Half of Poles harbour antisemitic views, new survey finds

Anti-Defamation League survey says central and eastern European respondents more likely to believe anti-Jewish tropes


V Nearly half of all Poles and one in four Europeans harbour antisemitic attitudes, according to a landmark global survey by the Anti-Defamation League.

The US anti-hate group found that many people living in central and eastern European countries were likely to believe anti-Jewish tropes, such as the view that Jews exhibit too much power in global business or that they still talk too much about the Holocaust.

Jonathan Greenblatt, the ADL’s chief executive, said the results were “deeply concerning”.

The group surveyed 9,000 adults in 18 countries with significant Jewish populations in Europe, Africa and the Americas, posing questions that it last asked in 2015.

In Poland, it found antisemitic attitudes had risen to 48 per cent of the population, a rise of 11 percentage points since 2015. Roughly three-quarters of respondents in the country, which is the location of the Auschwitz concentration camp, agreed with the statement: “Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust.”

The largest increase in antisemitic attitudes was reported in Ukraine, a country where local Jews have objected in recent years to the rehabilitation of wartime nationalist figures who had collaborated with the Nazis. The ADL survey recorded a 14 per cent rise among Ukrainian adults.

“It is deeply concerning that approximately one in four Europeans harbour the types of antisemitic beliefs that have endured since before the Holocaust,” Mr Greenblatt said.

“These findings serve as a powerful wake-up call that much work remains to be done to educate broad swathes of the populations in many of these countries to reject bigotry, in addition to addressing the pressing security needs where violent incidents are rising.”

In Hungary, where the nationalist government ran anti-immigrant poster campaigns featuring Jewish financier George Soros, 25 per cent of people believe “Jews want to weaken our national culture by supporting more immigrants coming to our country.”

The survey also found Muslim acceptance of antisemitic stereotypes was substantially higher than among the national populations in six European countries: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK.

But the scores for European Muslims were significantly lower than the results ADL polled in countries across the Middle East and North Africa region in 2014. The group said this possibly reflected the impact of Holocaust education, exposure to Jews, and societal values of acceptance and tolerance.

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