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Anti-Semitism a global concern, ADL poll says

The largest-ever global survey of attitudes towards Jews reveals anti-Semitism to be a problem second only to bias against Muslims, according to the Anti-Defamation League. The Middle East and North Africa lead the world in anti-Jewish attitudes.
Mark A. Kellner, Deseret News Modified: May 13, 2014 at 4:46 pm •  Published: May 14, 2014

The largest-ever global survey of attitudes towards Jews reveals anti-Semitism to be a problem second only to bias against Muslims, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

The Middle East and North Africa region, also known as MENA, leads the world in anti-Jewish attitudes at 74 percent compared with 9 percent in the United States, the ADL said in releasing the data Tuesday.

Although a centuries-old problem — Britain expelled its Jewish population in 1290 and Spain expelled its Jews in 1492 — the ADL said there had never before been a global canvass of attitudes towards Jewish people. The survey of 53,100 adults covered 102 countries and territories in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Oceania, and was funded by New York philanthropist Leonard Stern, the ADL said.

Laos, at 0.2 percent of the adult population, is ranked as the world's least anti-Semitic country, while the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, at 93 percent, are the most anti-Semitic.

An estimated 1.09 billion people around the world — more than one-in-four adults, or 26 percent of those surveyed — are what the ADL calls "deeply infected" with anti-Semitism, affirming at least six of 11 common anti-Jewish remarks, such as the contention that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to any country in which they may reside.

"For the first time we have a real sense of how pervasive and persistent anti-Semitism is today around the world," ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman said at a news conference announcing the report. “The data from the Global 100 Index enables us to look beyond anti-Semitic incidents and rhetoric and quantify the prevalence of anti-Semitic attitudes across the globe. We can now identify hotspots, as well as countries and regions of the world where hatred of Jews is essentially non-existent."

The global survey follows a half-century of similar polls in the United States, Foxman said. Fifty years ago, he told the news conference, U.S. anti-Semitism affected about 30 percent of the adult population, a number now reduced to 9 percent, according to the latest survey conducted globally in 2013 and early 2014.

According to the ADL announcement, "only 54 percent of those polled globally have ever heard of the Holocaust," the Nazi-led genocide of Europe's Jewish population before and during World War II, in which an estimated 6 million Jewish men, women and children were systematically exterminated. "Two out of three people surveyed have either never heard of the Holocaust, or do not believe historical accounts to be accurate," the ADL reported.

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