Is it anti-Semitic to believe that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the countries they live in?
An increasing number of Europeans believe that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their home countries and have too much influence in world finance, a U.S. group monitoring anti-Semitism said on Monday.
"A large number of Europeans continue to be infected with anti-Jewish attitudes, holding on to classic anti-Semitic canards and conspiracy theories," Abraham Foxman, director of the Washington-based Anti-Defamation League, told reporters.
"These attitudes help legitimize anti-Semitism, including violence against Jews, and give us great concern," he said.
A survey conducted by the Anti-Defamation League in France, Spain, German, Poland and Italy in March and April found that negative stereotypes about Jews had gained ground in these countries since 2005.
The study measured responses to these statements: that Jews are more loyal to Israel than their country, that they have too much power in the business world and financial markets and that they talk too much about the Nazi Holocaust of World War Two.
In all countries studied, with the exception of Italy, the poll found an increase since a survey in 2005 in the percentage of Europeans who felt Jews held Israel above their own states.
In Poland and Spain, about 60 percent of those surveyed expressed that sentiment, up from about 50 percent two years ago. In Germany the figure was 51 percent, with 48 percent in Italy and 39 percent in France.
Foxman called the dual loyalty allegation "a classical canard of anti-Semitism" and a tenet of Hitler's ideology that Jews had sold out Germany for their own interests.
One in four of the some 2,700 people surveyed said their attitudes toward Jews "are colored by events in the Middle East," Foxman added. Of these, 52 percent said they held a lower opinion of Jews as a result.
Foxman pointed to what he called an emergence of "a significant relationship" between anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli sentiments or criticism. But he said it was too soon to draw any direct parallels from the survey.
The study did not tabulate incidents of anti-Semitic violence in Europe. Tel Aviv University in Israel said in findings published in April that the numbers of attacks against Jews had doubled worldwide last year compared with 2005.
Most of the rise in violence was reported in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and France, the Tel Aviv study said.
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