Global Anti-Semitism Survey Results Thought-Provoking, Chilling

May 14, 2014

3 min read

Anti-Semitic graffiti in Madrid. (Photo: Yonderboy/ Wiki Commons)
Anti-Semitic graffiti in Madrid. (Photo: Yonderboy/ Wiki Commons)

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) released the results of its unprecedented global survey of anti-Semitic attitudes on Tuesday. Titled the “Global 100”, the survey reached over 53,000 respondents in 102 countries and territories worldwide.  The results are both fascinating a frightening, with over a quarter of the world’s adult population harboring anti-Semitic beliefs.

In 1964, an index of 11 stereotypical statements about Jews was developed at the University of California for measuring anti-Semitic attitudes.  This index has since been the basis for ADL public opinion surveys within the US, with respondents who accept six of the eleven statements as “probably true” considered as holding anti-Semitic beliefs.  The global survey, conducted between July 2013 and February 2014, marks the first time a modified version of the scale was used on a worldwide level.

“For the first time we have a real sense of how pervasive and persistent anti-Semitism is today around the world,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.  “The data from the Global 100 Index 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 non-existent.”

The Global 100 showed 26 percent of respondents, a figure which represents 1.09 billion people worldwide, harbor anti-Semitic sentiment.  Geographically, that number is higher in the Middle East and North Africa, rising to a whopping 74 percent.  In the Americas it’s 19 percent, and Oceania fares best, with only 14 percent.  What is truly disconcerting, however, is that 70 percent of all those deemed anti-Semitic by the index, admitted they had never met a Jew.

When broken down further by country or territory, the Palestinian territories showed the highest levels of animosity, with 93 percent of those surveyed deemed anti-Semitic.  Laos, in Southeast Asia, had the lowest rate of anti-Semitic sentiment, with 0.2 percent.  The next lowest results were from the Philippines (three percent) and Sweden (four percent).  Interestingly, within the Middle East and North Africa, Iran showed the least anti-Semitic attitudes, with 56 percent, while Greece had the worst levels outside that region, at 69 percent.


Despite the optimistic outlook in Laos, where there the Jewish population is nearly non-existent, countries with over 10,000 Jews, or where they made up at least one percent of the population, showed the healthiest attitudes towards Jews.  English-speaking countries, too, came out ahead, with an anti-Semitism rate of only 13 percent.

The Holocaust was another area where survey results must give us pause: only 54 percent of respondents had heard of the Holocaust.  Two thirds of those surveyed had either never heard of it or believed accounts to be inaccurate.  And the ignorance increases with time; those under the age of 35 were less likely to be knowledgeable than their older counterparts.

“When it comes to Holocaust awareness, while only 54 percent of those polled had heard of the Holocaust — a disturbingly low number — the numbers were far better in Western Europe, where 94 percent of those polled were aware of the history,” Foxman said in a press release. “At the same time, the results confirm a troubling gap between older adults who know their history and younger men and women who, more than 70 years after the events of World War II, are more likely to have never heard of or learned about what happened to the six million Jews who perished.”

The ADL commissioned First International Resources to administer the poll of attitudes and opinions toward Jews.  Fieldwork and data collection were conducted and coordinated by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research.  The statements included “Jews are responsible for most of the world’s wars”, “Jews have too much power in international financial markets”, and “Jews think they are better than other people”. The most widely accepted statement was “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to this country/the countries they live in”, followed by “Jews have too much power in the business world”.

Not everything is dismal, however; 28 percent of those surveyed did not believe any of the statements on the index to be true, while an additional 18 percent believed only one or two statements.

To view the full report, click here.

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