The World Jewish Congress is deeply disturbed by the findings of a European-wide CNN poll detailing public sentiment toward Jews. The study found that a shocking rise in anti-Semitism has coincided with a marked decline across the continent in the level of public knowledge about the Holocaust.
According to the poll, one in 20 Europeans surveyed has never heard of the Holocaust. More than a quarter believe Jews have too much influence in business and finance. One in five believes anti-Semitism is a response to the everyday actions of Jews.
The poll was commissioned and completed before the killing of 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh — the deadliest ever attack on the Jewish community in the United States.
Among the most troubling of of the results laid out in the report is the fact that one-third of the more than 7,000 respondents believe that Israel uses the Holocaust to justify its actions and to deflect criticism against the Jewish state.
In response, WJC CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer released the following statement: “It is absolutely insufferable, yet sadly unsurprising, that 75 years after the Holocaust, the age-old anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and tropes continue unfettered around the world. We have long been alarmed by the resurgence of anti-Semitism, and this recent poll underscores our ongoing concern. There can be no confusion in the fact that accusing Israel of exploiting the brutal murder of 6 million Jews for its own gains is nothing short of blood libel and the worst forms of xenophobia.
“This poll made it clearer than ever that preserving the memory of the Holocaust through thorough and accurate education is critical to the survival of the Jewish people and all minorities under threat of racism, discrimination and violence. It is precisely for this reason that the WJC partnered with UNESCO to launch a website geared toward educating young adults and those unaware about the horrors of the Holocaust and the danger of what can happen when such atrocities are ignored, forgotten, or distorted.”