POLICY REPORT: Countering Antisemitism in V4

With the goal of developing evidence-based policy recommendations, a comprehensive study was undertaken to improve understanding of the extent and causes of antisemitic prejudice in the Visegrád countries: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia.

First, focus groups were conducted to explore how various types of modern antisemitism are manifested in discussions and how anti-Jewish opinions are framed, contextualized, and justified. A region-wide survey followed in June 2021. Over 2,000 adults per country were surveyed online. The survey examined the prevalence, intensity, and causes of antisemitic prejudice in each Visegrád country. 

The overall level of manifest antisemitic prejudice was assessed by examining its content (the cognitive dimension), its emotional intensity (the emotive dimension), and the willingness to act upon this prejudice (the behavioural dimension). The cognitive dimension refers to antisemitic stereotypes, ideas, and beliefs about Jews, including those associated with traditional religion-based anti-Judaism and conspiratorial antisemitism. The emotive dimension indicates the intensity of feelings towards Jews. The behavioural dimension suggests a tendency to act on anti-Jewish prejudice, such as a readiness to engage in or accept discrimination against Jews.

Since after the Holocaust public expressions of antisemitism became increasingly unacceptable, new forms of antisemitism have emerged (Kovács 2011). Antisemitic prejudices are often expressed indirectly in relation to the Holocaust and Israel. The study, therefore, also examined Holocaust-related antisemitism (secondary antisemitism) and anti-Jewish hatred directed at Israel (new antisemitism). Due to the strong social and political taboo associated with the open expression of antisemitism, the issue of latency pressure was also examined.

The survey also sought to identify factors that cause antisemitic prejudice, and which social groups are prone to such prejudice. The following factors were investigated: gender, age, educational level, settlement size, socio-economic status, religiosity, law-and-order conservatism, political orientation, general prejudice, and nationalist and populist attitudes. To understand regional specificities better, the relationship between antisemitism and perceptions of collective victimhood and historical responsibility regarding the Holocaust were also explored.

Following the conclusion of the research, an international conference and country-level policy workshops were organized to discuss the research findings and formulate recommendations for countering antisemitism in three key policy areas: equality, education, and remembrance. This report presents the key research findings and policy recommendations developed by local experts. The recommendations primarily draw on research findings and are informed by the discussions at the academic and country policy workshops. They also draw on the experts’ understanding of the local social and political context and their knowledge of the specific ways in which antisemitism manifests itself in the four Visegrád countries.

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