(JTA) – Zionism is a Jewish conspiracy meant to manipulate Western societies to benefit Jews. That’s the belief of a majority of 1,007 French respondents to a poll about the Jewish nationalist movement. Some 53 percent of the respondents to the survey conducted this year by the Ifop polling company agreed with the statement that “Zionism is an international organization that seeks to influence the world and societies to the Jews’ benefit,” the Union of Jewish Students in France, or UEJF, said in a report this week about the poll that it commissioned Ifop to perform. Of those, 11 percent said they “strongly agree.” Half of the respondents said Zionism was a “racist ideology.”
At the same time, 54 percent of respondents agreed that anti-Zionism is a form of antisemitism and 59 percent agreed with the statement that Zionism is a “movement of liberation and emancipation for the Jewish people.” Twenty-six percent of respondents said they thought a boycott of Israel was justified. Israel’s existence “feeds antisemitism,” 38 percent of the respondents said.
The poll also revealed widespread hostility toward and ignorance about Israel. Almost a quarter of the respondents said that Israel declared its independence after 1980. A third indicated correctly that the nation was established in 1948. Israel was described as a “threat to regional stability” by 57 percent of respondents and as a “theocracy” by 51 percent. The assertions that Israel is a democracy and is a “normal country like all other” received approval ratings of 46 and 48 percent, respectively.
CAP: Illustrative photo of Jews in Paris, January 12, 2015. (AFP Photo/Joel Saget)