Q: What happens when a Jewish blogger doesn’t read Ha’aretz every day?

A: It takes her over a week to see this story:

A recent survey conducted by the Anti-Defamation League found that anti-Semitic attitudes in seven European countries have worsened due to the global financial crisis and Israel’s military actions against the Palestinians.

Some 31 percent of adults polled blame Jews in the financial industry for the economic meltdown, while 58 percent of respondents admitted that their opinion of Jews has worsened due to their criticism of Israel.

The ADL, a Jewish-American organization polled 3,500 adults – 500 each in Austria, France, Hungary, Poland, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom – between December 1, 2008 and January 13, 2009.

According to the survey, 40 percent of polled Europeans believe that Jews have an over-abundance of power in the business world. More than half of the respondents in Hungary, Spain and Poland agreed with this statement. These numbers were 7 percent higher in Hungary, 6 percent higher in Poland and 5 percent higher in France than those recorded in the ADL’s 2007 survey.

How much can we trust a survey put out by the ADL? Is this organization at all interested in documenting and challenging anti-Semitism? How much has it dissolved into a right-wing propaganda machine?

Because if almost a third of non-Jewish Europeans believe that Jews are controlling the world’s money, I’d kind of like to know that. But the ADL has rendered itself so irrelevant to actual Jewish concerns that I simply don’t know what to do with this information. What questions were on their survey? Whom exactly did they poll? What do they plan on doing with the results?

I do think Moshe Kantor has a point, though: the rise in anti-Semitism almost certainly has more to do with the financial situation than with the attack on Gaza. Most people in countries with significant Jewish populations don’t actually care about what happens in Palestine. (If they did, they’d spend more time trying to end the occupation and less time vandalizing synagogues.) It’s just easier to set up a binary – They Are Nothing Like Us! – when you point to the Jews with the guns.

6 Responses

  1. Methodology and breakdown here.

    How much blame do you place on Jews in the financial industry for the current global
    economic crisis? Do you blame them a great deal, a good amount, a little or not at all?
    The 31% number is respondents across all 7 countries who answered “a little” or higher. High country was Hungary at 46%, low was France at 15%.

    I think the most disturbing result was this question though: “Jews are more loyal to Israel than this country” (percentages answering “probably true”), 49% total, with majorities in Germany, and Spain and Poland (both of which approach a 2/3 majority). UK was the low country at 37%.

  2. […] Julie’s post on the ADL’s 2009 European anti-Semitism survey inspired me to read the survey memo for myself. The data can be a little hard to parse at times, but overall paints a rather disturbing picture. […]

  3. How much blame do you place on Jews in the financial industry for the current global economic crisis? Do you blame them a great deal, a good amount, a little or not at all?

    You know, I might have answered “a little” if I had been given this survey, because I really would hesitate to ever say that anyone in the financial industry (unless they were a janitor or something) was “not at all” responsible for the global economic crisis. My point would be that everyone in the financial industry, including but not limited to or especially those who happened to be Jewish, bore some responsibility.

    I’d really like to see the breakdown of these question; if lots of people answered “a little” rather than “a great deal” or “a good amount,” then I’m not sure I’d take the question’s results to heart.

    But the question really should have been worded better, imo.

  4. My nit-picks about that one question aside, however, I obviously agree with you and David that the survey found a terrifying amount of antisemitism in Europe.

  5. Amp, very true. The first thing I wondered was whether the questions were actually planting the idea in people’s heads – would it have occurred to them to blame Jews if they hadn’t taken the survey? But I don’t know how much of that is objective and how much comes from my intense distrust of the ADL.

  6. Economic crises can serve as a catalyst but I think this has to be framed in the context in the general rise of the right in Europe in the past decade or so.
    Naomi Klein also made a connection between the economic collapse in ex-soviet countries and the rise of fascism there in the Shock Doctrine, though. That seems to make sense (though for some reason anti muslim and jewish sentiment is higher in Spain than even in Russia/Poland, that I have no idea how to explain.)

    Pew also did a poll on this last year with way less specific questions.
    That one’s interesting because it also covers attitudes towards Muslims and Christians.

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