While there is little doubt that hatred of Jews abounds in Europe, it is not easy to determine exactly how much there is. Melissa Langsam Braunstein examines some of the recent survey data, including a 2017 study by the Pew Research Center:
Thirty-six percent of Portuguese respondents, along with 32 percent of Spaniards, 31 percent of Italians, and 28 percent of Belgians agree that “Jews always pursue their own interests and not the interest of the country they live in.” And 36 percent of Italian, 33 percent of Portuguese, 30 percent of Spanish, and 28 percent of Belgian respondents tell Pew pollsters they agree that “Jews always overstate how much they have suffered.”
And then there is a 2019 survey taken by the Anti-Defamation League, which found that 24 percent of respondents from Western Europe, and 34 percent from Eastern Europe, hold what the pollsters determined to be “anti-Semitic views.” This poll asked specifically if respondents believe Jews to be more loyal to Israel than to the countries where they reside:
The fact that 33 percent of British respondents deemed that statement “probably true” helps explain the [success and influence of the outgoing anti-Semitic Labor-party leader Jeremy Corbyn] and the “record high total of 1,805 anti-Semitic incidents in the UK last year.” Also, the fact that 64 percent of Poles, 62 percent of Spaniards, 50 percent of Belgians, 49 percent of Germans, 49 percent of Austrians, and 39 percent of Russians think this statement is “probably true” speaks volumes.
Also worth pondering is the microscopic percentage of respondents truly familiar with Jews. That only 2 percent of Polish respondents reported interacting with Jews “very often,” while the same was true of 4 percent of respondents in Belgium and 1 percent in Spain, is instructive. Demonizing people you know only as ugly caricatures is easy. So it’s theoretically possible that person-to-person diplomacy, especially starting at early ages, could help reverse some of these conspiratorial beliefs.
But, fundamentally, this is not European Jewry’s problem to fix.