The Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes survey conducted last year paints a worrying picture of attitudes towards Jews in the Middle East.
In the predominantly Muslim nations surveyed, views of Jews were overwhelmingly unfavorable. Nearly all in Jordan (97 percent), the Palestinian territories (97%) and Egypt (95%) held an unfavorable view. Similarly, 98% of Lebanese expressed an unfavorable opinion of Jews, including 98% among both Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims, as well as 97% of Lebanese Christians.
By contrast, only 35% of Israeli Arabs expressed a negative opinion of Jews, while 56% voiced a favorable opinion.
The survey was conducted between May 18 to June 16, 2009.
The sample size of each of the countries surveyed was over 1,000 people and the margin of error was 3%. Results for the surveys in these nations are based on face-to-face interviews conducted under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International. All surveys are based on national samples, except in Pakistan where the sample was disproportionately urban.
In Turkey, which has seen tense relations with Israel since Operation Cast Lead last January, the number of people who said they had a “very unfavorable” attitude towards Jews jumped from 32% in 2004 to 73% in the spring of 2009.
Negative views of Jews were also widespread in the predominantly Muslim countries surveyed in Asia: More than seven-in-ten in Pakistan (78%) and Indonesia (74%) expressed unfavorable opinions.
Among Nigerians, overall views were split (44% favorable, 44% unfavorable), but opinions divided sharply along religious lines. Fully 60% of Nigerian Muslims had an unfavorable view of Jews, compared with only 28% of Christians.
In general, Christians received more positive ratings than Jews, although sizable numbers in predominantly Muslim nations nonetheless expressed negative attitudes toward Christians. Unfavorable ratings of Christians were particularly widespread in Turkey, where over two-thirds (68%) expressed a negative view.
Among the Middle Eastern nations surveyed, negativity toward Christians was especially common in Egypt, where opinions were divided: 49% held an unfavorable opinion and 51% expressed a favorable view.
Just over four-in-10 in Jordan (44%), Israel (44%) and the Palestinian territories (43%) expressed critical views of Christians.
However, views differ among groups within Israel and the Palestinian territories. Israeli Jews were more than twice as likely as Israeli Arabs to give Christians an unfavorable rating (49% vs. 20%). Likewise, negativity was more widespread among Palestinians in the Gaza Strip (52%) than in the West Bank (40%).
By contrast, Lebanese opinion was relatively uniform. Few overall (12%)
or among the different religious groups – Shi’ite (17%), Sunni (14%)
and Christian (6%) – expressed a dim view of Christians.
Negative views of Christians were common in Pakistan, where 61% held an
unfavorable opinion. Indonesians were divided: many (43%) expressed an
unfavorable opinion of Christians, while just as many (45%) voiced a
Overall, only one-in-five (21%) in Nigeria expressed a negative view of
Christians. However, nearly four-in-ten (39%) Nigerian Muslims held
this opinion.For more of Amir's articles and posts, visit his personal blog.
Jerusalem Post Annual Conference. Buy it now, Special offer. Come meet Israel's top leaders