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Ukraine More Anti-Semitic Than Russia, Says New Poll


Hasidic Jews celebrate the traditional Jewish New Year in Uman, Ukraine.

Hasidic Jews celebrate the traditional Jewish New Year in Uman, Ukraine.

Ever since the Maidan demonstrations began in Ukraine late last year, Russia has accused the protesters -- and then the new Kyiv authorities -- of anti-Semitism.

The issue of anti-Semitism became a political football, with accusations and counter-accusations, including denunciations from Ukrainian Jewish leaders who were keen to play down the alleged threat. Ukraine's chief rabbi, Yaakov Dov Bleich, accused Russia of anti-Semitic provocations and a leaflet that surfaced in Donetsk a few weeks later summoning Jews to register certainly had the hallmarks of one.

With its accusations, Russia also turned back attention on itself, with an anchor on a state-funded TV channel implying that Jews brought the Holocaust on themselves.

A new global poll by the U.S.-based Anti-Defamation League has shed a little more light on attitudes to Jews in both countries. And, according to the survey, Ukraine is a more anti-Semitic place than Russia.

The poll surveyed 53,100 adults in 102 countries and territories worldwide, with a higher score indicating higher levels of anti-Semitism.
The overall ADL Global 100 Index score represents the percentage of respondents who answered “probably true" to six or more of 11 negative stereotypes about Jews. An 11-question index has been used by ADL as a key metric in measuring anti-Semitic attitudes in the United States for the last 50 years.

The questions are "based on age-old stereotypes about Jews, including classical stereotypes about Jewish power, loyalty, money, and behavior."

Overall, in Ukraine, 38 percent of those polled could be considered anti-Semitic and in Russia 30 percent.

In Eastern Europe, the survey notes that the most widely held anti-Semitic stereotype is that "Jews have too much power in the business world." In Ukraine, 56 percent agreed with that statement and 49 percent of Russians.

At 38 percent, Ukraine was more anti-Semitic than the regional average of 34 percent for Eastern Europe. Poland was the most anti-Semitic country in Eastern Europe with an index score of 45 percent.

By comparison, Greece is the most anti-Semitic country in Western Europe with 69 percent. Sweden is the most tolerant with 4 percent.

The worst performing region in the world is the Middle East and North Africa where 74 percent of people held anti-Semitic views.

Interestingly, Iran emerged as the region's least anti-Semitic country, with 56 percent of those surveyed expressing such views.

The full survey and interactive map are available here.

-- Luke Allnutt

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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