A spectre is haunting Europe, the spectre of antisemitism… at least that’s the impression given by a recent survey investigating the attitudes of Europeans towards Jews. The poll, sponsored by CNN in the aftermath of the deadly Pittsburgh shooting, asked probing questions in order to ascertain how Europeans really feel about world Jewry and their actual or perceived historical suffering.
The study investigated attitudes across 7 major European countries; France, Germany, Austria, Great Britain, Hungary, Poland and Sweden. Over 1,000 people from each country were questioned, of varying ages and social status.
To avoid getting bogged down in lengthy prose on this issue, we’ve created an info-graphic to provide you with a snapshot of the results.
Interesting. Very interesting.
One explanation to all of this, of course, is that Europe has imported a lot of Muslims with antisemitic attitudes. Plausible, but there is no indication that this study surveyed “new Europeans” at all. And given most of Europe’s aversion to Islamic ideas in general, there’s little chance that these attitudes have been somehow learned from the new arrivals. The explanation is rather more deep-rooted than that.
You see, I’m a great believer in the principle that there’s no smoke without fire. If a stereotype exists, it’s usually for a good reason. Stereotypes are essentially just exercises in pattern recognition that have become embedded in the national or cultural lexicon. So the fact that such a sizeable portion of Austrian society believes Jews have too much influence in finance, for instance, is not just thoughtless bigotry, but rather an example of ordinary people recognising patterns within the social environment they inhabit.
Perhaps one of the more surprising findings of this study was the revelation that 20% of 18-34-year-olds have never heard of the holocaust, and a massive 40% of Austrians have “little or no knowledge” of the matter. This is surprising because of the incessant propaganda that we’ve received for decades on the matter. Today, every school child is initiated into this quasi-mythological lesson concerning what happens when “hatred is given a voice”.
Finally, let’s take a look at this statistic concerning the cause of antisemitism. 1 in 5 Europeans openly claimed that antisemitism is a response to Jewish behaviour – I emphasise the word openly because, bear in mind, the majority of people won’t admit to holding an opinion that’s literally a crime in their country. But this is an interesting point nevertheless, and one which doesn’t get talked about often enough. After all, if 109 nations take a particular course of action against a single group, whose behaviour is the more likely candidate for wrongdoing?
Food for thought…
Read the original CNN report HERE.