Zelensky has helped slash antisemitism in Ukraine says ADL

Nearly a third of Ukrainians agree with common antisemitic tropes and ideas


Ukainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stands in the town of Bucha, northwest of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, on April 4, 2022. - Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky said on April 3, 2022 the Russian leadership was responsible for civilian killings in Bucha, outside Kyiv, where bodies were found lying in the street after the town was retaken by the Ukrainian army. (Photo by RONALDO SCHEMIDT / AFP) (Photo by RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP via Getty Images)

Antisemitic attitudes in Ukraine have dropped massively since the election of President Zelensky, according to a new survey by an American Antisemitism watchdog.

According to the latest edition of the Anti-Defamation League's Global 100 antisemitism index, nearly a third of Ukrainians still agree with common antisemitic tropes and ideas.

Jew-hatred in Ukraine declined from a record 46% index score in 2019 to 29% in 2023, “potentially driven in part by the popularity of the Jewish president, Volodymyr Zelensky, whose approval ratings have risen dramatically over the last few years in response to his defiance in the face of Russian military attacks,” said the ADL.

“The dramatic improvement in antisemitic attitudes in Ukraine seems linked to the popularity of President Zelensky, a leader who is both proudly Jewish and public about his heritage,” stated Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and national director of ADL.

“While the survey findings do not directly address questions of causality, there’s no doubt that having a Jewish president who is being praised for his response to Russian aggression seems to have affected perceptions of Jews among ordinary Ukrainian citizens.”

According to the data collected by the ADL, Ukraine’s level of antisemitic beliefs, 29 per cent, is higher than Russia’s at 26 per cent. And whereas 36 per cent of Russian respondents say that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the country where they live, 38 per cent of Ukrainians agreed with that antisemitic trope.

And, according to the ADL survey, 19 per cent of Ukrainians agree that “the Holocaust is a myth and did not happen,” compared to 17 per cent of Russians.

In Ukraine, 53 per cent of respondents agreed with the country’s most common anti-Jewish stereotype—“Jews have too much power in the business world”—while a smaller number of Russians, 44 per cent, agreed with that country’s most common antisemitic stereotype, “Jews don’t care what happens to anyone but their own kind.”

Ukrainians were also likelier than Russians to say that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their home country.

The survey is based on responses from 6,569 European adults, conducted between Nov. 8, 2022, and Jan. 30, 2023. Of that number, 1,000 of the interviews were with Ukrainians and Russians.

According to the same survey, 34 per cent of respondents in the UK answered “probably true” to the statement “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the UK/to the countries they live in”.

For the statement “Jews have too much power in the business world”, nearly one in five Brits interviewed answered “probably true”.

And 20 per cent chose “probably true” for the statement, “Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust”, while 14 per cent said “probably true” to the statements: “Jews have too much control over the United States government” and “Jews think they are better than other people”.

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