Poll: Jews not loyal to their country
Published: 07.17.07, 11:56 / Israel Jewish Scene
One half of Europeans believe that Jews are not loyal to their country and more one-third believe they have too much power in business and finance, according to a poll released Tuesday by the Anti-Defamation League.
The poll, entitled Attitudes Toward Jews and the Middle East in Six European Countries, surveyed 3,000 adults, 500 in each of the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Hungary, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Abraham Foxman, the ADL's national director, said he was "especially concerned that the survey found a large percentage of all respondents and a majority in Austria, Hungary and Switzerland believe that American Jews control US policy on the Middle East, an old canard that has been resurrected in mainstream American and bolsters existing European attitudes."
He also told a press conference in Jerusalem that Hungary exhibited the highest anti-Semitic attitudes of the countries surveyed and the Netherlands the lowest. "The increase and high percentage of respondents in Hungary who hold negative views of Jews are disturbing," Foxman said.
"More than a decade after the fall of Communism, he hoped that such anti-Jewish attitudes would have begun to diminish rather than increase."
Attitudes to Israel in the countries polled have only changed slightly since the last poll in 2005. Respondents in Belgium (35 percent up from 26 percent), the Netherlands (39 percent up from 28 percent), Switzerland (33 percent up from 27percent) and the United Kingdom (30 percent up from 27percent) now view Israel more favorably, while Israel's favorability rating has dropped on Austria (20 percent down from 31 percent) and Hungary (17 percent down from 22 percent).
Levels of sympathy for Israelis up
When asked to think about the Israel-Palestinian conflict, levels of sympathy for Israelis have increased in every country compared to two years ago, while sympathy for the Palestinians has dropped, except in Britain (32 percent up from 27 percent) and Belgium (31 percent up from 28 percent).
Overall, half of those surveyed in the six countries believe that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their own country, with a majority in Austria, Belgium, Hungary and the United Kingdom saying they believe that this statement is "probably true."
High levels of those polled still believe that "Jews have too much power in the business world". Overall, nearly 35 percent of respondents believe this stereotype to be true; in Hungary it is 60 percent, with similar figures believing the statement "Jews have too much power in international financial markets."
Overall, 44 percent of those surveyed believe that Jews "still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust", and 20 percent continue to blame Jews for the death of Jesus.
Nearly a quarter (23 percent) say that their opinion of Jews is influenced by the actions taken by the State of Israel. Of those whose opinions are so influenced, 64 percent say that their opinion of Jews is worse as a result of the actions taken by Israel.
Europe, said Foxman, "has a continuing problem with classical anti-Semitism," although he noted that European leaders were "no longer in denial" and were prepared to admit that there was a problem that needed confronting.
He added that the older and less-educated a person was, the greater the chance of their being anti-Semitic.