Alarming News

January 27, 2004


Who’s Like Hitler?
While various nut-jobs find thrills and amusement by comparing President Bush to Hitler, one can find genuine echoes of Nazism, albeit rather faint ones, if one looks in the right places. London’s Independent reports on a new poll by the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, which surveyed residents of nine European countries–Austria, Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Spain–about their attitudes toward Jews. Among the findings:
35% said Jews “should stop playing the victim because of the Holocaust and persecution of 50 years ago.”
16.1% said it “would be better if the state of Israel did not exist and the Palestinians got their land back.”
40% think Jews have a “particular relationship with money.”
“In all the countries,” notes the Jerusalem Post, “anti-Semitic sentiment was positively correlated with anti-Israel sentiment.” And the Independent notes Europeans are as ignorant as they are bigoted: “The people polled were asked four questions about the Middle East conflict. Nearly one-third proved clueless. Only 6.2 per cent gave correct answers.”

Posted by Karol at 10:57 PM |

I would be interested in what results the same questions in the U.S. produced. The Independant seems to be taking it pretty seriously, but it is only a poll.

Posted by: Bobby at January 28, 2004 at 8:14 am

Three points:
anti-Semitic sentiment was positively correlated with anti-Israel sentiment.
Well, duh. I’d imagine 100% of anti-Semites hate Israel. That can’t help but affect the statistics in the opposite correlation.
16.1% said it “would be better if the state of Israel did not exist and the Palestinians got their land back.”
So 84% think that Israel has a right to exist and/or Palestinians shouldn’t get “their” land back. Those are great numbers for a European poll.
40% think Jews have a “particular relationship with money.”
Puh-leaze. That is such an ambiguous and mild statement that I bet you could get 40% of Jews to agree.
I think European anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are big problems. But I’m actually heartened by the results of this poll.

Posted by: Joe Grossberg at January 28, 2004 at 11:37 am

And I am heartened by your reading, and interprtation of it. Coming back to the poat after lunchtime I realise that majority of the text is Mr Taranto’s. I guess it is his job to try and sensationalise these things, though not a very honourable one it has to be said. eg “they are as ignorant as they are bigoted” Come on, apart from not knowing what questions they were asked, I am not confident that a similar sample of the U.S. populace would be better informed.

Posted by: Bobby at January 28, 2004 at 1:22 pm

Joe is right. There are huge problems with polls of this nature. So what if almost half of all Europeans think that Jews have a different mentality than gentiles. If someone said that Southern Baptists have a different mentality than Buddhists, it does not imply a hatred of one group or the other, just an observation that there are cultural differences.
Even the sentiment that 16% want an end to the state of Israel and a return of the land to Palestinians alone is not anti-Semitic. That sentiment is not very different from the opinions many Europeans had towards the state of Rhodesia 25 years ago. Except that Rhodesia was run by white protestants.
Calling people anti-semites is not something that should be done lightly. It cheapens the term and poisons otherwise civil debates.

Posted by: Dan at January 28, 2004 at 1:50 pm

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