Poll: 31% of Europeans blame Jews for global financial crisis
By Natasha Mozgovaya, Haaretz Correspsondent, and Haaretz Service
A recent survey conducted by the Anti-Defamation League found that anti-Semitic attitudes in seven European countries have worsened due to the global financial crisis and Israel’s military actions against the Palestinians.
Some 31 percent of adults polled blame Jews in the financial industry for the economic meltdown, while 58 percent of respondents admitted that their opinion of Jews has worsened due to their criticism of Israel.
The ADL, a Jewish-American organization polled 3,500 adults – 500 each in Austria, France, Hungary, Poland, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom – between December 1, 2008 and January 13, 2009. Advertisement
According to the survey, 40 percent of polled Europeans believe that Jews have an over-abundance of power in the business world. More than half of the respondents in Hungary, Spain and Poland agreed with this statement. These numbers were 7 percent higher in Hungary, 6 percent higher in Poland and 5 percent higher in France than those recorded in the ADL's 2007 survey.
Nearly half of the respondents in each of the countries said that Jews were more loyal to Israel than to their home country. Twenty-three percent said that their opinion of Jews was influenced by Israel's military and political activities.
Another 44 percent of respondents said it was "probably true" that Jews reference the Holocaust too much, while 23% said that they still blame Jews for the death of Jesus.
"This poll confirms that anti-Semitism remains alive and well in the minds of many Europeans," said Abe Foxman, the National Director of Anti-Defamation League. "In the wake of the global financial crisis, the strong belief of excessive Jewish influence on business and finance is especially worrisome."
Late last year, the ADL reported a major upsurge in the number of anti-Semitic postings on the Internet relating to the financial crisis engulfing the United States.
The Jewish-American organization cited hundreds of posts regarding the bankrupt investment bank Lehman Brothers and other institutions affected by the subprime mortgage crisis.
The messages railed against Jews in general, with some charging that Jews control the U.S. government and finance as part of a "Jew world order" and therefore are to blame for the economic turmoil.
The arrest of Wall Street financier Bernard Madoff, who allegedly swindled $50 billion from investors, prompted an outpouring of anti-Semitic comments on mainstream and extremist Web sites, according to the ADL.
The ADL said some of the posts on the highly trafficked sites spread conspiracy theories about Jews stealing money to benefit Israel and suggest that, "Only Jews could perpetrate a fraud on such a scale."
These and other anti-Jewish tropes about Jews and money have appeared on popular blogs devoted to finance, in comment sections of mainstream news outlets and in banter among users of Internet discussion groups, according to the ADL.
"Jews are always a convenient scapegoat in times of crisis, but the Madoff scandal and the fact that so many of the defrauded investors are Jewish has created a perfect storm for the anti-Semites," Foxman said last year, following news of the Internet hate messages
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