POLL: Anti-Semitism Remains Problem in Europe

Tuesday, January 28, 2014 |  Yossi Aloni

Think anti-Semitism, the kind that gave rise to the Holocaust, is dead? Think again.

A survey conducted in Poland on the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day revealed 63 percent of locals believe that there is a Jewish conspiracy to control the banking system and the world media.

On the religious front, 18 percent said the Jews were responsible for the death of Christ, and 13 percent of those surveyed still believe that Jews use Christian blood for ritual purposes.

Today, anti-Semitism is most often masked as hostility toward the State of Israel, and that played into the poll, as well, with 21 percent of respondents saying that Israel treats the Palestinians just as Hitler treated the Jews of Europe. Thirty-five percent said Israel would stop at nothing to achieve its nefarious goals.

The survey was conducted by the Center for Prejudice Research in Warsaw among a representative sampling of Polish citizens. The findings were presented to the Polish parliament by MP Michael Bilvic.

Bilvic noted that while anti-Semitic sentiment among Polish Christians was down, Jew-hatred in general had not decreased. He and many other parliamentarians agreed that education against anti-Semitism must be improved.

The problem is even more pronounced in other European countries.

The past year has seen a significant rise in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in Greece, especially those perpetrated by neo-Nazi groups. Among the incidents in Greece were statements by prominent figures denying that the Holocaust ever happened, and desecration of Jewish tombs and monuments. This new wave of anti-Semitism in Greece has been fuelled equally by the recently disbanded Golden Dawn party and leaders of the Greek Orthodox Church who continue to use anti-Semitic rhetoric and arguments as a matter of course.

In Hungary, the number of anti-Semitic incidents doubled from 2012, with violent assaults on local Jews, desecration of Jewish cemeteries, public anti-Semitic chants and the burning of the Israeli flag.

Yaakov Hagouel of the World Zionist Organization called the fact that Jews are still facing this level of hatred "appalling."

"In recent years, we have witnessed a significant increase in anti-Semitism in Europe," Hagouel explained. He called on "Jewish communities around the world and the Israeli government to work together with European governments to eradicate this phenomenon."

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