Netanyahu on CNN Poll: New anti-Semitism Comes From Extreme Left and Radical Islam

Netanyahu says denying Jews' right to a state is 'ultimate anti-Semitism of today,' praises far-right European governments for combating the issue

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the dedication of the Czech House, Jerusalem, Israel, November 27, 2018.
AFP

Europe has seen the growth of a "new anti-Semitism" coming from leftists and radical Islam, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CNN on Tuesday in an interview after the publication of a poll on anti-Semitism in Europe.

"There’s old anti-Semitism in Europe that came from the extreme right, but there’s also new anti-Semitism that comes from the extreme left and also the radical Islamic pockets in Europe that spew forth these slanders and lies about Israel," Netanyahu said.

When asked about European leaders who use anti-Semitic imagery but remain Israel's allies, Netanyahu replied, "I don't think they do." According to the prime minister, anti-Zionism and anti-Israel policies constitute "the ultimate anti-Semitism of today."

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Netanyahu said the majority of world Jewry will soon live in Israel. "There are over six million Jews living in Israel. So the new anti-Semites say this: we’re not against Jews. We’re just against the State of Israel," Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu went on to praise the right-wing leaders of Austria and Hungary for combating the issue. "I saw [Prime Minister] Viktor Orban in Hungary," Netanyahu said. "He’s opened up a center against anti-Semitism. I saw [Chancellor] Sebastian Kurz in Austria, he just held a conference against anti-Semitism, and that’s encouraging."

CNN's poll, conducted in seven European countries, found that a quarter of Europeans believe Jews have too much influence in business and finance. Additionally, more than one-third of respondents said they have no substantial knowledge of the Holocaust.

One-third of respondents said that Jews use the Holocaust to advance their own positions or goals. Yad Vashem, Israel’s state museum on the Holocaust, said in a statement Tuesday that it “is deeply concerned” about the data, primarily over how many Europeans claimed to know little or nothing about the genocide.

Nearly one in four said Jews have too much influence in conflict and wars across the world, and one in five said they have too much in the media and in politics.

Forty percent of respondents said that Jews were at risk of racist violence in their countries and half said their governments should do more to fight anti-Semitism. But substantial minorities blamed Israel or Jews themselves for anti-Semitism.

To 28 percent of respondents, anti-Semitism in their countries mostly owed to Israel’s actions, they said. And 18 percent said the phenomenon was a response to the everyday behavior of Jewish people.

JTA contributed to this report.