Poll: Almost One Quarter of British ‘Unwilling’ to Have a Jew in the Family

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A poll on attitudes to minorities in Western Europe found nearly a quarter of British respondents would be unwilling to accept Jews as family members.

The Pew Research Center’s report titled Being Christian in Western Europe was published Wednesday and contains statistical analysis drawn from interviews with more than 24,000 randomly selected adults in 15 countries.

It reveals one-quarter of all the respondents in Italy — Christian and non-religious combined — said they would not be willing to accept a Jew as a family member. The comparable figure in Britain was 23 percent, in Austria 21 percent and 29 percent in Germany. The poll has a margin of error of up to 3 percent.

But the report added: “This is not to say that most Christians hold these views: On the contrary, by most measures and in most countries surveyed, only minorities of Christians voice negative opinions about immigrants and religious minorities.”

The highest level of acceptance of Jews as family members was in the Netherlands, where 96 percent of 1,497 respondents said they would have no problem with a Jew joining their family.

In Germany, 19 percent of 2,211 respondents said they would not accept a Jewish relative. In Austria, non-acceptance was at 21 percent. The mostly Catholic nations of Spain, Portugal and Ireland also had high non-acceptance levels at 13, 18 and 18 percent, respectively.

In most western European countries, people were likely to say that they knew “not much” or “nothing at all” about Judaism – in the UK, over two thirds of people, 67 per cent responded as such.

The statement that “Jews always pursue their own interests and not the interest of the country they live in” received the highest levels of agreement in Portugal and Spain, with 36 and 31 percent of 1,501 and 1,499 respondents in those two countries, respectively. Next were Italy, Belgium and Norway, with 31, 28 and 25 percent, respectively.

However, the report stresses: “The survey data show a statistical correlation – not a clear relationship of cause and effect.”

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