According to the study results, 24% of Hungarian society is severely and 18% somewhat anti-Semitic, placing it third in terms of anti-Semitism, behind Poland and Greece. The fact that 39% of Hungarian respondents think that Jews secretly coordinate world politics and the economy demonstrates the prevalence of anti-Semitic prejudices. Additionally, more than 25% of respondents believe that the crucifixion of Jesus remains a sin committed by Jews. A similar amount of people think there should be restrictions on the number of Jews in particular professions.
Despite the fact that these figures are high when compared internationally, they do not actually indicate significant changes from earlier polls. However, what set this study apart was the amount of information collected. The same questionnaire was asked by the interviewers in 16 countries, with representative samples for each country individually, with personal interviews, which increases reliability in this genre. This is already considered a respected survey in international anti-Semitism research, which this time was created from the will of Hungarians, indirectly with Hungarian state funds.
However, many government officials and lead rabbis that are associated with the Hungarian government initially cast doubt on the results of the study, pointing out the small number of attacks against Hungarian Jews compared to Western Europe. They criticized the original Telex article describing the survey, but according to Telex there is no contradiction with the study, as the number of extremist attacks alone does not have much to do with the overall social sentiments of the population. Officials then attacked the research leader András Kovács, saying that the results do not reflect reality.
András Kovács, a professor at Central European University, told Telex that he thoroughly described in the study why there is no connection between the existence of anti-Jewish prejudices and the frequency of anti-Jewish violence and found it worrying that people in such a high position of power do not have proper reading comprehension skills.
“We already said at the very beginning of the published analysis it is commonplace in social psychology that prejudice in itself does not lead to aggression against the members of the group it views negatively. Frightening anti-Jewish violence can disrupt the peace of societies in which anti-Semitism is relatively rare, but a determined and organized anti-Semitic minority – be they Islamists, far-right or far-left terrorists – choose violence as a means of political action. And it is also possible that in a society widely infected by anti-Jewish prejudices, the number of anti-Jewish atrocities is negligible,” said Kovács.
However, this does not mean that the high levels of antisemitism do not pose a threat to the future of Jewry in Hungary and similar Eastern-European nations. This is not taken seriously by the government, which claims it shows zero tolerance for antisemitism. Meanwhile, some of its members publicly allege that several international studies showing a high-ranking of Hungary for antisemitism were a result of a world conspiracy led by George Soros.
Ádám, Kolozsi. “Magyarország Dobogós AZ Antiszemitizmusban, a Nyugat-Európai Muszlimokéval Vetekszik AZ Itthoni Zsidóellenesség.” Telex, Telex, 14 Nov. 2021, https://telex.hu/tudomany/2021/11/14/a-magyar-antiszemitizmus-a-masodik-legnagyobb-europaban-olyan-eros-mint-a-nyugat-europai-muszlimoke.
“Nem Hihető, Hogy Magyarország Az Öt Leginkább Antiszemita Ország Közé Tartozna.’” Szombat Online, https://www.szombat.org/politika/nem-hiheto-hogy-magyarorszag-az-ot-leginkabb-antiszemita-orszag-koze-tartozna.
Ádám, Kolozsi. “A Kormány Fizetett Egy Kutatást AZ Európai Antiszemitizmusról, De Nem Hiszi El Az Eredményét, Mert Nem Az Jött Ki, Amit Várt.” Telex, Telex, 1 Feb. 2022, https://telex.hu/belfold/2022/02/01/a-kormany-fizetett-egy-kutatast-az-europai-antiszemitizmusrol-de-nem-hiszi-el-az-eredmenyet-miutan-tul-nagy-zsidoellenesseg-jott-ki-magyarorszagra.