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Poll: 'Anti-Semitic notions' on rise among French, other Europeans

March 21, 2012 | 12:36 pm

The French have grown more likely to believe that Jews hold too much power in business or world finance, as well as other "classical anti-Semitic notions," according to a new survey from the Anti-Defamation League that compares attitudes in 2009 and 2012

The French have grown more likely to believe that Jews hold too much power in business or world finance, as well as other "classical anti-Semitic notions," according to a new survey from the Anti-Defamation League that compares attitudes in 2009 and 2012.

The poll, released Tuesday, found nearly half of the French people surveyed said they think it is "probably true" that Jews there are more loyal to Israel than France, an increase from years past. Asked if Jews "still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust," more than a third of the respondents agreed.

Bias against Jews is in the spotlight in France after a gunman killed a rabbi and three children at a Jewish school in Toulouse on Monday. The French interior minister said the alleged attacker, suspected to have links to a group associated with Al Qaeda, said he shot them in revenge for the killing of Palestinian children.

Attacks on French Jews fell last year, with 389 incidents ranging from violence to vandalism reported, but the aggressiveness of the attacks rose, said the Protection Service for the Jewish Community, which provides security for synagogues and Jewish celebrations, the Associated Press reported.

The new survey covered not only France but nine other countries across Europe. Nearly one third of the Europeans surveyed held "pernicious anti-Semitic beliefs," the Anti-Defamation League said. Five thousand telephone interviews were conducted across Europe for the poll, 500 in each country surveyed.

Though the killings at the Jewish school have focused attention on attitudes against Jews in France, the new poll indicated that such beliefs are markedly more common in Hungary, Poland and Spain than in France.

Anti-Semitism "infects many Europeans at a much higher level than we see here in the United States," said Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the league, which is based in New York City. "In Hungary, Spain and Poland the numbers for anti-Semitic attitudes are literally off the charts.”

For instance, 14% of French people surveyed said they agreed that Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus Christ; 38% of Hungarian respondents and 46% of Polish people surveyed said the same. While 45% of French people surveyed said Jews were more loyal to Israel, 72% of Spainards interviewed said so.

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-- Emily Alpert in Los Angeles

Photo: A man lights a candle as he attends a silent march in Paris on Monday to pay tribute to the victims of the Toulouse school shootings. Credit: Ian Langsdon / EPA

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