Summary of the study Antisemitism in Sweden

This is a summary of the key results from the study Antisemitism in Sweden: A comparison of attitudes and ideas in 2005 and 2020. Read the chapters online or download the summary as PDF.

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Henrik Bachner, PhD
Pieter Bevelander, Professor.

A comparison of antisemitic attitudes and ideas in 2005 and 2020.

This study was commissioned by the Living History Forum. The aim of the study is to describe the prevalence of antisemitic attitudes and ideas in the Swedish population, and to elucidate how such attitudes have evolved over time by comparing its findings with the results from a study of antisemitic attitudes conducted by the Living History Forum and the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå) in 2005. A further aim is to examine how antisemitic attitudes relate to demographic and other background factors.

The study was based on two questionnaires with similar question sets conducted in 2005 and 2020. The more recent of the two was used in a survey of the Swedish public conducted by Novus, a Swedish analysis and research company, in the late summer of 2020. It was based on a representative stratified random sample with a response rate of 61 per cent, using the Novus Sweden Panel (public opinion panel). The final material comprises 3 507 respondents aged 18–79 (see Chapter 5 for the questionnaire’s implementation and reliability). The 2005 survey, which was conducted by Statistics Sweden for Brå and the Living History Forum, is the comparison (1).

As in 2005, the 2020 questionnaire primarily asked about attitudes towards and ideas about Jews. The questions were framed as question statements, with respondents asked to indicate the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with each statement. The questionnaire also included some background questions.

Antisemitic ideas take a variety of forms and contain both cognitive and emotional aspects. The statements used for the study expressed traditional antisemitic stereotypes and myths and anti-Jewish motifs found in contexts related to the Holocaust and the State of Israel (see Chapter 3 for the forms and contexts of contemporary antisemitism). There were also statements measuring social distance towards Jews. Many of the statements have been used in a similar or identical form in other surveys of antisemitic attitudes and ideas (see Chapter 4), which permits comparisons up to a point.

(1) For selection, number of responses, and response rate, see Bachner & Ring 2005.