New poll on attitudes towards Jews and other minorities in Europe

3 Jun 2015 by Dave Rich

The Pew Research Center has published a new poll that, amongst other subjects, asked people in six European countries to say how favourably or unfavourably they view Jews, Muslims and Roma. The results repeat the findings of previous polls that show only a small number of people in the UK say they have an unfavourable opinion of Jews.

 According to this poll, 7% of people in the UK said that they have unfavourable opinion of Jews, compared to 86% who said they have a favourable opinion. Interestingly, in France 7% of people also said that they have an unfavourable opinion of Jews, while 92% said they had a favourable opinion - the highest of the six countries polled. This suggests that the increase in antisemitic incidents and related activity in both countries over the past 12 months may be the work of small minorities of people in both countries, rather than representing widespread popular attitudes. The country with the highest amount of antisemitism, according to this poll, was Poland, where 28% of people said they have an unfavourable opinion of Jews.

Pew's polling took place after the jihadist terrorist attacks on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper and the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Paris, but Pew said that they did not detect any increase in anti-Muslim sentiment as a result, and that the number of people expressing favourable opinions of Jews increased:

The 2015 Pew Research Center survey was conducted after the Charlie Hebdo massacre and the simultaneous attack on a Jewish grocery store, perpetrated by radical Islamists in Paris. But, in the wake of these events, there is no evidence that the atrocity sparked new public antipathy toward Muslims in any of the six European Union nations surveyed. In fact, favorability of Muslims actually improved in some nations. At the same time, French sympathy for Jews increased.

Pew's polling shows that a large majority of people in the UK and France have favourable opinions of Muslims, but that the proportion who say they have unfavourable opinions, at 19%, is larger than the proportion who say they have unfavourable opinions of Jews. A majority of people in Poland and Italy say they have unfavourable opinions of Muslims:

 The minority that elicits the highest amount of unfavourable opinion is Roma: 37% of people in the UK say they have unfavourable opinions of Roma, while most people in Italy and France do so:

 This poll updates the existing research on levels of antisemitism that was discussed on this blog last week, but it does not fill any of the gaps identified by the Institute of Jewish Policy Research in that paper.

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