hope this unprecedented effort to measure and gauge anti-Semitic attitudes globally will serve as a wake-up call to governments, to international institutions and to people of conscience that anti-Semitism is not just a relic of history, but a current event.”