Press Release

ADL Poll Finds Sharp Rise in Anti-Semitic Attitudes in Mexico

56 Percent of Population Says Jews Have “Too Much Power” in Finance


ADL Global 100 - Mexico Poll - Jews & Power in Finance Stereotype

56 Percent of Population Says Jews Have “Too Much Power” in Finance

New York, NY, May 18, 2017 … Anti-Semitic attitudes have risen sharply in Mexico in the past three years amid challenges the country is facing with a faltering economy and growing pessimism about the country’s direction and future, according to a new poll commissioned by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

ADL’s Global 100 Index Survey in Mexico found anti-Semitic attitudes have increased by 11 points compared to a similar poll three years ago. Today, a total of 35 percent of the adult population in Mexico – or approximately 31 million people -- harbors anti-Semitic attitudes, up from 24 percent in a similar poll in 2014.

The most commonly held negative stereotype, that “Jews have too much power in the business world,” is held by 56 percent of the Mexican population, an increase from 40 percent in 2014. Other findings suggest that the economic downturn and political and social instability has people looking for scapegoats, with those who are most negative about the economy tending to be more anti-Semitic.

“While Mexico’s Jewish community is thriving and rarely experiences any anti-Semitism, underlying attitudes remain a concern, particularly related to some of the most classic anti-Jewish stereotypes,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “The good news on this front is that the Mexican government takes this issue very seriously. At the highest levels, they have confirmed their ongoing commitment to combat anti-Semitism and all forms of hate and discrimination. They also continue to collaborate closely with Mexican Jewish leadership on a host of issues.”

Mexico has a significant Jewish community estimated at about 50,000 people, with most living in Mexico City. Earlier this month, a delegation of top ADL leaders led a mission of solidary with the Mexican Jewish community. In a series of meetings with community officials and government leaders, they discussed ongoing efforts in the U.S. and Mexico to address anti-Jewish sentiment and all forms of hate and bigotry and presented the poll findings in advance of their release.

The national telephone poll of 562 non-Jewish adults was conducted between January 16 and February 27, 2017. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4 percent. The findings were released as part of ADL’s ongoing research into anti-Jewish attitudes as part of the ADL Global 100, a project launched in 2014 that established a worldwide index of anti-Semitic attitudes.

Key Findings

In the survey, respondents who answered “probably true” to six or more of 11 negative stereotypes about Jews were deemed as harboring anti-Semitic attitudes. The 11-question index has been used as a benchmark in measuring anti-Semitic attitudes in the U.S. since 1964, and was adapted for use in the ADL Global 100 Index.

The biggest increase in anti-Jewish stereotypes involved canards about Jewish power in finance and questions about Jewish loyalty to their own country. The poll found:

  • 56 percent of Mexicans believe that Jews have “too much power in the business world, an increase from 40 percent in 2014;
  • 49 percent believe Jews are more loyal to Israel than to Mexico, up from 32 percent.
  • 49 percent say “Jews have too much power in international financial markets;
  • 44 percent agreed with the statement, “Jews don’t care about what happens to anyone but their own kind.”
  • Nearly two-thirds of Mexicans say they’ve heard about the Holocaust, but of those, 27 percent think the Holocaust was a “myth” or “exaggerated by history.”
ADL Global 100 - Mexico Poll - Infographic on Holocaust Reference

Nearly two-thirds of Mexicans say they’ve heard about the Holocaust, but of those, 27 percent think the Holocaust was a “myth” or “exaggerated by history.”

Consistent with previous ADL polling, the Mexico survey found that older men are more predisposed to anti-Semitic beliefs and levels of anti-Semitism are slightly higher among those who are most pessimistic about their financial future. Among those who are negative about their economic situation, 36 percent were found to harbor anti-Semitic attitudes, as compared to 33 percent of those who were positive.

At the same time, many Mexicans believe that Jews are “treated well” in Mexico, and noted that there’s rarely violence against the nation’s Jews. Fifty-nine percent of Mexicans believe Jews are treated well in Mexico, and only 11 percent said there is violence “very or somewhat often” against the Jewish community.

There’s no evidence of any major increase in physical anti-Semitic incidents in Mexico; however, there has been an increase in anti-Semitic comments online and in social media.

The poll found that Mexicans are deeply pessimistic about their future. Only 10 percent of those polled had positive views of the present economic situation, and 8 out of 10 Mexicans believe the political situation is unstable.


ADL Global 100 - Mexico Poll - Stereotype of Jews and Their Own Kind

44 percent agreed with the statement, “Jews don’t care about what happens to anyone but their own kind.”

As part of ADL’s ongoing follow-up to our Global 100 survey of 2014, ADL also looked at anti-Semitic attitudes in Germany, the United Kingdom and France. Those polls found that while attitudes increased in Mexico, they continued to decline in France (14 percent of the population, down from 17 percent in 2015); in Germany (11 percent, down from 16 percent in 2014); and in the U.K. (10 percent, down from 12 percent in 2015).

ADL also has taken a leadership role in working in tandem with the Mexican government to address issues of bias and discrimination in the U.S.  In the past 18 months, in coordination with the Mexican Embassy, ADL offered three workshops about hate crimes, bullying, cyberbullying, extremist groups, the anti-immigrant movement and anti-bias education to more than 150 diplomatic consuls from all of the Mexican consulates in the U.S.  And ADL’s 27 regional offices continue to provide assistance to consulates serving the 35 million people of Mexican heritage living in the U.S.

An October 2016 poll of anti-Semitic attitudes in the U.S. found that while anti-Semitic attitudes have increased slightly to 14 percent, the vast majority of Americans hold respectful opinions of their Jewish neighbors.