Germany / 26-06-2012
A new study finds that most Germans who oppose Israel's Palestinian policies are not antisemitic, but pro-peace and human rights
A new study conducted recently in Germany also knocks the ground out from under the assertion that most of Israel's critics in Europe are antisemitic. In presenting the findings of his research at a conference held last month in Istanbul, political psychologist Wilhelm Kempf related that both Muslim and Jewish colleagues initially voiced the suspicion that he was aiming to label criticism of Israel in the context of the conflict with the Palestinians as anti-Semitism. The findings were far more complex; 45 percent of the Germans who participated in the study interpreted the conflict in terms of the value of peace. One-third of them showed pro-Palestinian tendencies and 12 percent expressed pro-Israeli opinions.
A vast majority of Germans, 69.4 percent, said they were relatively supportive to very supportive of the Palestinian side. Kempf divides them into two groups: The smaller group is characterized by clearly pro-Palestinian positions and strong anti-Semitic prejudices (25.7 percent ). The rest of the respondents who criticized Israel (43.7 percent ) have strong to very strong pro-Palestinian opinions, but almost completely reject anti-Semitic prejudices. Only a small sub-group of the most radical of these critics (2 percent ) displays some antisemitic prejudices.
Kempf, who is one of the leading political psychologists in the world, found that the non-antisemitic critics of Israel are more knowledgeable about the conflict and feel greater emotional closeness to it than those who are antisemitic. They also have a stronger orientation toward peace and human rights.
The study shows a correlation between the level of support for the Palestinians and the extent of the familiarity and emotional involvement with the conflict. Among the antisemitic critics of Israel, the situation is completely different. Kempf found an inverse relationship between the degree of their support for the Palestinians and their emotional involvement in the conflict. The members of this group showed less concern for violations of human rights. It emerged that most of the anti-Semitic critics of Israel are not worried about the situation of the Palestinians; their degree of support for the Palestinians is, in fact, less than that of Germans who are not antisemitic.
By way of contrast, the non-antisemitic critics of Israel, who position themselves in a peace frame, reject both anti-Semitic and anti-Palestinian prejudices. While the more radical among them display anti-Zionist and anti-Israel attitudes, most showed awareness of Israel's security dilemmas and expressed uncertainty as to the amount of security a peace agreement will offer its citizens. The vast majority of them rejected all types of prejudices, be they antisemitic, anti-Zionist, anti-Israeli or anti-Palestinian.