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Political antisemitism in Romania?: hard data and its soft underbelly

[journal article]

Shafir, Michael

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Abstract Public opinion polling on ethnic minorities has shown from the start that while negative or ambivalent attitudes to Jews in Romania are far from having vanished, they do not affect a spectrum as large as that of anti-Roma attitudes and prejudices. Subsequent surveying carried out in the late 1990s and early 2000s confirmed the earlier findings by studies measuring stereotypical perceptions or social distance. Yet it would be an exaggeration to state that antisemitism is not a factor influencing social attitudes or even the perception of politics by the population. The Romanian surveys available thus far did not measure latent antisemitism and they lack the sophistication inquiring what stands behind "non-committal don't knows" and "no answers". Holocaust-related surveys seem to indicate that only a small minority is interested in this aspect and even among its members information is often partial at best. It is therefore difficult to predict whether "political antisemitism" could emerge in post-communist Romania as it did in neighboring Hungary. The Hungarian and other experiences, however, demonstrate that political antisemitism can become a factor when for reasons other than anti-Jewish attitudes political parties, influential intellectuals and other social entrepreneurs condone and utilize themselves implicit antisemitism of which they are not always aware. The last part of the article illustrates such potentially contributing factors and actors utilizing qualitative rather than quantitative analysis.
Keywords persecution of Jews; Jew; historical development; survey; survey research; Romania; politics; social attitude; perception; post-communist society
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture
Document language English
Publication Year 2012
Page/Pages p. 557-603
Journal Studia Politica : Romanian Political Science Review, 12 (2012) 4
ISSN 1582-4551
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works