Twenty-three percent of Poles believe the myth that Jews used to kidnap Christian children for ritual purposes, and 22 percent believe that Jews living today are responsible for Jesus’ death, according to a survey conducted last year by a Polish institute and presented this month to the Polish Parliament, the Sejm.
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The survey, which included 1,000 participants from all over Poland, was conducted by CBOS, the Center for Public Opinion Research, for the Center for the Research of Prejudice in Warsaw. The findings indicate an increase in the prevalence of anti-Semitic opinions compared to a 2009 survey, including an increase in views reflecting traditional anti-Semitism.
The survey shows that 63 percent of those polled believe in various other conspiracy theories related to Jews: 67 percent believe that Jews want to increase their influence in the world and 44 percent believe that Jews control the world.
“I was surprised. For years I thought that traditional anti-Semitism is a thing of the past and is no longer relevant,” Dr. Michael Bilbich, one of the pollsters who conducted the survey, told the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza. He didn’t give an explanation for the findings, offering that many of those polled did not explain their responses. “Anti-Semitism today is less related today to Christian beliefs or to the church,” he added.
The survey also indicates that two-thirds of Poles believe that Jews want monetary compensation from the Poles for crimes perpetrated by the Germans in World War II, and 40 percent said Jews use guilt trips to exploit the Poles. The survey also shows that 44 percent of Poles believe that Jews tell everyone that the Poles are anti-Semites.
The results of the survey were presented two weeks ago to the Polish Parliament and were discussed in the Committee on National and Ethnic Minorities.
The sad conclusion of the survey is that anti-Semitism in Poland is routine. Prejudice against Jews is very common in southeastern Poland, in the area of the cities of Lublin and Czechow, and least common in the environs of Warsaw and Gdansk.
Horrifying prejudicial terror
Yaakov Hagoel, the head of the in the World Zionist Organization’s Department for Countering Anti-Semitism, said in response to the study that he is “horrified at the fact that in 2014 many Jews all over the world live in anti-Semitic and prejudicial terror.” Europe in particular, he said, has seen a significant increase in anti-Semitic incidents.
“The most serious anti-Semitic incidents committed every day in the world require the attention of the Israeli government and the governments in whose jurisdiction these acts are carried out," Hagoel said. "It is unconscionable that in democratic, developed and tolerant countries there should be such serious cases of anti-Semitism against Jews only because they are Jews.”
Along with the data from the survey published this month in Poland, the WZO presented data from another Polish survey conducted in 2012, as well as data published on the website of the Polish Parliament.
In the study, 35 percent of Poles replied affirmatively to the question: "Is Israel a country that will do anything to achieve its aims?” Participants were also asked, “Is Israel’s attitude toward the Palestinians similar to Hitler’s attitude towards the Jews during World War II?” Twenty-one percent replied affirmatively.