BY LAUREN MARKOE ©2014 Religion News Service
The first-ever global study of anti-Semitic
attitudes shows that more than a quarter of the world’s population harbors
intense anti-Jewish sentiment, with region, more than religion, shaping
people’s view of Jews and Judaism.
The poll, released May 13 by the New York-based
Anti-Defamation League, also finds that a large proportion of the world has
never heard of the Holocaust or denies historical accounts of it.
Of those polled, 46 percent have either
not heard of the Holocaust that killed 6 million Jews or think it is a
myth or exaggerated.
“For the first time we have a real sense of how
pervasive and persistent anti-Semitism is today around the world,” said Abraham
H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League.
He called the results of the Global 100 Index
“sobering but not surprising” and said it would serve as a baseline for the ADL
to understand where anti-Semitism is most prevalent and where education is most
necessary. The results of the survey of 102 nations and territories revealed
stark regional differences, and hotspots of anti-Semitism around the globe.
The survey found that the least anti-Semitic
place in the world is Laos, where anti-Semitic beliefs are held by just 0.2
percent of the population. The most anti-Semitic place is in Israel’s backyard,
the West Bank and Gaza, where 93 percent of people held anti-Semitic
The 10 most anti-Semitic countries and
territories, according to the survey, are the West Bank and Gaza, Iraq, Yemen,
Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan and Morocco.
The 10 least anti-Semitic countries, surveyors
found, are Laos, the Philippines, Sweden, the Netherlands, Vietnam, the United
Kingdom, the United States, Denmark, Tanzania and Thailand.
In the U.S., 9 percent of those surveyed revealed
The poll is based on 11 questions that
refer to common stereotypes about Jews, such as “Jews have too much power in
international financial markets” and “Jews are responsible for most of the
world’s wars.” Those who answered “probably true” to six or more questions
were deemed to be anti-Semitic.
Overall, 28 percent of respondents answered “no”
to all 11 stereotypes presented of Jews when asked if they were true.
Asked if a person could still be considered
anti-Semitic for affirming only three anti-Semitic stereotypes, Foxman said the
ADL purposely set the bar for anti-Semitism very high, so as to make its
The ADL found that much of the world greatly
overestimates the global Jewish population: Nearly half the respondents
(48 percent) believe that Jews account for more than 1 percent of the
population, and nearly one in five (18 percent) believe they make up 10
percent. In reality, Jews account for 0.19 percent of the world’s people.