The Anti-Defamation League recently published the results of a survey about the level of antisemitic attitudes across 18 countries, 14 in Europe and 4 in other countries around the world.
Unfortunately, some media outlets, without delving into the methodology of the survey, reported that “Ukraine is ranked second in Europe for level antisemitism.”
However, these headlines don’t tell the full story, so I want to raise some points worth paying attention to.
First, the survey was conducted in only 14 European countries, meaning the selection is limited and definitely does not justify the “second place in Europe” title.
Second, the survey is not an analysis of antisemitic acts, but a study designed to determine antisemitic attitudes in each country surveyed — its results can only speak about the level of everyday, non-violent antisemitic feelings potentially harboured by people.
Third, research conducted by the Pew Research Centre in 2018 showed Ukraine to be the least antisemitic country in Central and Eastern Europe, with only 5% of Ukrainians surveyed saying they wouldn’t want to have Jews as their fellow citizens.
The ADL survey consisted of 11 statements, with which each respondent asked to agree or disagree. The ADL then measured the level of antisemitism feeling based on those statements.
The statements were:
- Jews are more loyal to Israel than to [this country/the countries they live in
- Jews have too much power in international financial markets
- Jews have too much control over global affairs
- Jews think they are better than other people
- Jews have too much control over the global media
- Jews are responsible for most of the world’s wars
- Jews have too much power in the business world
- Jews do not care what happens to anyone but their own kind
- People hate Jews because of the way they behave
- Jews have too much control over the United States government
- Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust
For Ukrainians, the most painful statements were that “Jews have too much power in the business world” (72% of respondents agreed with that statement) and “Jews have too much power in international financial markets” (68%).
There is a high chance that hostility to the oligarchs, many of whom have Jewish roots in the post-Soviet region, mixed with historically instilled antisemitism, was the reason why so many of the respondents agreed with the above statements.
Antisemitism — like any discrimination — stands on three pillars: ignorance, fear and the desire to shift the responsibility for one’s own failures to other external factors. The task of a civilized society is to minimize these feelings, and Ukraine has shown a lot of progress in this area in recent years.
You can familiarize yourselves with the results of the surveys conducted in Ukraine (in 2014, 2015 and 2019) in more detail here.
By Boris Lozhkin
Find out more about me and the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine here.