1/3 of Europeans: Jews caused meltdown

ADL survey: 74% in Spain say Jews hold too much sway over economy, fear Jews loyal to Israel first.

german jews 298.88 ap (photo credit: AP)
german jews 298.88 ap
(photo credit: AP)
The Anti-Defamation League said Tuesday that a survey it commissioned found nearly a third of Europeans polled blame Jews for the global economic meltdown and that a greater number think Jews have too much power in the business world. The organization, which says its aim is "to stop the defamation of Jewish people and secure justice and fair treatment to all," says the seven-nation survey confirms that anti-Semitism remains strong. The poll included interviews with 3,500 people - 500 each in Austria, Britain, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Spain. It says that in Spain, 74 percent of those asked say they feel it is "probably true" that Jews hold too much sway over the global financial markets. That is the highest percentage in the survey. Nearly two-thirds of Spanish respondents said Jews were more loyal to Israel than they were to their home countries. "This poll confirms that anti-Semitism remains alive and well in the minds of many Europeans," said Abraham H. Foxman, the ADL's national director in America. "Clearly, age old anti-Semitic stereotypes die hard." Foxman said the study's findings were "particularly worrisome" in light of the anger spawned by the global economic meltdown, and following a number of violent acts against Jews or Jewish property after Israel's military action in the Gaza Strip. Around Europe, several attacks have been reported against Jews and synagogues in France, Sweden and Britain since the Israeli offensive began in late December. Some Gaza protests in Europe have included the use of Nazi imagery, including signs and slogans comparing Israeli soldiers to German troops, the Gaza Strip to the Auschwitz death camp and the Jewish Star of David to the Nazi swastika. Britain consistently registered the lowest levels of anti-Jewish sentiment, and numbers there have fallen from a similar survey conducted in 2007. Austria also registered a slight drop in the level of anti-Semitism, while in other countries anti-Semitic sentiment either remained the same or deepened, the survey indicated. Poland's chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, who saw the survey before it was published, said he has not seen any rise in anti-Semitism in Poland since the global financial crisis has unfolded. He said an unacceptable level of anti-Jewish sentiment still exists in Poland, but that it is no worse than in other European countries. The survey showed Polish responses registered a slight rise in all but one area. On the question whether it was "probably true" Jews have too much power in international financial markets, the level was unchanged from 2007. The survey, conducted by First International Resources Dec. 1, 2008 through Jan. 13, 2009, included interviews with 3,500 people - 500 each in Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Spain. The margin of error for each country was plus or minus 4 percent. In total, about 40 percent of those questioned said Jews have too much power in the business world, including more than half of Hungarian, Spanish and Polish respondents. And 44 percent said they believe it is "probably true" that Jews still talk too much about the Holocaust.