ADL is the world’s leading organization monitoring, analyzing and combatting anti-Semitism. Through various methods, we endeavor to keep track of anti-Semitic trends and incidents around the world. However, much of the information we gather is anecdotal and second or third hand. ADL has long conducted surveys of anti-Semitic attitudes in the United States (since 1964) and Europe (since 2002), but we lacked data on the rest of the world –particularly in countries where there is no significant Jewish community.
Thanks to the vision and generosity of philanthropist Leonard Stern, ADL was able get comprehensive data-based research on the level and intensity of anti-Jewish sentiment around the world, information that is particularly important 70 years after the Holocaust, and in a world that is getting smaller and smaller due to technology and globalization.
The ADL Global 100 is the most extensive poll ever conducted on this subject, involving 102 countries and territories and interviews with over 53,000 people. It provides important insights into national and regional attitudes towards Jews, the levels of acceptance of anti-Semitic stereotypes and knowledge of the Holocaust.
ADL believes the primary value of this survey lies in establishing a baseline for understanding global attitudes towards Jews, and through that, setting priorities for further analysis and strategies to address the challenges presented by the results.
Beyond providing a global snapshot of anti-Semitic attitudes, this survey should generate a conversation among educators, scholars, government officials, journalists and others to consider tough questions such as: Why, 70 years after the Holocaust, is anti-Semitism alive and well in diverse cultural, political, geographic and religious environments? What can we all do to prevent it from resurging even more? If these conversations begin, we have advanced the effort to counteract pernicious beliefs about Jews and expanded awareness of the prevalence of bigoted and prejudiced attitudes.
So now that ADL has all this data, what comes next? What are you doing with it?
ADL takes pride in this groundbreaking initiative, but we approach this data with great humility. There is much to digest, much to analyze, and we recognize that we may never fully understand the underlying causes for certain results.
We are sharing this data widely and are reaching out to governments, our partners in Jewish communities, NGOs and academia around the world to join us in analyzing these results and in considering how best to use this information in the ongoing effort to counteract anti-Semitism and promote Holocaust awareness.
Given the breadth and diversity of the results, we have no “single answer” solution to battling the complex phenomenon of anti-Semitism. However, ADL has expertise and resources which have been utilized to combat anti-Semitism in the United States and internationally, and we encourage governments and communities to consider adopting these and other tools and programs.
How did ADL gauge anti-Semitic attitudes among survey respondents?
The survey is framed by an “index of anti-Semitism” first developed five decades ago by a group of scholars at the University of California at Berkeley in conjunction with ADL. The index is made up of 11 classical stereotypes about Jews. In consultation with scholars, ADL set a standard in which respondents had to agree with six or more of these stereotypes in order to be described as harboring anti-Semitic attitudes. To be sure, any one question may be subject to different interpretations. However, agreeing with at least six of these statements makes clear one’s biased attitude toward Jews.
When taken as a whole, the survey questionnaire consists of 44 questions which provide a complete snapshot of attitudes in each country/territory surveyed on a number of geopolitical and socio-economic issues. The survey, in its entirety, provides a full and rich picture of respondent opinions and beliefs.
It should be noted that this survey is one measure in assessing the levels of anti-Semitic beliefs and attitudes in a particular country. It does not tabulate anti-Semitic violence or incidents, nor does it take into account intense anti-Israel hostility which at its most virulent can be considered anti-Semitic.
ADL wanted to take a snapshot of how populations in countries around the world view Jews. We identified countries with significant Jewish populations, countries which once had Jewish populations, and countries which never had or do not now have significant Jewish populations. We made a conscious attempt to include leading countries in the international community, regional leaders, as well as countries where anecdotal reports indicated problematic environments for Jews or negative attitudes towards Jews. ADL strove to include as much of the world’s population as was practical.
The Index breaks down the countries surveyed into the following regions: The Americas, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Oceania.
The poll surveyed countries representing 85.9% of the world’s total population, accounting for 96.9% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 9 of the 10 most populous countries in the world.
What are the headlines from the survey results?
We were extremely troubled by the findings that more than one-quarter of those surveyed, 26 percent, harbor anti-Semitic attitudes, representing an estimated 1.09 billion adults around the world. Only 54 percent of those polled globally have ever heard of the Holocaust and two out of three people surveyed have either never heard of the Holocaust, or do not believe historical accounts to be accurate.
Despite decades of efforts to promote Holocaust awareness and education, only 33% of those surveyed are aware of the Holocaust and believe that it has been accurately described by history. 32% believe the Holocaust is a myth or has been greatly exaggerated. A majority of people surveyed overall have either not heard of the Holocaust or do not believe it happened as has been described by history.
On the positive side, 28% of respondents did not believe any of the Index statements were “probably true.” When it comes to Holocaust awareness, while only slightly more than half (54%) of all respondents had heard of the Holocaust – a disturbingly low number — the numbers are far better in Western Europe (94%), Australia and New Zealand (93%), Eastern Europe (82%) and the Americas (77%).
For more major findings and headlines, please consult the press release on the poll.
We present this study both with a profound disappointment about the resilience of anti-Semitism, as well as with a better perspective about areas of the world where the struggle against anti-Semitism has produced positive results.
Some of the negative results were predictable – the high level of anti-Semitism in the Arab world, for example – while others were very surprising, for example the high level of anti-Semitism in South Korea.
What link did you find between hostility towards Israel and anti-Semitic attitudes?
Analysis of the data did not show any statistical correlation between attitudes towards Israel and attitudes towards Jews. In some regions and countries, notably in the MENA region, there was a strong correlation between hostility towards Israel and opinions of Jews. In others, where anecdotally there are widespread expressions of hostility towards Israel, the results demonstrate low levels of anti-Semitic attitudes.
What link did you find between levels of education and anti-Semitism?
Levels of education affect anti-Semitic beliefs differently in different parts of the world. Consistent with the findings of all of ADL’s prior polling, in the Americas, Western Europe and Oceania, the data indicates those with more education harbor lower levels of anti-Semitism. In MENA, this poll shows just the opposite –those with more education harbored stronger anti-Semitic attitudes.