A report issued by the US-based NGO Anti-Defamation League on March 20th says that:
Anti-Semitic attitudes in ten European countries remain at “disturbingly high levels”, with large swaths of the population subscribing to classical anti-Semitic notions such as Jews having too much power in business, being more loyal to Israel than their own country, or “talking too much” about what happened during the Holocaust.
Not perhaps a shocking finding but would you be surprised that Poland is one of the worst nations of the group with the overall levels of anti-semitism being recorded as follows:
- Hungary 63%
- Spain 53%
- Poland 48%
- Italy 35%
- Austria 28%
- France 24%
- Germany 21%
- UK 17%
- Norway 16%
- The Netherlands 10%
You need to dig a little to better understand how that score is calculated. If you want to read more you can go to the report on the ADL websiteand then follow the link to the full pdf document, highlights of which I copy and comment on below. 500 people in each country were interviewed by telephone in January 2012. I have no idea how the phone numbers were selected. They were asked questions as per the text below and the number of people who answered “probably true” to at least three of the first four questions counted toward the overall score for the country, as shown above. So, 48% of Poles interviewed answered “probably true” to three or more questions (excluding the one about Christ). In fact 23% of Poles thought all four were probably true, compared to 31% of Hungarians and 25% of Spanish
Respondents across the continent were asked whether or not they thought the following four statements were “probably true” or “probably false.” 1) Jews are more loyal to Israel than to this country. 2) Jews have too much power in the business world. 3) Jews have too much power in international financial markets. 4) Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust. Respondents were also asked: Whether they agree or disagree with the statement that “Jews are responsible for the death of Christ.”. Finally, respondents were asked if their opinion of Jews was influenced by actions taken by the State of Israel and whether they believed the violence directed against European Jews was a result of anti-Jewish feelings or anti-Israel sentiment.
Interestingly, they were able to highlight some factors that influence these scores:
For the most part, those over the age of 65, those who did not continue their education beyond the age of 17 and those earning less than €11,000 per year are more likely than the rest of the population to agree with at least three of the four anti- Semitic characterizations presented in the survey.
That salary of “less than 11,000 Euro a year” equates to roughly 3,750 zloty per month which is a shade higher than the average wage in Poland and would therefore embrace a whole lot of Poles. That last question about blaming Jews for the death of Christ is an interesting one and guess which country won that particular round? Yep, Poland came top with 46%of people saying jews were responsible. Now I’m not an organised religion type of guy but surely those responsible for the death of Christ is a matter of (disputed) record isn’t it? Do the bible and other sources not make it clear how Jesus died? Excuse my ignorance but I’m trying to find out whether this question is really about
1/ who actually killed Jesus?
2/ how much of a grudge certain Christians bear (after 2000 odd years) for what they think the Jews did?
3/ the teachings or beliefs of other faiths that (may – I don’t know) blame the Jews?
Just to head off the Catholic thing at the pass, other strongly Catholic countries, Italy and Spain only scored 15% and 21% respectively, less than half of Poland.
There’s a long but seemingly objective explanation of who killed Jesus at The Straight Dope, where they conclude:
In summary, Jesus was killed because the Roman empire mercilessly put down any possible source of rebellion or riot. The empire’s agents included the Roman prefect Pilate who ordered the execution, and the Jewish high priest Caiaphus and his council who initiated the process. Assigning responsibility to an entire group of people, whether the Jews or the Romans, is stereotyping, oversimplifying, and false.
The next interesting point and little mentioned by those covering the report is about the influence of the State of Israel as opposed to Jews generally. Here we find that some of those nations scoring lowest in the anti-semitic questions scored very highly. For example, 85% of Dutch and 78% of Norwegians found their opinion of Jews was made worse by the actions of Israel. Poland was 50%. The Hungarians, apparently never wanting to miss out on a chance to diss the Jews, also scored highly here with 80%. In fact they scored highly on every damned thing! Did they pick a bad 500 or do Hungarians really feel this strongly? Lastly, the question of whether violence against Jews is a matter of anti-Israel sentiment or anti-Jewish feelings got very mixed results. Consistent with earlier comments, Norway and The Netherlands have much higher scores for anti-Israel than for anti-Jewish with the UK and Spain being the only other countries to give this priority. All the other countries thought that the violence was anti-Jewish more than anti-Israel with Poland having the biggest gap between the two putting Poland roughly on a par with Hungary as the biggest believers that violence is against Jews and not against Israel. Poland, whilst not doing particularly well in the “test” is actually improving, or at least not getting worse. When compared with similar test results from 2009 the main findings were:
- A comparison with the 2009 survey indicates that, over the past few years, levels of anti-Semitism have increased most dramatically in Hungary, the United Kingdom and Spain.
- In fact, the number of those surveyed in the United Kingdom who now respond “probably true” to at least three of the four anti-Semitic stereotypes has increased by 70 percent.
- Austria was the only country in which there was a slight decline in the percentage of respondents who believe that at least three of the four anti-Semitic stereotypes are “probably true.”
- The percentage of those believing that “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to this country” has increased by 15 points in Hungary and 9 points in the United Kingdom.
- Since 2009, there has been a 16 point increase in the percentage of Hungarian respondents who believe that “Jews have too much power in international financial markets.” In fact, three-quarters of Hungarian respondents now believe this stereotype to be “probably true.”
In general the scores for Poland in 2012 were either the same or slightly lower than in 2009. Looking the the rate of change, Poland should match The Netherlands by about 2100. All we can really say for sure about this result is that a sample of 500 Poles displayed fairly strong anti-semitic views as defined by the ADL when interviewed. How this can be portrayed as speaking for the nation is a matter of how representative those 500 were and a lot of complicated statistics.