The ADL poll of adults in 19 countries, fielded March 10 through April 3, 2015, found minimal change in the levels of anti-Semitic attitudes in most of the countries compared to a year ago, when the League polled 102 countries in a groundbreaking worldwide survey of anti-Semitism, the ADL Global 100 Index.
The most pronounced difference was found in France – scene of the horrific terror attacks earlier this year targeting Jews and journalists – where the number of those expressing anti-Semitic attitudes plummeted from 37% in 2014 to 17% in 2015. Germany likewise experienced a decline from 27% to 16%, and Belgium from 27% to 21%. ADL polled an additional 500 respondents in each of these three countries to confirm the overall declines in anti-Semitic attitudes.
For the first time, the ADL poll measured Muslim attitudes toward Jews in six countries in Western Europe finding that acceptance of anti-Semitic stereotypes by Muslims in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom was substantially higher than among the national population in each country.
"After the recent murders of Jews in Belgium and France and attacks on synagogues in Germany, we decided to look at the impact on anti-Semitic attitudes among the national population following high-profile violence against Jews and the condemnations by European leaders," said ADL National Director Abraham Foxman.
"The poll found a marked increase in concern about violence against Jews in all three countries. The results indicate that heightened awareness of violence against Jews fosters a sense of solidarity with the Jewish community and that strong condemnation by political and civic leaders makes expressing anti-Semitism less acceptable.
"The ADL Global 100 Index is the benchmark of anti-Semitic attitudes around the world, and we plan to continue polling periodically to measure changes and the effect of events on anti-Jewish attitudes."
In the 2015 follow-up to its groundbreaking inaugural Global 100 Index survey released last year, ADL polled 10,000 adults on their attitudes and opinions toward Jews in 19 countries, including nine countries in Western Europe and six countries in Eastern Europe. The poll also includes new findings for Argentina, the United States, Iran and Turkey. The margin of error is +/- 4.4% in all countries except the US, where the margin of error was +/- 3.2%.
Respondents who answered "probably true" to six or more of 11 negative stereotypes about Jews were deemed as holding anti-Semitic attitudes. The 11-question index has been used by ADL as a key metric in measuring anti-Semitic attitudes in the United States for the last 50 years.
Some of the 2015 ADL poll’s specific findings in Europe include:
- Compared to the 2014 poll, concern about violence against Jews increased by 20% in France, 31% in Belgium, and 33% in Germany.
- In France, Germany and Belgium, large majorities expressed solidarity with Jewish victims of violence. When asked whether "violence against Jews in this country affects everyone and is an attack on our way of life," 77% agreed in France, 68% in Belgium and 78% in Germany.
- A majority of people (69%) in France agree that "recently, my country’s government has been more active in confronting expressions of anti-Jewish sentiment."
- Greece continues to show extremely high levels of anti-Semitism, scoring significantly higher than any other European country. In Greece, 67% of the population was found to harbor anti-Semitic attitudes (essentially unchanged from 69% in 2014).
- The 2015 poll reported increases in anti-Semitic views beyond the margin of error in Romania (47% in 2015, up from 35%), in Italy (29% in 2015, up from 20%), and in The Netherlands (11% in 2015, up from 5%). Decreases in anti-Semitic views were found in Poland (37% in 2015, down from 45%), in Russia (23% in 2015, down from 30%), and in Ukraine (32% in 2015, down from 38%).
New findings on anti-Semitism among Muslims
For the first time, the ADL poll measured Muslim attitudes in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK An average of 55% of Western European Muslims harbored anti-Semitic attitudes. Acceptance of anti-Semitic stereotypes by Muslims in these countries was substantially higher than among the national population in each country, though lower than corresponding figures of 75% in 2014 for Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Interviews were conducted in those regions with significant Muslim populations in each country. The margin of error for Muslims in each country is +/-9.8%, and for the combined Western European Muslim oversample for all six countries is +/-4%.
Most prevalent was the belief that "Jews have too much power in international financial markets" – an anti-Jewish canard affirmed by 70% of Western European Muslims.
On most conspiracy-related statements, scores of European and MENA Muslims showed little difference. On negative statements about Jewish character, e.g. "people hate Jews because of the way they behave" and "Jews think they are better than other people," European Muslims scored substantially lower than MENA Muslims.
The anti-Semitism index scores were extremely high for Muslims across all six of the European countries sampled, with the lowest level recorded in France:
- Belgium: 68% of Muslims harbor anti-Semitic attitudes, compared to 21% overall;
- Spain: 62%, compared to 29% overall;
- Germany: 56%, compared to 16% overall;
- Italy: 56%, compared to 29% overall;
- United Kingdom: 54%, compared to 12% overall;
- France: 49%, compared to 17% overall.