This news articles states that 25% of Europe is antisemitic. It uses a number of questions to determine this, some of which are seemingly innocuous:


A significant proportion of those surveyed agreed with statements that said Jews were more loyal to Israel than to their own country, Jews talked too much about the Holocaust, and Jews had too much power in business and finance. The study comprises an index of 11 questions that are used to identify anti-Semitic attitudes.

“It is deeply concerning that approximately one in four Europeans harbor the types of anti-Semitic beliefs that have endured since before the Holocaust,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, the League’s chief executive.

How is believing that Jews are more loyal to Israel than their own country antisemitic? Jewish people have a cultural, spiritual, and ethnic connection to those like them, and Israel is comprised almost entirely of Jews. So why would thinking that people have a loyalty to those they connect with be a form of hatred?

The article also states that these beliefs endured before the Holocaust, but Israel didn't even exist then, it wasn't formed until 1947.

Please explain how generalizations and prejudices about Jewish people imply bigotry and hatred. When I hear 'anti-Semitic' I imagine a neo-Nazi skinhead burning a cross and breaking windows - actual acts of violence.

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    I see this was mod-reopened. I guess people need to assume good faith that this was asked as a "devil's advocate" question with the intent to educate (i.e. the poster probably knows the answer[s].) – Fizz Nov 21 '19 at 22:43
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    @Fizz relevant meta question: politics.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/4194/… – Joe Nov 22 '19 at 0:21
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    "there are people who believe men have too much power in business and finance, yet they are not considered to 'hate men'." You haven't spoken to many incels, anti-SJWs, or men's rights activists, have you? – F1Krazy Nov 22 '19 at 13:46
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    This question seems either anti-semitic or a prime question for anti-semitic answers – Burt Nov 24 '19 at 20:07
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    The statement that "Israel is comprised almost entirely of Jews" is false. – RockPaperLz- Mask it or Casket Nov 28 '19 at 0:15

Jews [are] more loyal to Israel than to their own country

This is quite obviously a problematic statement; let me rephrase the statement a couple of times to make that a little more obvious:

  • All Catholics are loyal to the Pope and by extension to their Catholic church or even the Vatican; more so than to their home country

  • Chinese and Japanese immigrants will always be more loyal to their home country.

  • Black US citizens are more loyal to their African countries of origins than to the US

And it’s worth tacking on your supposed reasoning as a direct second point:

Jewish people have a cultural, spiritual, and ethnic connection to those like them, and Israel is comprised of almost entirely of all Jews.

This might also be said for all of the above and Italy, China/Japan, whichever-part-of-Africa.

All of these are trivially wrong when considered factual statements; that’s the problem. Every person is an individual. Everybody grew up and was educated in a different environment, everybody holds their own beliefs, ideas and preferences. Everybody has a different connection to their ancestors or co-believers.

Yet while this is quite routinely accepted for <insert majority group here>, people often tend to think of <insert minority group here> as fundamentally ‘different’ from themselves and apply to them all sorts of attributes as a group. Your sentence clearly implies that kind of connection between all Jews. Yet all three adjectives you place before connection do not hold. Jewish people are found in various ethnicities; there are Eritrean Jews, Russian Jews, Spanish Jews and American Jews none of which have a common ethnicity. There are different cultures within Judaism; at the very least one might have heard of Ashkenazi and Sephardim. Within the Jewish religion, there are liberal, traditional, orthodox and ultra-orthodox communities and many more between those more clearly defined labels.

I hope I don’t have to show how the alleged connection falls apart even more quickly when applied to the other example statements I phrased.

For Jews, the idea that all Jews had a deep connection between each other and thus somehow worked together for world domination peaks in the Judeo-Masonic conspiracy rubbish, in German thanks to the Nazis it is known most commonly as the Jewish-Bolshewist conspiracy (It is usually labelled conspiracy theory but adding theory there seems to give it too much validation).

Jews [have] too much power in business and finance

This is a more tricky one but it brings with it an entire rat’s tail of prejudice that was applied to Jews historically; this entire rat’s tail is essentially all but an extension of the paragraph above.

For the longest period of European recorded history (especially the Middle Ages), trade was organised in guilds or corporations. If you wanted to practice as a tradesman, you had to join that guild but most guilds were (quite obviously given the historical period) christian and would not accept Jews or other ‘unbelievers’. That in turn meant most professions were inaccessible to the Jewish population; one of the few that remained open was banking. Incidentally, the both the Bible’s testaments (old and new) forbid taking insterest on goods or money one lent. For Christians, this was seen as more absolute, i.e. the Pope would decree that essentially no Christian shall take interest. For Jews, talmudic interpretations of the thoraic law would result in interest only prohibited if taken from another Jew. Thus, Jews quickly became the only party one could turn to if one wanted credit.

From there on, it was a very small step to the ideas that ‘all Jews are good with money’, ‘all Jews are rich’, ‘all Jews take away the Christians’ hard-earned money’ and all those other tropes. The original quote is only the modern-day interpretation of that trope. And once again, this considers all Jews to be more or less the same, all Jews having power over finance etc; trivially wrong, see above.

Incidentally, these questions aren’t necessarily tied to Israel. As you mention, Israel as a state wasn’t founded until 1947. One point to note is that there had been significant Jewish immigration to the area that would later become Israel from all across Europe as part of the zionism movement since the early 20th century. But in essence, the trope that ‘Jews are more loyal to Israel’ itself is only an extension of ‘Jews are more loyal to themselves’ which is conveniently independent of whether or where significant Jewish settlements exist. Again, a statement that typically falls apart quickly when the facts are observed: There is no inherent reason for anybody to trust any stranger of the same nationality/religion/origin more than any close friend of a different nationality/race/origin.

How these beliefs – which can be reduced essentially to ‘Jews are different from us’ – lead to the type of neo-Nazi skinhead you describe again isn’t hard to show. They are different, they don’t trust us, they have power; thus, they must either be the source of all our problems or we must remove them before they become one. The bit where they are different can be applied to pretty much any minority immediately – and history is full of examples starting way prior to the Armenian genocide to modern European anti-immigration sentiments. The bit about power and finances can be adjusted to <insert minority here> as needed to fit the perceived stereotypes as required.

Post scriptum:

there are people who believe men have too much power in business and finance, yet they are not considered to 'hate men'

Actually, that is not entirely true. Among those that consider men have too much power in business and finance (and thus women should have more power) are many feminists. And there is a sizable group that considers these feminists to collectively ‘hate men’.

However, there are still differences between the two. Quite obviously for every male in a position of power there are many more males in positions of non-power, whereas the statement about Jews in power is rarely accompanied by statistics on how many Jews have non-power positions. Furthermore, when it is said that there are too many men in power, this does not imply a conspiracy of all men conspiring against all non-men to keep those out of power. And lastly, very few people would suggest removing all men from power by force to allow non-men to take over; this was very much suggested and practiced in the Jews’ case.

  • +1 but "the Pope would decree that essentially no Christian shall take interest" is probably not entirely accurate, at least regarding its effects. There were plenty of Italian banks etc., in practice, particularly during the Renaissance. Also regarding the existence of Israel, the idea of a Jewish land/country is older, even with the Jews, than the actual creation of Israel; see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zionism#History (And of course, it grew among Jews too in tandem with antisemitism making Jews feel unwelcome where they lived, driving for instance emigration to then British Palestine.) – Fizz Nov 23 '19 at 9:22
  • See also the 1917 Balfour Declaration in regards to that latter point: "The opening words of the declaration represented the first public expression of support for Zionism by a major political power", namely the British. In the Declaration "The term "national home" had no precedent in international law, and was intentionally vague as to whether a Jewish state was contemplated." – Fizz Nov 23 '19 at 9:32
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    @Fizz The Renaissance was when Christian attitude shifted, see also the Fuggers in Augsburg. I could probably make that clearer. – Jan Nov 24 '19 at 4:32

Because a lot of these sorts of statements have context that you are missing

If you take a look at these sentences as abstract collections of words that are completely divorced from all prior human history, they might not seem so bad. Unfortunately, there is subtext in all of them that usually implies that Jews are not worthy of being normal members of society and/or that violence or other forms of oppression are perfectly OK to use against them.

I'm assuming you're genuinely confused, so I'm going to go down the list of things you say and try to explain them in detail.

How is believing that Jews are more loyal to Israel than their own country anti-Semitic? I don't see how that implies hatred. Jewish people have a cultural, spiritual, and ethnic connection to those like them, and Israel is comprised of almost entirely of all Jews. So why would thinking that people have a loyalty to those they connect with be a form of hatred?

"Loyalty" here doesn't mean that they merely like people like themselves. It implies that Jews are more untrustworthy than members of other religious groups would be, and cannot be trusted as citizens of the country that they reside in. This is a form of bigotry no matter which religious or ethic group it is applied to, it just tends to be applied to Jews very frequently because they're usually in the minority wherever they live.

A notable historical example of this sort of bigoted thinking and the resulting injustice it produces would be the Dreyfuss Affair. Dreyfuss was a French military officer accused of treason simply because he was Jewish and therefore must have conspired with Germans just because Jews are alleged to conspire with each other by bigots. Here's a wikipedia link: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreyfus_affair

A non-Jewish example of the same type of bigotry would apply to President John F. Kennedy, who was argued to have dual loyalty to the Pope because he was Catholic. This is just as much nonsense as the anti-semitic examples are.

The article also states that these beliefs endured before the Holocaust, but Israel didn't even exist then! It wasn't formed until 1947.

Jews have been around for about 4000 years or so and have been subject to violent oppression almost everywhere in that time. The way Jews have been treated in the United States and Israel are very notable exceptions to that history. The only thing that Israel does to change these narratives is add a nation state to the pre-existing bigoted narrative. Before Israel, people would say the Jews would have dual-loyalty to other Jews in other countries with sinister foreign agendas. It was just as wrong and bigoted then as it is now.

This doesn't mean that all criticisms of Israel are anti-semitic; there are many valid criticisms of Israel that can be made.

Another statement implies that thinking that if Jews have too much power in business and finance, that is 'bigotry', but there are people who believe men have too much power in business and finance, yet they are not considered to 'hate men'.

There's multiple levels of context that you are missing. Jews have been alleged to have too much power in business ever since the Crusades or earlier. Part of it stems from the fact that modern banking originated in part so that crusaders could transfer money from Jerusalem back to wherever they came from and vice versa. Jews would often work in these banking related jobs because of differences in religious restrictions on working between Jews and Christians at the time. This belief is also associated with other highly negative stereotypes about Jews that stem from this same context, like that they are greedy and are untrustworthy as a race of people.

Also, it's very different from the "men have too much power in business", because very few people make the argument that men's assets and property should be forcibly redistributed using violence to other people (the one example might be actual communists like Stalin, etc). These statements about Jews having too much power are often used to justify violent redistribution of their property, often performed by the state.

When I hear 'anti-Semitic' I imagine a new-Nazi skinhead burning a cross and breaking windows - actual acts of violence.

Beliefs like this left unchecked now become the justification for actual acts of violence later. The thing about violence is that we imagine that the new-Nazi skinhead will do it. Governments are actually the more frightening providers of violence for any given geographic area because they are both more powerful and competent at doing violence, and it happened on the scale of millions of people as recently as 70 years ago.

The dual loyalty trope is a justification for implicitly assuming Jews are guilty of treason without due process or evidence; treason is usually punished with the state-approved actual act of violence known as "execution." The idea that Jews have too much power in society is a justification for taking that power away through many state approved actual acts of violence that can essentially be reduced to legalized theft. These things happened historically, so they are already known to be possible.

So yeah, you would be wise to read a bit more history and think this through a little more. These ideas that are innocent sounding actually aren't.

  • Since the OP drew the (somewhat faulty) parallel to rich men. There's the slippery slope of what one plans to do about inequality like that, e.g. a Bolshevist type revolution is one end of the spectrum of solutions, with expropriations or even gulags for the rich [men] etc. Alas, those making similar comments about the Jews often harbor Nazi sympathies, including to Nazi-style solutions to the "Jewish problem" while, amusingly for me anyway, the same people sometimes simultaneously condemning Bolshevism or even socialism etc. – Fizz Nov 23 '19 at 9:47
  • Excellent answer Joe. I have one edit to suggest: remove "actual communists like" from the reference to Stalin. I'm definitely not an expert, but I don't think a fundamental tenet of communism is the violent redistribution of wealth. – RockPaperLz- Mask it or Casket Nov 28 '19 at 0:23
  • No this isn’t the answer. The survey didn’t ask if violence is ok against Jews. It was simply “are Jews more loyal to Israel than their own country”. You are reading too much into the questions. You could use that form of word game to claim that any or all questions “imply violence” when they actually don’t. – Chloe Nov 28 '19 at 1:16
  • I would totally believe that a Catholic president would be anti-abortion in alignment with the Catholic Church and in opposition to the Supreme Court but would not consider that to be bigoted against Catholics. – Chloe Nov 28 '19 at 1:39
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    @Chole Loyalty is not mere alignment. A condition of loyalty is that you do what the people you are loyal to expect of you. If John F. Kennedy was told by the Pope to ban contraception by Executive Order (which would be unconstitutional), do you think JFK would do it? – Joe Nov 29 '19 at 3:35

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