Most Anti-Semites Never Met a Jew

Thursday, May 22, 2014 |  David Lazarus

According to a new world-wide survey, one in four adults are "deeply infected with anti-Semitic attitudes." That is the conclusion of the Anti-Defamation League's extraordinary new global survey.

The survey included 53,100 adults from 102 countries representing 88% of the world's adult population.

People responded true or false to typical anti-Semitic statements in their native language, such as "Jews have too much power over international markets, global media, and the U.S. government," or "Jews don't care about what happens to anyone but their own kind," and "Jews are responsible for most of the world's wars."

An estimated 1.1 billion people said that at least six of the anti-Semitic stereotypes were probably true. That means that 26% of the world's population, or one in every four adults in the world today still embrace traditional anti-Semitic sentiments.

"For the first time we have a real sense of how pervasive and persistent anti-Semitism is today around the world," ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said in a statement. "The data 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 nonexistent."

The three countries with the lowest anti-Semitism Index Scores are Laos (0.2%), the Philippines (3%) and Sweden (4%).

In the United States, 9% of respondents believed a majority of the anti-Semitic statements.

The highest levels come from the Palestinian-controlled territories at 93% and Iraq at 92%. Overall in the Middle East and North Africa 74% of the population hold to anti-Semitic stereotypes. Yet in Iran, surprisingly, 56% of the population responded negatively towards the Jews.

The three countries outside the Middle East and North Africa with the highest anti-Semitism Index Scores are Greece (69%), Malaysia (61%) and Armenia (58%). In Eastern Europe, one in three still think the Jews are responsible for most of the world's problems.

Here's an interesting fact: 18% of respondents believe that the total worldwide Jewish population exceeds 700 million people! The actual number of Jewish people in the world is just over 13 million! Obviously, people who overestimate the world's Jewish population by this amount were also much more likely to harbor anti-Semitic attitudes.

Among people familiar with all the religions tested in the survey, more are unfavorable toward Jews (35%) than toward people of any other religion.

Where you get your news also matters, especially in the Muslim world. Muslims who get their information about Jews from the internet are much more likely to harbor anti-Semitic views than those who get their information from other sources. Average Index Scores by information source among Muslims: Internet 73%, Religious leaders 54%, TV 54%, Newspapers 49%, word of mouth 40%.

People in predominantly English-speaking countries are half as likely to hold anti-Semitic views (13% Index Score) as the overall global population surveyed.

Chillingly, 74% of the people surveyed said they've never met a Jewish person, including the people who believe a majority of the anti-Semitic stereotypes are probably true.

Research the ADL report here

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