Poll: 20 percent of Central, Eastern Europeans do not accept Jews as fellow citizens

April 4, 2018 by JNS
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About one-fifth of people polled in Central and Eastern European countries say they do not accept Jews as fellow citizens and do not want Jewish neighbours.

Thousands of young people from around the world walk from Auschwitz to Birkenau, the sites of former Nazi death camps, during the 2017 “March of the Living in Poland.” Credit: Drew Jacobson via Facebook

Some 32 percent of Armenians, 23 percent of Lithuanians, 22 percent of Romanians, 19 percent of Czechs, 18 percent of Poles, 16 percent of Greeks and 14 percent of Russians do not accept Jews as fellow citizens, according to a Pew Research Centre survey of 18 Central and Eastern European countries conducted in 2015-16 and published last week.

While 18 percent of Poles do not accept Jews as fellow citizens, an even higher percentage do not accept Jews as neighbours (20 percent) or as members of their families (30 percent).

Poland’s recently passed libel law, which criminalises the attribution of Nazi crimes to Poland, has raised concerns that it will serve to whitewash Poland’s history of anti-Semitism and racism.

According to the survey, although a sizeable percentage of Poles does not accept Jews, Jews are more favorably viewed than other minorities, such as Muslims and Roma.

While 30 percent of Poles say they would not be willing to accept Jews as members of their family, 55 percent would not accept Muslims in their families and 49 percent say the same of Roma.

While 20 percent of Poles say they would not accept Jews as neighbours, 43 percent say they would not accept Muslims, and 38 percent say they would not accept Roma as neighbours.

By Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS

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