Europe: Jews have too much sway in U.S. policy and world finance

Many Europeans think that Jews have too much impact upon U.S. policy in the Mideast and global economic and talk too much about Holocaust, the Anti-Defamation League reported on Monday.

The report's findings found that significant numbers of people in five European countries continue to hold anti-Jewish stereotypes, said Abraham Foxman, national director of the U.S. group.

"A large number of Europeans continue to be infected with anti-Jewish attitudes, holding on to classical anti-Jewish canards and conspiracy theories," Foxman said at a news conference where he presented the report.

The survey of 2,714 people in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland found that 51 percent of respondents believed that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the countries in which they live. In the Spanish sample, the figure was 60 percent. In France, only 39 percent agreed.

Foxman said the widely-held belief in dual allegiances was particularly troubling.

"Disloyalty is a classical canard of anti-Semitism," Foxman said. "Hitler did not begin with Aryan supremacy. Hitler began with charging the Jews of not being good Germans, of selling out Germany for their own interest."

The statement that "Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust" was seen as "probably true" by 58 percent of poll respondents in Poland, where many of the World War II Nazi death camps were located. The average for the five countries polled was 47 percent in agreement.

Poles were also most likely to subscribe to another long-standing belief, with 39 percent of respondents there saying they somewhat agree or strongly agree that the Jews "are responsible for the death of Christ." Overall agreement with that statement was 20 percent.

An average of 44 percent across the countries surveyed said Jews "probably" have too much in international financial markets, while close to half believed that "American Jews control U.S. policy in the Middle East," the report said.

In each country surveyed, anti-Jewish stereotypes were more widely believed by those over 65 and those without a college education, the report said, adding that negative attitudes toward Jews had worsened in some areas and remained unchanged in others, compared to a similar survey in 2005.

Foxman said the results showed a "significant relationship" exists between attitudes to Jews and events in the Middle East.

On the Israeli-Arab conflict, a majority of respondents believed Israel had no right to use military force against Lebanon last summer after Hezbollah fighters kidnapped two Israeli soldiers, the report said. More than a third likened Israel's treatment of Palestinians to that of blacks in South Africa during the apartheid era.

Foxman said he considered neither view intrinsically anti-Semitic.

Italy was the only country whose residents expressed more sympathy to Israelis than Palestinians, the report said, though most respondents in all five countries said they supported neither side in the conflict.

Overall, a majority of respondents considered the Palestinian Islamic group Hamas a terrorist organization and supported withholding foreign aid to the coalition Palestinian government in which Hamas is a partner, until its leaders renounce violence against Israel and recognize its right to exist.

The survey was conducted by London-based Taylor Nelson Sofres from March 21 through April 16. The margin of error was 4 percentage points.

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Author`s name Angela Antonova