The Weather Outside is Frightful

Another blizzard is coming through Chicago.

Julie’s post on the ADL’s 2009 European anti-Semitism survey inspired me to read the survey memo for myself [UPDATE: You know what would rock? Actually linking to the survey memo!]. The data can be a little hard to parse at times, but overall paints a rather disturbing picture.

The survey was conducted over 7 European countries: Austria, France, Hungary, Poland, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom (500 questioned in each country, MoE +/- 4%). The heart of the survey was contained in these four questions:

1) Jews are more loyal to Israel than to this country. (49%)
2) Jews have too much power in the business world. (40%)
3) Jews have too much power in international financial
markets. (41%)
4) Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in
the Holocaust. (44%)

Percentages are of respondents who labeled this statement “probably true” across all countries. Each country’s response rate for each question was also broken out individually. The worst case country-to-stereotype was Spain’s answer to “Jews have too much power international financial markets” — a whopping 74% agreed. For every question, the UK demonstrated the lowest levels of support. As noted though, the statement which got the highest overall level of support was “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to this country” (high: Spain 64%, low: UK: 37%).

The ADL then charted what percentage of respondents agreed with at least three of the above four statements. The “winners” were Spain, Poland, and Hungary, with 48%, 48%, and 47% (respectively) fitting this criteria. Austria came next at 30%, followed by France and Germany (20%) and finally the UK (10%).

The ADL also asked several follow-up questions which were not included in evaluating the overall levels of anti-Semitic sentiment. For example, 23% of Europeans believe that Jews are responsible for the death of Christ (Poland is the far and away leader in this category, at 48%). The survey also asked respondents if they felt that violence directed against Jews in their country was the result of anti-Israel or anti-Jewish sentiment. For the most part, they believed it was due to anti-Jewish feelings (38% to 24%). The exception was Spain, where “anti-Israel” held a 38% – 26% lead over “anti-Jewish”.

Finally, the ADL also tried to get a feel for whether Jews were being blamed for the global financial crisis. They asked

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 ADL here charted those answering “a little” or higher, and found that 31% of respondents blamed the Jews at least “a little” for the crisis. Hungary led the way with 46%, followed by Austria (43%) and Poland (38%).

Finally, these were the questions that elicited the strongest levels of support for each country:

More loyal to Israel: France (38%), Germany (53%), Poland (63%), UK (37%)

Power in business: Hungary (67%)

Power in international markets: Spain (74%)

Too much talking about the Holocaust: Austria (55%)

And the least support:

More loyal to Israel: Hungary (40%)

Power in business: Austria (36%), Germany (21%), UK (15% — tie)

Power in international markets: France (27%), Poland (54%), UK (15% — tie)

Too much talking about the Holocaust: Spain (42%)

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12 Responses to The Weather Outside is Frightful

  1. 1
    Mandolin says:

    Wow, scary stuff. Thanks for the info.

  2. 2
    RonF says:

    I usually don’t comment on the anti-Semitism threads. But stuff like this makes you wonder “What the hell is the matter with these people?” Where does this stuff come from?

    I’m looking at about 2.5″ out there and falling at 3:00 PM. I’m SW suburbs. How are you doing?

  3. 3
    David Schraub says:

    Locked away in my dorm room. It’s coming down pretty hard from the looks of it. Pretty though.

  4. 4
    chingona says:

    It’s 85 degrees here in Tucson.

  5. 5
    David Schraub says:

    I’ve been to Arizona before. 100 degrees in February. “But it’s dry heat!” So is an oven — that doesn’t make it any less hot.

    I spent the last four years in Minnesota. It’s balmy here.

  6. 6
    chingona says:

    I’ve been to Arizona before. 100 degrees in February. “But it’s dry heat!” So is an oven — that doesn’t make it any less hot.

    Every place has it’s dorky regional humor. One of my favorite Arizona examples is a cartoon of two vultures on a cow skeleton, with one saying to the other “But it’s a dry heat.” The day we arrived here was 115, and my husband and I each thought the other was going to call the water company to get the water turned on. Not fun times.

    Drinking beer on the porch at night in February is why we live here. The summer is like winter in the Upper Midwest. Everyone stays inside and thanks deities existent and non- for modern climate control.

  7. 7
    Matt says:

    What I find odd and interesting is that the UK has seen plenty of antisemitic incidents. The police lately have been recording something like 10 a day, including violent assaults. Yet this poll shows the UK with numbers comparable to the US – and as longitudinal comparisons at the end of the report show, a decline in what the ADL calls “antisemitic attitudes.”

    The ADL has been doing these polls periodically for a long time with roughly the same questions. As disturbing as these numbers are, clearly there’s something not being captured.

  8. 8
    Nancy Lebovitz says:

    Matt, that’s a very interesting point. While I expect that there’s a connection between routine anti-Semitism and literally violent anti-Semitism, it probably isn’t simple.

    I wonder if there’s a way for a survey to capture how much and how intensely people focus on their beliefs? Whether there’s more philo-Semitism in the US, and it has a moderating effect? Could the important thing be the balance between fear and anger?

    Or maybe the interesting question is willingness to go from belief to action–soemthing like “Have you ever deliberately insulted a person for being Jewish?”.?

  9. 9
    Jew-ish says:

    “Have you ever deliberately insulted a person for being Jewish?”?

    I don’t think many people would be able to answer that both honestly and accurately. I met a guy in Hungary who adored me, knew that I was Jewish, found it very interesting and totally ‘fine’, wouldn’t have thought of himself as even a little antisemitic, and who warned me before he met a friend of his that sometimes they tease each other about money, calling each other ‘Jew’ as a friendly insult, but that he wouldn’t do it in front of me because he wouldn’t want to make me feel bad.

    He was completely sincere, and completely was not comprehending that what’s wrong with it is not that it would make me feel bad, but that it’s just wrong, wrong, wrong. Because it’s ‘joking’/’teasing’, etc etc.

  10. 10
    Silenced is Foo says:

    I once knew a Jewish guy and a Polish guy who would constantly swap Jewish and Polack jokes.

    I have nothing else to contribute to the conversation.

    Buffalo, NY is cold.

  11. 11
    Robin says:

    “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?”

    See, the wording there is problematic. Some businessmen who happen to be Jewish did play a role in feeding a system that led to economic downturn, so technically, they are partly responsible. Their religious identity is unrelated to their shortsighted investments, but they do deserve some of the blame, if no more so than businessmen who are Christian, Muslim, or what have you. In all honesty, I’d have to choose “a little”, and I AM Jewish.

  12. 12
    Ampersand says:

    I had the same thought, Robin — the question seems poorly written.

    (Of course, that one question was poorly phrased doesn’t alleviate the problems shown by the survey as a whole.)