Only 54 Percent of Respondents Have Heard of the Holocaust
New York, NY, May 13, 2014 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today released the results of an unprecedented worldwide survey of anti-Semitic attitudes. The ADL Global 100: An Index of Anti-Semitism surveyed 53,100 adults in 102 countries and territories in an effort to establish, for the first time, a comprehensive data-based research survey of the level and intensity of anti-Jewish sentiment across the world.
The survey found that anti-Semitic attitudes are persistent and pervasive around the world. More than one-in-four adults, 26 percent of those surveyed, are deeply infected with anti-Semitic attitudes. This figure represents an estimated 1.09 billion people around the world.
The overall ADL Global 100 Index score represents the percentage of respondents who answered “probably true” to six or more of 11 negative stereotypes about Jews. An 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.
“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.”
Made possible by a generous grant from the New York philanthropist Leonard Stern, the ADL Global 100 Index constitutes the most comprehensive assessment ever of anti-Semitic attitudes globally, encompassing 102 countries and territories in seven major regions of the world and accounting for about 88 percent of the world’s total adult population.
Available through an interactive web site at http://global100.adl.org, the survey will give researchers, students, governments and members of the public direct access to a treasure trove of current data about anti-Semitic attitudes globally and how they vary widely along religious, ethnic, national and regional lines. The survey also ranks countries and territories in numerical order from the least anti-Semitic (Laos, at 0.2 percent of the adult population) to the most (West Bank and Gaza, where anti-Semitic attitudes, at 93 percent, are pervasive throughout society).
“The level of anti-Semitism in some countries and regions, even those where there are no Jews, is in many instances shocking,” said Barry Curtiss-Lusher, ADL National Chair. “We hope this unprecedented effort to measure and gauge anti-Semitic attitudes globally will serve as a wake-up call to governments, to international institutions and to people of conscience that anti-Semitism is not just a relic of history, but a current event.”
At the same time, there are highly encouraging notes in the ADL survey.
In majority English-speaking countries, the percentage of those with anti-Semitic attitudes is 13 percent, far lower than the overall average. Protestant majority countries in general have the lowest ratings of anti-Semitic attitudes, as compared to any other majority religious country. And 28 percent of respondents around the world do not believe that any of the 11 anti-Semitic stereotypes tested are “probably true.”
ADL commissioned First International Resources to conduct the poll of attitudes and opinions toward Jews. Fieldwork and data collection for this global public opinion project were conducted and coordinated by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research. The data was culled from interviews conducted between July 2013 and February 2014 in 96 languages and dialects via landline telephones, mobile phones and face-to-face discussions. Respondents were selected at random and constituted a demographically representative sample of the adult populations.
Respondents were asked a series of 11 questions based on age-old stereotypes about Jews, including classical stereotypes about Jewish power, loyalty, money and behavior. Those who responded affirmatively to six or more negative statements about Jews are considered to hold anti-Semitic attitudes. The margin of error for most countries, where 500 respondents were selected, was +/- 4.4 percent. In various larger countries, where 1,000 interviews were conducted, the margin of error was +/- 3.2 percent.
Among the major findings of the ADL Global 100 Index:
- 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. Two out of three people surveyed have either never heard of the Holocaust, or do not believe historical accounts to be accurate.
- The most widely accepted anti-Semitic stereotype worldwide is: “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to this country/the countries they live in.” Overall, 41 percent of those surveyed believe this statement to be “probably true.” This is the most widely accepted stereotype in five out of the seven regions surveyed.
- The second most widely accepted stereotype worldwide is “Jews have too much power in the business world.” Overall, 35 percent of those surveyed believe this statement to be “probably true.” This is also the most widely held stereotype in Eastern Europe.
- Among the 74 percent of those surveyed who indicated they had never met a Jewish person, 25 percent harbor anti-Semitic attitudes. Of the 26 percent overall who harbor anti-Semitic attitudes, 70 percent have never met a Jewish person.
- Three out of 10 respondents, 30 percent, believe Jews make up between 1 to 10 percent of the world’s population. Another 18 percent believe Jews make up more than 10 percent of the world’s population. Sixteen percent (16%) responded less than 1 percent. (The actual number of Jewish people as a percentage of the world’s population is 0.19 percent).
“When it comes to Holocaust awareness, while only 54 percent of those polled had heard of the Holocaust -- a disturbingly low number -- the numbers were far better in Western Europe, where 94 percent of those polled were aware of the history,” Mr. Foxman said. “At the same time, the results confirm a troubling gap between older adults who know their history and younger men and women who, more than 70 years after the events of World War II, are more likely to have never heard of or learned about what happened to the six million Jews who perished.”
ADL Global Index: Anti-Semitism by Region
The highest concentration of respondents holding anti-Semitic attitudes was found in Middle East and North African countries (“MENA”), where nearly three-quarters of respondents, 74 percent of those polled, agreed with a majority of the anti-Semitic stereotypes that comprise the 11-question index. Non-MENA countries have an average index score of 23 percent.
Outside MENA, the index scores by region were as follows:
- Eastern Europe: 34 percent
- Western Europe: 24 percent
- Sub-Saharan Africa: 23 percent
- Asia: 22 percent
- The Americas: 19 percent
- Oceania: 14 percent
“While it is startling to see how high the level of anti-Semitism is in the Middle East and North African countries, the fact of the matter is even aside from those countries, close to a quarter of those polled in other parts of the world is infected with anti-Semitic attitudes,” said Mr. Foxman. “There is only a three-point difference when you take world attitudes toward Jews with the Middle East and North African countries, or consider the world without.”
Mr. Curtiss-Lusher added: “We are especially troubled that the stereotypes about Jews which received the most support worldwide were those generating dangerous political anti-Semitism, including the beliefs that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their own countries, that Jews have too much power in the business world, or that Jews have too much influence in finance. These stereotypes are fueled by conspiracy theories on the Internet, and in some countries it is still politically expedient to scapegoat and blame Jews for social, economic and political ills by accusing them of having ‘dual loyalties’ or even of being a foreign enemy in their midst.”
Highest and Lowest Countries
The ADL Global 100 Index found that anti-Semitic attitudes vary widely by country and by region. The 16 countries with the highest index scores of anti-Semitic views are all in the Middle East and North Africa. Greece, with 69 percent of the adult population falling into the anti-Semitic category, was the highest country outside of MENA. In other countries in the index anti-Semitism was found to be virtually non-existent, particularly in the Scandinavian countries and in Vietnam, Laos and the Philippines.
Levels of anti-Semitic attitudes are particularly low in English speaking countries. According to the ADL Global 100 Index, only 13 percent of people living in English-speaking countries harbor anti-Semitic attitudes, which is half the worldwide average.
The top countries/territories in the ADL 100 Global Index are:
- West Bank and Gaza – 93 percent of the adult population holds anti-Semitic views
- Iraq – 92 percent
- Yemen – 88 percent
- Algeria – 87 percent
- Libya – 87 percent
- Tunisia – 86 percent
- Kuwait – 82 percent
- Bahrain – 81 percent
- Jordan – 81 percent
- Morocco – 80 percent
The lowest-ranked countries in the ADL Global Index are:
- Laos – 0.2 percent of the adult population holds anti-Semitic views
- Philippines -- 3 percent
- Sweden – 4 percent
- Netherlands – 5 percent
- Vietnam – 6 percent
- United Kingdom – 8 percent
- United States – 9 percent
- Denmark – 9 percent
- Tanzania – 12 percent
- Thailand – 13 percent
“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.”
Religious Beliefs and Anti-Semitism
Nearly half of all Muslims surveyed around the world responded “probably true” to at least 6 of the 11 index stereotypes in the ADL Global 100. Likewise, Christians in Eastern Orthodox and Catholic countries are more likely to harbor anti-Semitic views than those in Protestant countries. Key findings:
- Among Muslims, which comprise 22.7 percent of the world population, 49 percent harbor anti-Semitic attitudes. In MENA, the number of Muslims holding anti-Semitic attitudes is 75 percent.
- There are substantially lower levels of anti-Semitic beliefs among Muslims outside of MENA: with Asia at 37 percent; Western Europe at 29 percent; Eastern Europe at 20 percent; and Sub-Saharan Africa at 18 percent.
- There were substantially higher levels of anti-Semitic beliefs among Christians in MENA, at 64 percent, compared with Christians outside of MENA.
- Overall, 24 percent of Christians fall into the anti-Semitic category.
- Other religions polled included Hindu, at 19 percent anti-Semitic; Buddhist, at 17 percent anti-Semitic; and “no religion,” at 21 percent anti-Semitic.
- Christians in Eastern Orthodox and Catholic countries are more likely to harbor anti-Semitic views than those in Protestant countries. This was true of non-Christians in these countries too, so there are likely larger factors at work.
Updated: May 13, 2014
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