Antisemitism among young people in Germany and the Switzerland. What role does religious affiliation play?

The Jena professor Dr. Sören Kliem (Ernst-Abbe-Hochschule Jena) used large-scale surveys of young people that took place in Switzerland and Lower Saxony in 2017 and 2019 to examine the influence of religious affiliation on antisemitic attitudes. He came to the conclusion that Muslim young people are more antisemitic than their Christian or non-denominational peers.

The results show that Muslims in both countries have significantly higher approval rates for antisemitic attitudes. While around 6% of Christian and non-religious young people in Switzerland have antisemitic attitudes, the figure is around 18% among Muslim young people. The picture for Germany looks similar. Around 4% of Christian and non-religious young people are antisemitic here, while it is around 13% among Muslim young people.

The evaluation that has now been published reveals some possible influencing factors on antisemitism, Prof. Dr. Kliem warns against jumping to conclusions. Both the study in Switzerland and the surveys in Lower Saxony were not planned as antisemitism studies per se. This means that various significant influencing factors of antisemitic attitudes such as political self-assessment, social participation or approval of authoritarian and anti- democratic attitudes were not or only partially recorded. In addition, it was found that Muslim respondents of the second generation and with a higher level of education were less antisemitic.

The antisemitic attitudes were measured on the basis of the consent of 776 young people from Switzerland and 1367 young people from Lower Saxony to two statements. On the one hand, whether Jewish people have too much influence and, on the other hand, whether they are guilty of their persecution through their behavior.

The authors are Prof. Dr. Sören Kliem (Ernst Abbe University Jena, Department of Social Affairs), Yvonne Krieg MA (Criminological Research Institute Lower Saxony) and Prof. Dr. Baier Dirk Baier (Zurich University of Applied Sciences).