Poll: Russians don’t dislike Jews

MOSCOW, Feb. 2 (JTA) — The majority of Russians do not harbor negative feelings toward Jews and the percentage of Russians who disapprove of anti-Semitism has increased since last year, according to a new nationwide poll. A year ago, a poll conducted by the same firm, the Public Opinion Foundation, found that 47 percent of Russians said they were neutral toward those who dislike Jews, compared to 38 percent this year. Last year, 34 percent said they had negative feelings about those who do not like Jews, compared to 42 percent this year. Among other findings of the poll conducted by the foundation, a leading Moscow-based polling firm: • Seven percent of the respondents distrust or dislike Jews, 84 percent do not have these feelings and 9 percent found it difficult to answer this question; • Five percent said they approve of the people who do not like Jews, 38 percent indicated they were neutral toward such people, 42 percent were negative about the people who don’t like Jews and 16 percent found it difficult to answer; • Eight percent believe that in the area where they live there are many people who harbor negative feelings toward Jews, 31 percent said that there are few such people, 19 percent said that there are no such people at all, and 43 percent could not answer definitely. The poll was taken on Jan. 21-22 in 44 Russian regions. The sampling included 1,500 respondents in the Russian provinces and 600 respondents in Moscow. The margin of error for the sampling is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points, the pollster reported. In a related development, a group of Russian human rights activists and public figures said it would propose to lawmakers a list of books that should be banned from publication in Russia under penalty of law as inciting anti-Semitism and racial hatred. The list could embrace about two dozen titles, including “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” an anti-Semitic forgery, as well as writings by Hitler and Alfred Rosenberg, a Nazi ideologue. The list could also be used in investigations of cases involving racial, religious and ethnic incitement, the activist who backed the idea said. The initiative came from Genry Reznik, the head of the Moscow City Bar Association and a Jewish activist.

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