European Public Sharply Divided Over Admitting Refugees
New York, NY, May 18, 2017 … Anti-Semitic attitudes continue to decline in three Western European nations with significant Jewish communities, according to a new survey of attitudes commissioned by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which also found sharply divided views about immigrants and refugees.
ADL’s Global 100 Survey, a poll of public attitudes toward Jews, found improvements in the overall anti-Semitism index scores for France and Germany and continuing good scores for the United Kingdom. In France, the country with the largest Jewish community outside of Israel and the U.S., the number of those harboring anti-Semitic attitudes declined to 14 percent of the adult population in 2017, down from 17 percent two years ago and 37 percent in 2014.
Germany’s numbers also declined – from 16 percent in 2015 to 11 percent today. In the U.K., the index has remained low and relatively constant in recent years, with slight fluctuations from 8 percent of the population in 2014, to 12 percent in 2015 to 10 percent in 2017. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.
“The good news is that anti-Semitic attitudes are declining in France and Germany, where we have been concerned for some time about the prevalence and endurance of such stereotypes, and remain low in the U.K.,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “Yet we are still concerned about anti-Semitism on the political scene, particularly in France’s National Front, in the Alternative for Germany party, and in the U.K. Labour party. Distressingly high levels of anti-Semitic incidents still occur in all three countries, and reported incidents are at an all-time high in the U.K.”
In the survey, 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 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.
Significant numbers of respondents in each of the three countries voiced concern about growing anti-Semitic rhetoric in politics. More than one-quarter of those polled in each country think there is more anti-Jewish rhetoric in politics recently. Three out of four Germans are concerned about anti-Semitism on the right, while one in four are concerned about anti-Semitism on the political left. In the U.K., 36 percent of respondents believe anti-Semitism is a problem among left-wing parties.
On a positive note, strong majorities believe Jews are treated well in their societies. In all three countries more than three-quarters of those polled believe that the treatment of Jews is “excellent” or “good.” However, in France, 43 percent of those polled say that violence against Jews happens often in their country, significantly higher than the 11 percent in Germany and 6 percent in the U.K. France has witnessed a series of violent anti-Semitic terror attacks in recent years, including the deadly hostage siege at the Hyper Cacher kosher market in Paris in 2015.
The ADL poll found sharp division as to whether their countries are taking in too many immigrants. In Germany, for example, 43 percent of those polled said the amount of immigration is “about right” while 44 percent said “too many” and 9 percent responded “too few.”
The top concern with admitting Muslim refugees was an increase in terrorism. This was particularly true in Germany, where 38 percent said this was a major concern. But in all three countries, a majority said they would be comfortable living alongside Muslim neighbors.
The most commonly held anti-Semitic stereotype in the three countries is the notion that Jews are “more loyal to Israel” than to their own country. In Germany, 45 percent of the public agreed with this statement; in France 33 percent agreed; and in the U.K., 32 percent agreed. Those numbers are virtually unchanged from past polls.
A smaller percentage of respondents in the three countries agreed with the statement that “Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust.” In Germany, 37 percent agreed with this statement, followed by 29 percent in France, and 20 percent in the U.K.
The national telephone poll of 1,500 non-Jewish adults (500 in each of the three countries) was conducted between January 16 and February 27, 2017. The findings were released as part of ADL’s ongoing research under the ADL Global 100 Index, a project launched in 2014 that established a worldwide index of anti-Semitic attitudes.
The latest Global 100 also looked at anti-Semitic attitudes in Mexico, finding that attitudes have risen sharply there in the past few years, increasing 35 percent of the adult population.