16.7.2019, Oxford – At the ISGAP-Oxford Summer Institute 2019 for curriculum development in critical antisemitism studies, prof. Ze’ev Khanin, the Academic Chairman of the Institute for Euro-Asian Jewish Studies (IEAJS), presented the first results of the comprehensive study “Jews of the Post-Soviet Space”.
In the study conducted with the support of the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress, more than 2,000 respondents who met the criteria of the Israeli Law of Return, were interviewed, including more than 900 in Russia, 890 in Ukraine, 300 in Belarus, and 350 in Moldova.
According to the study findings, the most observed categories of antisemitism in the FSU region are crimes inspired by Judeophobia, incitement to hostility against Jews, media-sponsored public antisemitism, and antisemitic stereotypes.
Although 19% of Ukrainian Jews and 7% of Russian and Belarussian Jews claim that the level of antisemitism has substantially grown up in recent years, there is a significant gap between the estimated dynamics of antisemitism in small towns on one hand, and in capitals and big cities, such as Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kiev, Odesa, and Minsk, on the other.
While 31% of the respondents in small towns across the FSU region reported about the significant growth of antisemitism in the recent years, only 6-17% of the respondents in capitals and big cities expressed concern about the same tendency.
The trend is also observed for the antisemitic attacks: as 15-26% of the respondents in capitals and big cities experienced antisemitic attacks firsthand, for small communities this indicator is estimated at 47%.
Although sociological assessments reveal a refusal to accept open declarations of ethnic inequality and hatred, this does not necessarily exclude potential feelings of xenophobia and ethnic or racial superiority on the part of a substantial part of society. This opens the way to relatively easy violations of the public ban on antisemitism and ethnic discrimination by various institutions in the public sphere.
Among the indications of the recent years, the study observes a “return” in the mass conciseness of a few old-style anti-Jewish stereotypes, such as accusation of Jews in the “dual loyalty”. According to the polls, about half of the Russian citizens believe that the Jews mostly loyal to their own interests, rather than interests of the country they live. However, the IEAJS study shows, that 70 to 85% of the questioned FSU Jews while answering the question, which country they see as “theirs” before all, named countries that they live now; 37 to 53% totally agree, that Jews must be patriots of the country they live in, and 33 to 50% do not see any contradiction between local patriotism and strong solidarity with the State of Israel
“The departure from the state antisemitism of Soviet times and a reduction of the level of violence motivated by antisemitic views do not mean that antisemitism as a cultural phenomenon has vanished in these countries. The majority of xenophobic groups in FSU society feature “latent” or “sleeping” antisemitism”, – prof. Ze’ev Khanin said.
“The Euro-Asian Jewish Congress is systematically monitoring antisemitic incidents and discourse in the FSU region. We consider this painful issue an essential problem of the modern world and call on leaders and influencers in the FSU region to confront and condemn antisemitism for what it is – disgusting, ignorant, and extremely dangerous bigotry”,- said EAJC President Michael Mirilashvili.
Prof. Vladimir (Ze’ev) Khanin is the Academic Chairman of the Institute for Euro-Asian Jewish Studies (IEAJS), founded by theEuro-Asian Jewish Congress and lectures Israel, Jewish and Political studies at Ariel University and Bar-Ilan University.
The Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP), an IEAJS partnership institution, is dedicated to scholarly research into the origins, processes, and manifestations of global antisemitism and of other forms of prejudice. ISGAP is the first academic research center on antisemitism in North America.
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