Despite decades of education and outreach by the Jewish community, a quarter of the globe is anti-Semitic, according to a new report by the Anti-Defamation League.
ADL polled 50,000 people worldwide and discovered a widespread dislike of Jews and ignorance of the Holocaust.
The report, released May 13, concluded that the least-anti-Semitic country is Laos, while the Palestinians of Gaza and the West Bank are the most anti-Semitic people group (93 percent).
Abraham Foxman, ADL national director, said that for the first time, “we have a real sense of how pervasive and persistent anti-Semitism is today around the world.”
Among the stereotypes of Jews found in the study:
- Jews think they are better than other people.
- Jews are responsible for most of the world’s wars.
- Jews have too much control over the United States government.
The results of the survey are based on the “percentage of respondents who say that at least 6 of the 11 negative stereotypes tested are ‘probably true.’”
Alex Grobman, a leading Holocaust scholar, cites a notorious, fraudulent document as evidence for widespread anti-Semitism, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”
“Anti-Semitism has existed in one form or another throughout much of human history,” Grobman says. “In the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion,’ Jews are portrayed as manipulators who seek power over other people’s lives, and thus they come to be perceived as dire threats. The myth of an international Jewish conspiracy to control the world as advanced in the ‘Protocols’ has been exposed by historians, journalists, politicians, police and religious leaders. Yet this pernicious lie has become part of our culture because it is a convincing explanation for societal problems.”
Grobman also pointed out that “Protocols” has incited hatred in the Arab world.
“It is particularly disconcerting that this false and harmful perception of the Jews is embraced even today by leaders of the Arab-Muslim world, where the ‘Protocols’ continues to be published in vast quantities, and cited in the writings of mainstream academics, who lend credibility and legitimacy to this utter falsehood.”
Michael Brown has written that stereotypes of Jews include the belief that Jews engage in organ trafficking, kidnapping and the murder of gentile children.
JoAnn Magnuson, a leader in Christian-Jewish dialogue, took a “glass half-full” position.
“Polls spot trends, don’t deal with all factors. The fact that 74 percent had never met a Jewish person should challenge those of us who work in this field to put energy into making contact opportunities happen. Again regional differences limit opportunities.”
Magnuson also noted that opportunities exist in the aftermath of the ADL findings.
“If barely half of the sample had even heard of the Holocaust, that is bad news. But it definitely shows opportunity for a growth industry for those of us who teach the subject.”
Charles Small, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and director of the Institute for the Study of Global Anti-Semitism and Policy, sees the ADL findings in a realistic light.
“It is still surprising, but I can’t say I’ve been shocked. There is an international problem of anti-Semitism. Now there is comprehensive proof it’s time for our policy makers to take a hard look and develop policies to deal with it,” he said.
“Anti-Semitism begins with Jews, but it never ends with Jews. Others are claimed as victims, and if we care about human rights, we will work to change this reality.”
Grobman pointed out that such hatred tends to have a boomerang effect.
“The survey is distressful to Jews, but should also serve as a solemn warning to those who cherish liberal democracy and freedom. As one Holocaust history observed, ‘the occupant who drives a hole under the part where his neighbor is seated, finds that the water engulfs him as well and carries him to destruction.’ Furthermore, ‘racial and religious hatred is a luxury in which no nation or group can indulge without the danger of setting its own house on fire. It is like playing with dynamite or even worse! — with hydrogen bombs,’ warned Father John O’Brien of the University of Notre Dame. ‘The insensate fury which such hatred releases comes back to purge and bestialize the hater it degrades, demoralizes, and dehumanizes him as no external enemy can possibly do.’”
That so many people do not know about or deny the Nazi plan to kill every Jew in Europe is disconcerting to those who support Israel and Jews worldwide.
James A. Showers, executive director of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, also cited the need for education.
“The poll reveals a desperate need for Holocaust education. It’s easy for people to believe a lie when no one teaches them the truth. And it’s easier to inculcate hatred when no one is there to instill love.”