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(photo credit: Umit Bektas/Reuters)
The Anti-Defamation League briefed lawmakers on its recent worldwide study of anti-Semitism in a presentation to the Knesset’s Immigration Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee on Sunday.
According to the ADL Global 100 Index, which was released to the public in May and summarized polls of residents of over 100 global locations, negative attitudes toward Jews are “persistent and pervasive around the world.”
Those who responded positively to six or more questions out of a set of 11 questions based on common Jewish stereotypes were deemed anti-Semitic by the New York-based Jewish advocacy group.
According to the study, one quarter of adults worldwide are “deeply infected” with anti-Semitism, while over a quarter of the respondents, 28 percent, were marked as free from any negative attitudes toward Jews.
Of the people surveyed, 41 percent said that the assertion that “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to this country/the countries they live in” is probably true, making it the “most widely accepted stereotype in five out of the seven regions surveyed,” according to the ADL.
In response to the briefing, committee member MK Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid) told The Jerusalem Post that he was “actually happy to learn that an overwhelming majority of people in the world don’t harbor negative feelings toward Jews and that those who do are predominantly in the Muslim world.”
The problem, he added, is that “those who are against [us] are very loud.”
The one area of concern, Lipman said, was the degree to which people view Jews as more loyal to Israel than their own countries, calling it an issue “which Diaspora Jews need to work out.”
When asked what should be done about this problem, Lipman responded with a chuckle, saying that “if they are more loyal to Israel I guess they should just move to Israel. If they are not then they have to find ways to make this clear.”
“The committee that I chair often discusses the topic of anti-Semitism, and there is no doubt that we need to be aware of its increase and to act to reduce it in every possible way,” said committee chairman Yoel Razbozov (Yesh Atid) after the presentation.
Speaking to the Post after the briefing, ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said that he felt that the research had found a receptive audience in the committee.
Asked about criticisms of the methodology of the ADL’s polling, Foxman said that there would be further refinements of the ADL’s questions in the future, but that he stood behind its results. However, he added, further study to understand the results of the research is necessary due to differing cultural assumptions that may have informed various groups’ answers.
For example, he said, the ADL decided to check why South Korea ranked so high on the index, only to discover that cultural norms affected the respondents’ answers.
“We had meetings with South Koreans since the poll, and they say to us ‘we want all South Koreans to be loyal to South Korea wherever they may be. So by us, it’s a positive. Jewish success or power and control of finance to us is positive,’” he said.
“We need to refocus, but basically, it’s a pretty clear indication that the person answering six out of eleven of these questions in a positive [manner] has a serious problem with Jews,” Foxman concluded.