European anti-Semitism and xenophobia are linked, report finds


BERLIN (JTA) — Anti-Semitism and other forms of xenophobia are closely linked among Europeans, and Hungarians and Poles are the most likely to hold extreme anti-Semitic views, according to a new report. 

The report, "The State of Intolerance, Prejudices and Discrimination in Europe," was released March 11 in the framework of a conference by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, a think tank associated with the Social Democratic Party in Germany. The foundation commissioned the new evaluation of a 2008 survey by researchers at the University of Bielefeld of about 1,000 people in eight European countries: Germany, Poland, Holland, Great Britain, Italy,  Hungary and Portugal.

Asked whether they agree with the statement that "Jews have too much influence in my country," 69.2 percent of Hungarians and 49.9 percent of Poles agreed. The lowest levels were in Holland, with 4.6 percent agreeing. Germany, with 19.6 percent, was in the middle, sociologist Beate Kuepper told JTA in a telephone interview.

Kuepper, Andreas Zick and Andreas Hoevermann evaluated the data for the foundation.

Scientists found that those with anti-Semitic tendencies also were likely to be xenophobic against other minority groups, including Muslims, as well as resentful of homosexuals and women, Kuepper said.

Kuepper said she was most surprised by the fact that Germany’s level of anti-Semitism was about average, given the strong public message against anti-Semitism, including the emphasis on Holocaust education. She also said that the results for Poland bore out those of previous studies, which show that religious-based anti-Semitism is extremely high there, at 70 percent.

Researchers find, she said, that "lots of Poles will agree" with the statement that Jews today can be blamed for the death of Jesus, "whereas in the Netherlands people would jump out of the phone if you ask them something like that."

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