Politics

One in four Germans hold anti-Semitic beliefs, study finds

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Via Deutsche Welle

Anti-Semitism is gaining a stronger foothold in German society, the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing a new study from the World Jewish Congress (WJC).

Out of the 1,300 Germans who took part in the representative survey, 27% agreed with a range of anti-Semitic statements and stereotypes about Jewish people.

Some 41% said they agreed with the statement that “Jews talk about the Holocaust too much.” The same portion said they believed “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to Germany.”

Over 20% of respondents said they agreed that Jewish people have “too much power” over the economy, international financial markets and the media. Another 22% agreed that “people hate Jews due to the way they behave.”

The survey was carried out two months ago, prior to the anti-Semitic attack targeting a synagogue in the eastern German city of Halle.

Hostility towards Jews growing among ‘elites’

Anti-Semitism is also growing among the wealthy and well-educated, according to the study.

The WJC found that 18% of “elites” — respondents with at least one university degree who make at least €100,000 ($111,300) per year — agreed with anti-Semitic sentiments.

Within that group, over a quarter said they believed Jewish people have “too much power over world politics” and the economy.

Read more: German groups combating far-right extremism face uncertain future

‘It’s time for German society to take a stand’

The president of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald S. Lauder, told the Süddeutsche Zeitung that the state of anti-Semitism in Germany has reached a “crisis point.”

“We’ve seen what happens when ordinary people look away or remain silent,” he told the paper.

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Lauder added that Germany has an obligation to prevent the return of intolerance and hatred, and if one quarter of the population adheres to anti-Semitic beliefs, then the remaining three quarters must take action to defend democracy and a tolerant society in Germany.

“It’s time for German society to take a stand and combat anti-Semitism head-on,” he said.

Read more: In Germany, memorials for Nazi terror victims vandalized

Resistance rises

While anti-Semitism is spreading in Germany, the study found that the readiness to combat it is also growing.

Two thirds of “elites” said they would sign a petition against anti-Semitism, while a third of all the respondents said they were willing to take part in demonstrations against anti-Semitism.

The vast majority of respondents recognized there was a rise in hostile behavior toward Jewish people in Germany, with 65% saying that rise was tied to the success of “right-wing extremist parties.”

One in four respondents said it was possible that “something like the Holocaust could happen in Germany again.”

Read more: German politicians slam right-wing populist AfD over rising anti-Semitism

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