Sunday, August 10, 2014

Antisemitism in Europe?

The New York Times recently had a  news story and a Sunday review piece by Roger Cohen on antisemitism in Europe.  I remember seeing stories like this from time to time, but I don't recall any of them citing survey data, even though it's the sort of thing you could certainly take a survey on.  I looked an found a survey sponsored by the American Jewish Committee and conducted by Taylor Nelson Sofres in Austria, France, Germany, Poland, Sweden, the UK, and the United States.  It was mostly about knowledge and beliefs about the Holocaust, but had a couple of questions that are pretty straightforward measures of antisemitism:  agreement or disagreement with the statements "Jews are exploiting memory of the Nazi extermination of the Jews for their own purposes" and "Now, as in the past, Jews exert too much influence on world events."  The percent who agree or strongly agree (of those who have an opinion) for the nations:

             Exploiting       Influence
UK              27%                32%
US              27%                33%
Sweden          37%                30%
France          33%                38%
Germany         46%                40%
Austria         45%                47%
Poland          52%                60%

Speaking of "Europe" in general is misleading--opinions in Britain are no different from the US, and those in Sweden and France are not much different.  But negative views of Jews are a lot more common in Austria, German, and especially Poland.

The stories also suggested that that there was a difference in the social bases of antisemitism--that it was found among educated people or what Cohen called the "bien-pensant European left."  If we limit it to college graduates (or the equivalent):

                Exploiting       Influence
US               22%                24%
France           31%                16%
UK               25%                23%
Sweden           31%                29%
Austria          36%                33%
Germany          50%                31%
Poland           48%                49%

Compared to the average person, collage graduates are somewhat less likely to have unfavorable attitudes in all nations.  There's one case in which the are more likely to have unfavorable attitudes (Germany and exploiting the memory) and one in which they are substantially less likely (France and influence on foreign affairs).

The survey also has data on party preference, but that will take more effort to sort out, so I'll leave it for another post.

[Data from the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research]

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