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Survey finds a quarter of global population harbors anti-Semitic views

The Anti-Defamation League's survey found that people's views of Jews varied widely; 35 percent don't know of Holocaust

A new survey has found that anti-Semitism remains prevalent around the world, with one in four adults surveyed in over 100 countries expressing anti-Jewish sentiments.

The Anti-Defamation League study released Tuesday sought to create a comprehensive survey of anti-Jewish sentiment around the globe by asking 53,000 people in 102 countries to identify how they felt about common Jewish stereotypes.

The survey defined respondents as anti-Semitic if they said at least six of 11 stereotypes about Jews were "probably" or "definitely" true.

The study is the most comprehensive of its kind to date, and may help researchers, non-profits, educators and law enforcement identify hot spots for anti-Semitism.

It comes at a time of seemingly increasing anti-Semitic actions across the globe, from a French anti-Semitic comedian gaining popularity, to far-right parties across Europe who blame Jews for economic decline winning elections, to beatings and anti-Semitic graffiti popping up in places including New York and Massachusetts.

“For the first time we have a real sense of how pervasive and persistent anti-Semitism is today around the world,” said Abraham Foxman, the Anti-Defamation League’s national director, in a press release. “The data from the [index] enables us to look beyond anti-Semitic incidents and rhetoric and quantify the prevalence of anti-Semitic attitudes across the globe.”

The survey found the lowest level of anti-Semitism in Laos, with just 0.2 percent of the adult population expressing such views, and the highest level in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza at 93 percent.

Greece was the most anti-Semitic country in Western Europe, according to the survey, with 69 percent of the adults expressing antipathy about Jews. Sweden, with 4 percent, was the least.

Nine percent of U.S. respondents were found to harbor anti-Semitic views.

The survey also found that 35 percent of the global population had never heard of the Holocaust, in which the Nazis killed millions of Jews and other people during World War II.

Anti-Semitism was on average higher in Middle Eastern and North African countries than in the rest of the world. 

The survey found that in the Middle East region and elsewhere, the stereotype respondents said was “probably true” most often was: “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to [this country/the countries they live in]."

Countries located next to Israel had the highest incidence of such attitudes, and Gaza and the West Bank had by far the highest readings. 

The survey also questioned people about stereotypes such as, “Jews have too much power in the business world,” and “Jews don’t care about what happens to anyone but their own kind.”

Al Jazeera and wire services

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