On May 13, the New York-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) released a comprehensive survey of anti-Semitism in more than 100 countries and territories around the world.
The ADL survey was based on a reading of 11 classic stereotypes about Jews: Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the country they live in; Jews have too much power in the business world; Jews have too much power in international financial markets; Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust; Jews don’t care what happens to anyone but their own kind; Jews have too much control over global affairs; Jews have too much control over the United States government; Jews think they are better than other people; Jews have too much control over the global media; Jews are responsible for most of the world’s wars; and people hate Jews because of the way Jews behave.
Someone answering yes to six or more of the stereotypes was deemed to be anti-Semitic.
The results are fascinating, both in the global scope and in region-by-region, country-by-country, and even by age and religious demographic breakdowns.
Around the world, 26 per cent of adults were deemed to be anti-Semitic. Unsurprisingly, the highest regional rate was in the Middle East and North Africa where 74 per cent of the population was found to be anti-Semitic. The lowest regional rate was 14 per cent in Oceania (Australia, New Zealand, etc.).
The Americas had a regional rate of 19 per cent. Western Europe was at 24 per cent, while Eastern Europe was 34 per cent. Asia was 22 per cent, while sub-Saharan Africa was at 23 per cent (in sharp contrast to North Africa).
Sadly, but not surprisingly, the highest rate of anti-Semitism in the world, 93 per cent, was found among Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Rates were high in all of the Arab countries, even in Jordan (81 per cent) and Egypt (75 per cent), where rates of anti-Semitism did not seem to have been much affected by peace treaties with Israel, and in Morocco (80 per cent), which had a historically important Jewish community and where several thousand Jews still live. In fact, the Moroccan rate was higher than in Lebanon (78 per cent) and Saudi Arabia (74 per cent).
Perhaps the most surprising result in the Middle East and North Africa was that Iran, at 56 per cent, had the lowest rate of anti-Semitism in that part of the world. Despite all of the deeply anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist propaganda – including Holocaust denial – of Iran’s Islamist government in recent years, nearly half of the people there are not anti-Semitic according to the ADL standard.
Things are generally less bleak in the Western world. In the United States, which has the biggest population of Jews in the Diaspora, only nine per cent of the population is anti-Semitic according to the ADL standard. Here in Canada, the figure is higher at 14 per cent, but still well below the global average.
Western Europe is a study in contrasts. In the United Kingdom, where the movement to delegitimize Israel in academia is particularly noisy, the rate is only eight per cent. Meanwhile, in Greece, a country that has been developing close ties with Israel, the rate is horrendous at 69 per cent.
France, which has the biggest population of Jews in Europe, is particularly concerning with a rate of 37 per cent, well above both the global average and the average for Western Europe.
Among the saddest results of the survey and demographic breakdown are that only 54 per cent of people around the world have even heard of the Holocaust, and that 70 per cent of those considered anti-Semitic have never even met a Jewish person.
The results of the survey are presented on an excellent interactive website – http://global100.adl.org/ – that allows you to navigate the results in all sorts of ways.
However, as interesting as the results are, questions must be asked about the reliability and interpretation of the methodology.
Does the presentation of negative stereotypes lead directly to some degree of negative response? And, is a person really anti-Semitic, if he or she agrees with six negative stereotypes about Jews, but not anti-Semitic if he or she agrees with only five?