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Many Europeans still anti-Jewish, according to new report
JERUSALEM (EJP)---A large number of Europeans continue to develop "classical" anti-Jewish attitudes and prejudices, and in some cases anti-Semitic sentiments are rising, according to a new report released Monday by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
"Attitudes Toward Jews and the Middle East in Five European Countries" is a survey of France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Poland.
It revealed that a plurality of Europeans believe Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their country and that they have too much power in business and finance.
"Millions of Europeans continue to accept a wide range of traditional anti-Semitic stereotypes and conspiracy theories, including the charge that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their home country. These attitudes help incite and legitimize anti-Semitism, including violence against Jews, and give us great concern," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.
He added: "We are not surprised to find that a high percentage of the respondents in Spain and Poland hold negative views of Jews. Given each country’s history of animus towards Jews, it appears that anti-Semitism is ingrained in the fabric of each society."
Large portions of those surveyed believe Jews talk "too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust."
The opinion survey of 2,714 adults -- slightly more than 500 in each of the five countries -- found an increase in negative attitudes toward Jews, or in some instances no change, from its 2005 findings.
It was conducted March 21-- April 16, 2007.
On the matter of perceived Jewish control over government policy, the ADL found that nearly half of all respondents think "American Jews control U.S. Middle Eastern policy."
"Jews are not as powerful as they think we are," said Foxman in response to the finding, adding that Jews in the US "want to exercise power and influence just like anyone else."
Foxman said "the survey shows that there are relations between views on Israel and opinions on Jews," although he could not explain the exact link between the two.
Furthermore, the research indicates that Germans are most likely to believe that anti-Jewish feelings are responsible for violence against Jews, while Spain was the only country to have a plurality which believes anti-Israel sentiments are responsible for such violence.
In all the countries surveyed, most people believe governments are doing "enough" to ensure the security of Jewish citizens.
In general, Europeans in the countries surveyed sympathize more with the Palestinians than with the Israelis, with the exception of Italy, but most respondents said they did not favour any side.
However, a relative majority in all five countries believe the Islamic Hamas movement is a terrorist organisation, and support the EU boycott on financial aid to the Palestinian government.
Similarly, nearly half of those surveyed think the Lebanese Hezbollah movement is a terrorist group, although a majority believes Israel was wrong in using military force in Lebanon last summer.
Asked about Iran’s nuclear development, a majority believe Iran is developing a nuclear weapon and strongly support sanctions against Iran.
The last poll of Europe by the ADL was conducted in 2005. The ADL says certain "traditional anti-Semitic stereotypes" have gained acceptance in the last two years, and only Germany did not exhibit any increase in negative attitudes.
The Anti-Defamation League is a world leading organisation fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.
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