Poll: Majority of Israelis Expect Anti-Semitism to Worsen in Europe; France and Poland Most Anti-Semitic Countries

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By TPS • 25 January, 2022

Jerusalem, 25 January, 2022 (TPS) — The majority of Israelis, 53%, expect the situation to worsen for Jews in Europe and France is now tied with Poland as Europe’s Most Anti-Semitic Country, according to a poll conducted by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU)’s European Forum of Israelis’ perceptions of anti-Semitism in Europe.

The poll, published on Tuesday on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day and conducted among 1,000 Israeli adults, Jews and Arabs, shows that the respondents believe that Jewish life in Europe is expected to face more hostility in the future. 53% of Jewish respondents believe the situation of Jews in Europe will worsen, with only 25% believing things will stay the same.

The older the respondent—and the more religiously Jewish they were—the more pessimistic their view on the situation.

Among Arab respondents, the dominant perception was that the situation for Jews in Europe will stay the same (52%) or even improve (20%).

Interestingly, religious orientation determined which European countries were viewed as most anti-Semitic. Overall, France, with 39%, and Poland with 33%, led the list of European countries perceived as the most anti-Semitic, with Germany far behind in third place with 15%.

However, a closer look showed that Germany ranked number one among ultra-religious Jews, France was highest among religious and traditional Jews, and Poland led among secular Jews.

Among Arab respondents, Poland and Germany ranked the highest.

Most respondents said that criticizing Israel is not an antisemitism act per se.  While only a third of Jews surveyed drew a direct link between criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism, a majority of Jewish respondents do believe that sometimes there is a link between the two.

Jews and Arabs were split on whether EU policies are anti-Semitic.  When asked whether they consider the policies of the European Union to be anti-Semitic, one-third (27%) of Jewish respondents rejected the notion outright, while an equal number (27%) believe that the policies are motivated by anti-Semitism. 40% of Jewish respondents said some are and some are not.

The rate of Arabs who saw no link whatsoever between EU policies and antisemitism was significantly higher with 53%.

Gisela Dachs, a professor at HU’s European Forum and principal author of the survey, stated that “while the majority of Israelis see a link between criticism of Israeli and European policies and anti-Semitism, the respondents were much more nuanced than Israel’s politicians. Israelis who are familiar with Europe also know how to distinguish among the various countries and that is reflected here in the survey.”

As for France topping the list of anti-Semitic European countries, Dachs said that “this did not surprise me. For a long time, it’s been an open secret that France is rife with anti-Semitism, and not just among the far-right politicians and populations. Since Israel’s Second Intifada in 2000, French Jews have started to feel there may be no future for the younger generation in France, and quite a few have immigrated to Israel to maintain their Jewish identity.”

Commenting on the future of Israeli-European relations, sociologist and Director of the HU’s European Forum Prof. Gili Drori, explained that “this survey reveals the urgency of studying the multidimensionality of Israeli-European relation. We see that alongside the very strong trade relations and formal agreements between Israel and Europe, Israelis observe the rise of anti-Semitism and the growing power of the political right in Europe with great alarm.”

The survey was conducted in face-to-face interviews in the respondents’ homes during October 5-26, 2021, and included 1,006 men and women, aged 18 and older, in a random, representative sample of the Israeli adult population.

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