New Poll: Anti-Semitism In Decline In France, Germany and Belgium, But Still A Majority Belief For Western European Muslims

AP/Jedrzej Wojnar

A new poll commissioned by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) shows anti-Semitism in France is in dramatic decline, also dropping in Germany and Belgium, but the news is not universally good. The same poll showed that more than half of all Muslims in Western Europe still harbor anti-Semitic beliefs.

Of the 19 country poll of adults conducted in March and April, the most pronounced difference compared to the ADL’s poll of 102 countries a year earlier is in France. The number of those expressing anti-Semitic attitudes in that country collapsed from 37 per cent to 17 per cent in 12 months. Germany dropped from 27 to 16 per cent, and Belgium from 27 to 21.

In order to confirm the findings the ADL polled an additional 500 respondents in France, Germany and Belgium.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, said:

“After the recent murders of Jews in Belgium and France and attacks on synagogues in Germany, we decided to look at the impact on anti-Semitic attitudes among the national population following high-profile violence against Jews and the condemnations by European leaders.

“The poll found a marked increase in concern about violence against Jews in all three countries.The results indicate that heightened awareness of violence against Jews fosters a sense of solidarity with the Jewish community and that strong condemnation by political and civic leaders makes expressing anti-Semitism less acceptable.”

Decreases in anti-Semitism were also found in Poland (37 per cent in 2015, down from 45), Russia (23 per cent, down from 30) and in Ukraine (32 per cent down from 38). However, increases beyond the margin of error were recorded in Romania (47 per cent in 2015, up from 35 per cent), in Italy (29 per cent, up from 20), and in The Netherlands (11 per cent, up from 5).

Extreme levels of anti-Semitism, higher than any other European country, were recorded in Greece, representing 67 per cent of the population (statistically unchanged from 69 per cent in 2014).

For the first time the poll measured Muslim attitudes in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. It found that an average of 55 per cent of Western European Muslims harbored anti-Semitic attitudes. Their acceptance of anti-Semitic stereotypes was substantially higher than that of their respective national populations. The only positive to take from that it is lower than the corresponding figure of 75 per cent for Muslims in the Middle East and North Africa in 2014.

Belgian Muslims rated highest, with 68 per cent harboring anti-Semitic beliefs. German Muslims rated 56 per cent, and French 49 per cent. The most widespread belief was that “Jews have too much power in international financial markets” – affirmed by 70 per cent of Western European Muslims.

In the United Kingdom 54 per cent of Muslims have anti-Semitic attitudes compared to just 12 per cent of the general population.

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