German survey: Spike in anti-Semitism after Gaza war

The survey showed a rise in negative views towards Israel and Jews in general between June and September, coinciding with Operation Protective Edge.

November 20, 2014 16:41
1 minute read.
Star of David burns

A Star of David burns in flames.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

BERLIN - German anti-Semitism and resentment towards Israel has risen sharply in recent months, with more than one in four respondents in a new poll equating the Jewish state's treatment of Palestinians to Nazi persecution of Jews during World War Two.

The bi-annual survey on xenophobia in Germany by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation showed broad measures of anti-Semitism on the decline over the past decade.

But it also showed a spike in negative views towards Israel and Jews in general between June and September, coinciding with the conflict between Israel and Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

More than 2,100 Gazans, 67 Israeli soldiers and six Israeli civilians were killed during the 50-day Gaza conflict.

When asked in September, for example, whether they believed Jews, because of their actions, were partly responsible for their own persecution, 18 percent of respondents agreed, up from less than 8 percent in June.

Just over 27 percent of those surveyed in September said they broadly or fully agreed with the idea that Israel's treatment of the Palestinians was no different than Nazi persecution of Jews during the Holocaust, when six million Jews were murdered.

That survey result was still down significantly from 2004, when over 51 percent of respondents agreed with this statement.

One in five respondents, in the survey of 1,915 German citizens, said Israel's policies made Jews less likeable.

"The lines between anti-Semitism and substantive criticism of Israel are becoming blurred and that is a problem," the Friedrich Ebert Foundation said in a statement.

The survey was released a week after German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned at a conference in Berlin that "hatred of Jews" was on the rise in Germany and across Europe amid spiralling violence in the Middle East.

During the height of the Gaza war this summer, Jews were attacked and slogans like "Gas the Jews!" chanted at pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Germany.

Molotov cocktails were also thrown at a synagogue in the western city of Wuppertal which had been burnt down on Kristallnacht - a Nazi attack on the Jews in 1938 - and subsequently rebuilt.

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