Call it Abraham Foxman’s swan song. The world still doesn’t like Jews.
Or at least 1.09 billion don’t, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
Those are the results of the recently released The ADL Global 100: An Index of Anti-Semitism, an unprecedented study that surveyed 53,100 adults in 102 countries across the world, representing 88.4 percent of the world’s total adult population. Participants were given a set of eleven statements that they could either answer “probably true” or “probably false”. Statements included general anti-Semitic tropes of double-loyalty, Jewish control of global affairs and financial markets and Jewish responsibility for world wars. Respondents who gave the “probably true” answer to six or more statements were deemed to harbor anti-Semitic views. The results weren’t pretty.
“For the first time we have a real sense of how pervasive and persistent anti-Semitism is today around the world,” said Foxman, ADL National Director.
Aside from the estimated 1.09 billion who harbor anti-Semitic views, only 53 percent of respondents heard about the Holocaust, and two out of three surveyed have either never heard of it or do not believe the historical accuracy of the Holocaust. Among Muslims, 49 percent harbor anti-Semitic views and in the Middle East and Northern Africa, the number jumps to 75 percent. Unsurprisingly, people in the Gaza Strip have the highest level of anti-Semitic beliefs at 93 percent, with Iraq following close behind at 92. The most highly accepted anti-Semitic stereotype is that Jews are more loyal to Israel than the countries they inhabit. The second most popular stereotype is that Jews have too much control in the business world.
There were some bright spots though.
Only 13 percent of the population in English-speaking country harbor anti-Semitic viewpoints and in countries with Protestant majority the number drops to 11 percent. Only eight percent of people in the United Kingdom harbor anti-Semitic views and only nine percent in the US. Ninety-four percent of those surveyed in Western Europe had heard of the Holocaust. And of the 26 percent of the population that harbors anti-Semitic views, 70 percent have never actually met a Jewish person, which gives strength to the adage that we’re nice once you get to know us. Countries with larger Jewish populations tended to have less anti-Semitic views.
Some surprising and strange nuggets form the survey:
- More people in Greece harbor anti-Semitic views than in Iran.
- Education seemingly counters anti-Semitic viewpoints in Western countries with the more educated reporting less anti-Semitic views. This is the opposite in the Middle East and North Africa, where those with more education were more likely to hold anti-Semitic views.
- People in Laos harbor the least amount of anti-Semitic viewpoints with only 0.2 percent, followed by Philippines at 3 percent and Sweden at 4. Who wants to launch a Pesach program in Laos?
- The Jewish population is vastly overestimated. The more people overestimate the Jewish population the more likely they are to harbor anti-Semitic viewpoints.
- Most people learn about Jews from television.
- Men are more likely to harbor anti-Semitic views than women.
Foxman, 74, the longtime head of the ADL announced in February that he will retire at the end of the year.
You can check out an interactive summary of the study here. The executive summary is here.
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.