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Study: Anti-Semitism, homophobia on rise in Europe

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BERLIN (JTA) — Anti-Semitism and homophobia are on the rise in Europe, according to an annual study of social trends involving xenophobia.

For the first time, the "German Situation" study, conducted by the University of Bielefeld Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence under sociologist Wilhelm Heitmeyer, included attitudes in other European countries.

The study, released Sunday, found that fear of Islam and hatred of Muslims has dropped slightly since 2008 in Europe, and that general xenophobia, sexism and racism have declined as well. Overall, Germans are no more xenophobic now than in 2002, when the first study was conducted.

But an increase in anti-Semitism could be linked to economic fears, social psychologist Beate Kupper told reporters Sunday.

"Whoever feels threatened by immigration is not only hostile to immigrants but is also anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, sexist and anti-gay," she said.

An international team of social scientists found that French and Dutch respondents were the least xenophobic, while Poles and Hungarians had the highest levels of hatred toward Jews, Muslims, foreigners and homosexuals.

On the topic of anti-Semitism, 41.2 percent of Europeans overall agreed with the anti-Semitic stereotype that Jews try to use the Holocaust for their own benefit. According to the study, 72 percent of Poles — the highest of any country — agreed with the statement, while Dutch citizens were least likely to agree, at 5.6 percent.

Nearly one-quarter of all Europeans agreed with the statement that “Jews have too much influence.“ Almost one-third agreed that “Jews in general do not care about anything or anyone but their own kind."
 

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