NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – More than a billion people are estimated to hold deeply anti-Semitic attitudes, according to a global survey conducted by the Anti-Defamation League.
Slightly more than half of those polled – 54 percent – said they have heard of the Holocaust. Two out of three people surveyed have either never heard of the Holocaust or do not believe historical accounts to be accurate, according to the ADL Global 100.
Adults in more than 100 countries were surveyed to gauge anti-Jewish sentiment. The respondents were asked to respond “probably true” or “probably false” to 11 negative stereotypes about Jews, including age-old stereotypes about Jewish power, loyalty, money and behavior.
WEB EXTRA: ADL Global 100
The ADL defined those who answered “probably true” to six or more of the 11 questions as having anti-Semitic attitudes. In all, 26 percent of those polled were found to hold anti-Jewish sentiment – roughly 1.09 billion people worldwide.
“For the first time we have a real sense of how pervasive and persistent anti-Semitism is today around the world,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “The data from the Global 100 Index enables us to look beyond anti-Semitic incidents and rhetoric and quantify the prevalence of anti-Semitic attitudes across the globe. We can now identify hotspots, as well as countries and regions of the world where hatred of Jews is essentially non-existent.
“There was some good news; 74 percent were free of anti-Semitism, or not seriously infected,” Foxman added.
The most widely accepted anti-Semitic stereotype worldwide is: “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to this country/the countries they live in,” according to the survey. Overall, 41 percent of those questioned believe this statement to be “probably true.” In the U.S., more than 3 in 10 – 31 percent of respondents – agreed with that statement.
The second most widely accepted stereotype globally is “Jews have too much power in the business world.” Overall, 35 percent of those surveyed believe this statement to be “probably true.”
“We were profoundly disappointed about the resilience of anti-Semitism in many countries where we had hoped to see lower numbers, particularly some in Eastern Europe that experienced the war and the Holocaust firsthand,” Mr. Foxman said. “On the other hand, there is a silver lining in countries such as Denmark, the U.K., the Netherlands and Sweden – all Protestant majority countries – where we found incredibly low levels of anti-Semitic beliefs. The Czech Republic stands out as well as being one of the lowest-ranked countries in Eastern Europe, with only 13 percent of the population manifesting anti-Semitic views. This is a testament to the high levels of tolerance and acceptance in Czech society.”
Overall, the United States tied for the seventh lowest rate of anti-Semitism of countries polled, with 9 percent of respondents holding anti-Semitic attitudes.
The U.S. has the largest number of Jews in the world outside of Israel. A study conducted late last year found 13 percent of Jews in the U.S. live in New York City. Another 7 percent of the nation’s Jews live on Long Island and in Westchester County, according to the study’s findings.
Thirty percent of respondents believer Jews make up between 1 and 10 percent of the world’s population. Another 18 percent believe Jews make up more than 10 percent of the world’s population. Jews make up just 0.19 percent of the world’s population.
The 16 countries with the highest index scores of anti-Semitic views are all in the Middle East and North Africa. The West Bank and Gaza topped the list, with 93 percent of the adult population holding anti-Semitic views.
Nearly half of all Muslims surveyed – 49 percent – were found to hold anti-Semitic views.
Greece, with 69 percent of the adult population falling into the anti-Semitic category, was the highest country outside of that region.
Laos had the lowest rate of anti-Semitism in the world, with 0.2 percent of respondents reaching the threshold.
The ADL Global 100 Index found 13 percent of people living in English-speaking countries harbor anti-Semitic attitudes. That percentage is half the worldwide average.
Foxman said education is the only course of action that would provide the possibility of people being less prejudiced.
“Education is still the only antidote, education is slow but it’s the only thing that we know works,” Foxman told 1010 WINS. “The higher the level of education, the lower the level of prejudice, the lower the level of anti-Semitism.”
Foxman said he found the results of the poll sobering.
“We know that there is anti-Semitism in the world, I think what was sobering is to the extent to which it exists,” he said.
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