The Friedrich Ebert Foundation, a think tank associated with the Social Democratic Party in Germany, issued a report last week revealing high levels of anti-Semitism among Germans, Hungarians, and Poles. The report, titled “The State of Intolerance, Prejudices and Discrimination in Europe,” investigated attitudes in Great Britain, Holland, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Hungary, Poland, and France.
Forty-seven percent of the study’s German participants and 63 percent of the Poles questioned agreed with the statement, “Israel is conducting a war of extermination against the Palestinians,” a statement often used to probe attitudes about equating Israel with the Nazi campaign to exterminate Jews. The U.S. State Department and European Union define the comparison as an expression of modern anti-Semitism.
Moreover, when asked whether “Jews try to take advantage of having been victims during the Nazi era,” nearly half the Germans questioned agreed, while 72 of the Polish respondents and 68 percent of Hungarians also answered in the affirmative.
According to the report’s co-author, sociologist Beate Kuepper, she was most surprised with Germany’s high level of anti-Semitism, given the strong public message against anti-Semitism and emphasis on Holocaust education there. Indeed, this new report is a stark reminder of the fact that anti-Jewish sentiment not only remains, but thrives, in today’s modern world – and in Western Europe no less – decades after the Holocaust’s atrocities were revealed.