From The Copenhagen Post
New study shows five ethnic groupings in Denmark have negative attitudes towards Jewish people
More than 1500 immigrants from Turkish, Pakistani, Somali, Palestinian and Eastern European backgrounds have been interviewed, along with 300 ethnic Danes, for a study on attitudes towards Jews, reports Kristeligt Dagblad newspaper
Every person involved in the study, which will be published in a book about Denmark and foreigners, was asked three questions about their opinions on different groups in society, not just Jews.
But Jews didn’t fare well.
A third of respondents from non-Danish ethnic backgrounds said one ‘couldn’t be too careful enough in relation to Jews in Denmark’.
Three quarters of the former category said they wouldn’t like to see a family member marry a Danish Jew and 31.9 percent felt there were too many Jews in Denmark. There are about 7000 Jews in Denmark.
Of the Danish respondents, 14.7 percent said they didn’t want a Jew to marry into their family.
‘The study shows that anti-Semitic feelings are not just found in extremist circles. The opinions are far, far more widespread among immigrants than we normally imagine,’ said Professor Peter Nannestad of the Department of Political Science at University of Aarhus, who authored the study.
Chief Rabbi Bent Lexner from the Mosaisk Troessamfund, the religious community for Jews in Denmark, is not surprised by the results of the study.
‘The nice Danish naivety is apparent if you think it isn’t like that because that’s how the situation is.
Four of the five ethnic groups have something in common. Can you guess what it is? I wonder how the opinions of the odd group out compare?
Update, I should have had the sense to link to Norman Berdichevsky's earlier article on the subject - A Monument to Tolerance.
The study puts the cart before the horse or to use another metaphor looks at a situation through the wrong end of a telescope. Denmark. The statistic cited of 14.7% of Danish respondents, having negative attitudes towards Jews (by their response to a question involving a reluctance or opposition to marriage with Jews) probably ranks among the lowest indicators of anti-Semitism in any Western country (including the United States) and is most likely less than the attitude of Jews toward marrying Gentiles in Denmark and elsewhere.
Professor Peter Nannestad of the Department of Political Science at University of Aarhus, who authored the study concludes that the “the study shows that anti-Semitic feelings are not just found in extremist circles” and Chief Rabbi Bent Lexner from the Mosaisk Troessamfund, states that “he is not surprised by the results of the study”. Both of them simply prefer to ignore the simple fact that nowhere else in Europe in recent times has any Jewish community more successfully and fully integrated and been assimilated into the host society yet both these gentlemen prefer to give prominence to whatever evidence comes to hand to justify a public policy of “identity politics”. They obviously do not wish to examine the historic evidence that so dramatically highlights the enormous difference between Jewish integration within Danish society and the total failure to do so among the great majority of so called “New Danes”, largely Muslim immigrants.
From the latter part of the 18th century until the beginning of the twentieth, there were approximately a dozen Danish towns in which Jews lived and maintained their religious traditions and obligations and preserved a separate social identity for several generations. All of them eventually withered away due to Danish tolerance.
Jewish residents of these small towns – Aalborg, Aarhus, Randers, Horsens and Fredericia on the peninsula of Jutland; Odense, Faaborg and Assens on the island of Funen, Slagelse on the Western edge of the island of Zealand (Copenhagen is located on the far Eastern edge of this island) and Maribo and Nakskov on the minor island of Lolland. Fredericia was the longest lasting Jewish community in
What we know from the written record – in the newspapers and municipal archives of the cities where Jews resided - was that they were generally held in high regard. In no town were they ever more numerous than 4% - probably in
Denmark of the mid-nineteenth century set a marvelous example in human relations and brotherhood based on mutual respect. It was possible because a small minority (the Jews) had seen how it was incumbent upon them to win the respect of their neighbors. In today’s topsy-turvy world,
Although a few researchers have examined the question, “How did the Jews disappear from the Danish provincial towns?”, the evidence does not provide a clear explanation. There was clearly no discriminatory legislation after Jews were granted full civil equality by a special ordinance issued on March 29, 1814 although some craft guilds prohibited non-Christians from becoming apprentices to learn the particular skill.
Jews were a tolerated minority, about as numerous as Catholics. They enjoyed a special degree of autonomy for their own affairs and were responsible for notifying the authorities of any foreign Jew attempting to permanently settle in their community. There are only a handful of recorded conversions of Jews to Christianity in the state supported Lutheran Churches of the country. Later, when civil marriage became an alternative, it was no longer necessary for one partner to “convert” to another religion.
From the gravestone inscriptions of the two major Jewish cemeteries in
For a look at the reality of Muslim self-segregation in Denmark see my article in New English Review "A Monument to Tolerance" (July, 2008).