The Anti-Defamation League publishes global index of anti-semitism. The index is produced using a survey designed to “research attitudes and opinions toward Jews”. For each country where the survey is conducted, an estimate is calculated of the percentage of adults in that country that hold anti-semitic attitudes.
The Anti-Defamation League was created in 1913 for the mission "to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all."
The ADL Global 100 Index of Anti-Semitism is a sad reminder that there is still much prejudice and hatred toward the Jewish people.
Most North Americans would probably not be surprised that 74% of those surveyed in the Middle East hold anti-Jewish attitudes. Many might be surprised to learn that 19% of respondents in the Americas have negative feelings towards Jews and even a higher percentage— 24%— in Europe.
Following are the statistics from a few of the countries— showing, for example, that 9% of Americans have anti-Jewish attitudes.
- United Kingdom— 8%
- United States— 9%
- Canada— 14%
- Brazil— 16%
- Italy— 20%
- Ireland— 20%
- Mexico— 24%
- Argentina— 24%
- Germany— 27%
- Spain— 29%
- Russia— 30%
- France— 37%
- Poland— 45%
- Panama— 52%
- Greece— 69%
What does that mean for the Seventh-day Adventist church? In North America, if we assume that attitudes would be similar inside the church, then about one in ten Adventists would hold anti-Jewish attitudes. Given that we will often be speaking of ancient Israel and the Jewish people in connection with our study of the Bible it would not be surprising then if we sometimes hear harsh language about the Jewish people.
I have never encountered true Adventist anti-semitism— actual hatred of Jews— but I have found harsh language. There is an interesting interview in an old issue of Shabbat Shalom that I think expresses it well (The Jewish-Adventist Connection, pp. 5-6).
Shabbat Shalom: Considering this special connection [between Adventism and Judaism], do we find anti-semitism among Adventists? If yes, how do you explain this paradox?
Paul Lippi: Historically speaking, the core of Christian self-understanding and self-definition is the rejection of Israel. In practice, however, Adventists are an ethnically diverse group of people who sincerely believe that every form of racism or prejudice is a grave sin. The anti-semitism I have encountered among Adventists is more a matter of insensitivity and ignorance than of malicious intent. I've never encountered a rabid Adventist anti-semite, but I do know of Jewish people who've left our fellowship because they couldn't handle the incessant anti-semitism from our pulpits and in our publications. We are more guilty of indifference than of personal animosity. Adventism suffers from some bad theology. Most of this bad theology is not original with us; it is part of our Christian heritage. Fortunately, you can have a poor grasp of theory, or even hold to the wrong theory, and still get certain things right in practice.
In Sabbath School discussions and occasionally in sermons I have encountered what I feel is excessively harsh language towards Judaism and the Jewish people. I believe this harshness often goes beyond the justifiable critical language of the Bible about universal sinfulness and is being used as an ethnic stereotype rather than an admonition for all of us.