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7. How Do Jews and Muslims in Norway Perceive Each Other?

Between Prejudice and the Willingness to Cooperate

Werner Bergmann (b. 1950), is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the Center for Research on Antisemitism, Technical University, Berlin. His fields of research include sociology and history of antisemitism and interethnic violence. Among Bergmann’s recent publications are Antisemitismus in Zentraleuropa. Deutschland, Österreich und die Schweiz vom 18. Jahrhundert bis zur Gegenwart (2011) (with Ulrich Wyrwa). He was also co-author of Antisemitismus in Deutschland – aktuelle Entwicklungen report on behalf of the German Bundestag (2017).

For more than a decade, there has been a discussion about the scope and character of a “Muslim antisemitism” in Europe, spurred on by anti-Jewish harassment and terrorist attacks by Muslims in some European countries.* However, there are only a few major studies on the attitudes of Muslims towards Jews in Europe, while larger studies on the attitude of Jews towards Muslims have so far been missing completely. Based on the data from the 2017 survey, “Attitudes towards Jews and Muslims in Norway. Population Survey and Minority Study” (CHM), it is now possible to investigate how Jews and Muslims in Norway perceive each other, whether they see opportunities for cooperation as minorities and have common experiences of discrimination, what their positioning in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict looks like, and whether it influences their mutual perception. While the focus is on the relationship between Muslims and Jews, in some cases the results for the general Norwegian population are included as a tertium comparationis, since Jews and Muslims form part of Norwegian society.

Keywords: antisemitism, Islamophobia, Jews, Muslims, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Norway

1. Introduction

Since 2002, when an escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict triggered a wave of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel offences in some Western European countries in which young immigrant Muslims were for the first time alongside/among the usual right-wing extremist perpetrators, there has been a discussion about the scope and character of a “Muslim antisemitism” in Europe. Some blame Muslim immigrants for the spread of antisemitism in Europe, while others see them as a “scapegoat” diverting attention from antisemitism in the general population and, at the same time, inciting hostility towards Muslims. Up to now, there exist only a few empirical studies on this issue, but all results available so far indicate that antisemitic attitudes are more prevalent among Muslims immigrants than among the general populations of the respective European countries.1 The study for Norway confirms this finding with some modifications, namely those related to social distance and emotions. The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has undertaken two surveys on Jewish experiences and perceptions of antisemitism, discrimination and hate crime, first in eight then in twelve EU Member states, but there is no specific focus on the Muslim population.2 Small-scale surveys of Norwegian Jews’ attitudes towards Muslims have been conducted in Norway, in which this topic has been one among other larger problem areas.3 The survey on attitudes towards Jews and Muslims in Norway in 20174 was the first broad-based empirical study to include a sample of both Muslim and Jewish respondents, allowing the investigation of the relationship between the two groups in terms of various aspects. It is now possible to look at mutual opinions and feelings, the question of social distance, opinions on the prevalence of negative attitudes, opinions on the need to combat anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim harassment, willingness to cooperate, common experience of discrimination and exclusion, and last, but not least, positioning in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

While the focus of this chapter is on the relationship between Muslims and Jews, it is important, for a better understanding of the results, to include in some cases the results for the general Norwegian population.5 The survey of 2017 has three target groups and samples: a representative sample of the Norwegian population (N=1,575),6 and samples of Jews N=162) and of Muslims (N=586) in Norway.

Surveys among religious and ethnic minorities always face the problem of getting representative samples and often having low response rates. This problem could not be completely solved in the present case either. This should be borne in mind when evaluating the following results. The survey among Jews (total population in Norway about 1300 persons) was distributed to 504 members of the Jewish communities in Oslo and Trondheim. The response rate was 29% (N=170 – this is 13% of the whole Jewish population in Norway).7 The educational structure of the Jewish sample deviates from the population sample and the Muslim sample by a larger proportion of people with higher education. Due to a technical error in the data collection process, 60 respondents were not asked some of the questions. Analyses show this group not to differ systematically from the rest with regard to the questions answered by all, indicating that the loss of respondents is random rather than systematic in character. Even if a sample of only 110 respondents gives large random errors, the absence of a systematic bias would mean that we can rely upon clear-cut results.

The target population for the survey among Muslims were people of immigrant background (immigrants and Norwegian-born citizens with immigrant parents) with a minimum of five years of residence in Norway and from the following countries: Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iraq, Iran, Kosovo, Morocco, Pakistan, Palestine, Somalia, Turkey. TNS Kantar used addresses selected from the National Registry, and randomly selected 7,000 individuals disproportionately pre-stratified based on previous survey response rates from the various national groups. After two reminders, 826 replied, which gives a response rate of 12%. Of these, 586 answered Muslim to the question of religious affiliation, and this is the sample used in the analyses that follow.8 The respondents have lived in Norway for different lengths of time; only some were born in Norway to immigrant parents. However, all had lived in the country for five years or more and were expected to be able to answer the questionnaire in Norwegian. In any case, we are dealing with a considerably heterogeneous minority.9

The response rate is low, but similar to what is often the case in present-day surveys.10 Tests have shown that low rates do not necessarily result in a biased sample.11 For the Muslim sample, the response rates vary somewhat according to country of origin, but very little with regard to age and gender. The resulting composition of the sample corresponds quite well to the immigrant population with regard to these variables. This also applies to the educational structure of the Muslim sample, which largely corresponds to that of the Norwegian population (in contrast to the Jewish sample).12 Nevertheless, we cannot rule out that the kind of attitudes we were studying may have had an influence on the willingness to participate in the survey, which would affect the results. Furthermore, it is to be expected that difficulties in answering a questionnaire in Norwegian may have led to higher non-response rates among the less well-integrated immigrants. This must be kept in mind when interpreting the results.

Another problem is the risk of respondents considering what they think is socially acceptable or wise when answering the attitude questions.13 Here, it is an advantage that the interviews were done by means of a self-completion questionnaire, thus avoiding an interviewer effect.

2. Attitudes of Jews and Muslims toward each other

According to attitude theories, one can differentiate between three dimensions of attitudes: the affective or emotional dimension, the cognitive dimension, and the conative or behavioural dimension.14

To measure mutual feelings, respondents were asked if they had a particular sympathy or a certain dislike of the other group.

Figure 7.1.

Dislike of Jews (Percent. Population and Muslim samples)

Figure 7.2.

Dislike of Muslims (Percent. Population and Jewish samples)15

Figure 7.3.

Sympathy for Jews (Percent. Population and Muslim samples)

Figure 7.4.

Sympathy for Muslims (Percent. Population and Jewish samples)

In both cases, the Jews less often show negative feelings and more often positive feelings towards Muslims, while the Muslims more often show negative feelings and less often positive feelings toward Jews compared to the attitudes of the general population. However, when both minorities are compared directly, Muslims less often express negative feelings toward Jews (9.1%) than vice versa (20.9%) while the groups are equal in their degree of mutual sympathy (24.3% and 22.7%). Since a large proportion of Muslim respondents chose neutral or evasive answers as “impossible to say” and “no response”, one nevertheless has to be careful with a conclusive assessment. To decide if this is to be “interpreted as a manifestation of unclear feelings or lack of opinion” or as a conscious refraining from answering in order to hide a negative view,16 one has to look more closely at these respondents by cross-tabulating them with the index on prejudice against Jews (see below).17 Both groups seem to follow approximately the same tendencies as the general population: Jews are generally seen less negative and more often positive than Muslims – that is, Muslims reject Jews only a little more frequently (9.1%) than the general population (7.5%), while Jews reject Muslims more often (22.3%) than they were rejected by Muslims (9.1%), but still reject them much less compared with the general population. The same picture emerges when we look at the answers to the “particular sympathy” question. Muslims show only a little less sympathy for Jews (24.3%) than the general population (27.1%), while Jews show clearly more often sympathy for Muslims (22.7%) than the general population (14.4%).

To get information about the social relationship between groups, one can try to measure the social distance or proximity between them. In order to do this, we used two questions of the “social distance scale” developed by Emory Bogardus.18 The respondents were asked to give their opinion on having Jews or Muslims as neighbours or in their circle of friends. The answers to the question of Jews as neighbours or friends show almost the same picture as the “dislike” item: 7% of the general population and 8.5% of the Muslim sample dislike having Jews as neighbours, and again 7% of the population and 11% of the Muslims dislike them in their circle of friends, while an overwhelming majority of 89% and 88.4% among the population and between 85% and 79% of the Muslims would like or would not mind to have them as neighbours or friends. As in the case of the item of “a certain dislike”, Muslim respondents are only slightly more often negative than the general population. Both the general population and the Jews dislike Muslims as neighbours and in the circle of friends more often: 26% of the population and 20% of the Jews dislike Muslims as neighbours, and both reject them a little less often as friends (21% and 12%). The same pattern emerges as in the case of having “a certain dislike” of Muslims: Muslims were clearly more often disliked as neighbours or friends than Jews, and Jews show this dislike of Muslims less often than the general population. Contrary to the expectation that respondents would rarely accept Jews or Muslims as friends, i.e. closer to them than neighbours, in the case of social distance from Muslims, the situation is exactly the other way around. The finding that the general population and Jews would like Muslims more often among their friends than as neighbours may be explained by the fact that one can choose socially similar persons as friends, while this is not the case with neighbours. In the case of rejection as a neighbour, apart from ethnic or cultural differences, social status also plays an important role. Since Muslims in Norway are immigrants, it is possibly assumed that they have a different lifestyle and more often belong to a lower social class.

With regard to the emotional components of antipathy and social distance, one can conclude, that the responses of the two minorities are not very different from those of the general population.19 Muslims show dislike and social distance towards Jews only slightly more frequently than the general population; Jews show this towards Muslims even less compared to the attitude of the population. However, Jews are more likely to show dislike and social distance to Muslims than vice versa.

While the differences between the attitudes of Muslims and the general population towards Jews are quite small with respect to the emotional and social dimension of prejudice, they become larger in the cognitive dimension, as the following figures 7.5 and 7.6 show. Muslim respondents agree clearly more often than the general population to all negative items.20 Concerning the three positive items (Jews are family-oriented, artistically gifted and more intelligent), there is no clear pattern. Muslims see Jews as more intelligent than the population does; this may be due to the ambiguous meaning of intelligence, which is seen as a very positive characteristic for members of one’s ingroup, but can be seen as dangerous (in the sense of sly or crafty) as a characteristic of members of an outgroup.21 Concerning the positive item of family orientation, Muslims clearly agree less often (34%) than the general population (60%), which may be due to a comparison with the self-image of Muslims, who see themselves as very family-oriented, while the general population compares the Jewish orientation with their own nuclear family situation.22

Figure 7.5.

Opinions regarding Jews (Percent. Population sample)

Figure 7.6.

Opinions regarding Jews (Percent. Muslim sample)

Table 7.1 shows the differences between the two samples in agreeing with the six negative statements about Jews:

Table 7.1.

Percent. who find that the statements fit rather well or completely with own opinion (Population and Muslim samples)

General populationMuslimsDifference
Jews have too much influence on the global economy134229
Jews have too much influence on US foreign policy294920
Jews consider themselves to be better than others183315
World Jewry is working behind the scenes to promote Jewish interests142814
Jews have enriched themselves at the expense of others122614
Jews have always caused problems in the countries in which they live 816 8
Jews have largely themselves to blame for being persecuted 816 8

In the Muslim sample, statements about the international influence of Jews are the most important. This may perhaps be explained by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in which Israel/the Jews are seen to receive much greater international support, especially from the US, than the Palestinians. The ancient topos of Christian theology that Jews have to attribute their visible misfortune and persecution to themselves as punishment for the denial of Jesus as the Messiah and their killing of Christ may be not so important for the Muslims. Another reason could be a feeling of a common fate: as a minority in Norway (and in other European countries) Muslims also see themselves confronted with prejudice and discrimination (see below).23

Figure 7.7.

Index on prejudice against Jews (Percent. Population and Muslim samples)

With six out of seven negative items in Table 7.1, we built an index on “Prejudice against Jews” in which the statements are arranged by the proportion of those respondents that answered “rather well” (getting one point on the scale) and “completely” (2 points).24 This results in a scale ranging from 0 to 12. If we determine the cut-off point between 3 and 4 points to differentiate the low from the high scorers,25 with 28.9% the Muslims range much more often among the high scorers compared to the general population, with only 8.3%.26

Figure 7.8.

Opinions on stereotypes of Muslims (Percent. Population and Jewish samples)27

Turning to the list of statements about Muslims, we can see that in this case the general population agrees more often to the negative statements and less often to the positive ones than the Jewish respondents. But both groups agree more often to the Islamophobic prejudices compared to the prevalence of anti-Jewish prejudices among the general population and the Muslims. Since the scales of prejudice against Jews and Muslims consist of different items, one cannot, of course, compare the results directly. Nevertheless, in this case one can at least say that they point in the same direction as the emotional rejection and social distance, which are higher with respect to Muslims than to Jews.

Looking at the eight negative statements, one can see that the general population and the Jews differ most in those statements, which formulate doubts about the ability or the will of Muslims to adhere or to integrate into Western society and in particular into Norwegian culture and society, while both groups are closer together in statements dealing with Muslim violence, the oppression of women and the fear that Islam might want to take over Europe.28 The reason why Jews believe in the ability of Muslims to integrate more often than the general population lies probably in the historical experience of the Jews, whose ability to integrate and belong to European society had similarly been doubted for a long time. The very high education level among the Jewish sample may also have exerted an influence here.

Table 7.2.

Percent. who find that the statements fit rather well or completely with own opinion29

General populationJewsDifference
Muslims pose a threat to Norwegian culture402317
Muslims do not fit into modern Western society362115
Muslims do not want to integrate into Norwegian society422715
Muslims have themselves to blame for the increase in anti-Muslim harassment483513
Muslims consider themselves morally superior to others463613
Muslims oppress women695910
Muslims want to take over Europe3122 9
Muslims are more violent than others2926 3

Out of these eight negative statements, six were chosen for the construction of a “Prejudice against Muslims index”.30

Figure 7.9.

Index on prejudice against Muslims (Percent. Population and Jewish samples)

Prejudices against Muslims are less widespread among Jews than among the general population, which may be due to the higher level of education of the Jewish respondents and possibly also to a form of minority solidarity (see section 3). While 34.1% of the general population are among the high scorers (4–12), there are only 22.8% scoring high among the Jewish respondents. In case of the anti-Muslim prejudice, the general population and the Jews differ less (11.3 percentage points) compared to the situation concerning prejudice against Jews, where the difference between the population and the Muslim sample is 20.6 percentage points. When we compare the number of high scorers in both minorities, i.e. those harbouring prejudice against the other group, the difference is clear (6.1 percentage points), but not as large as one may have expected given the focus of public discussion on the danger of antisemitism among Muslims.31

In a last step, we build combined indexes of antisemitism and Islamophobia by linking up the three indexes we build to measure dislike, social distance and prejudice.32

Figure 7.10.

Combined index on antisemitism (Percent. Population and Muslim sample)

When the cut-off point is determined between 1 and 2 points between low and high scorers, one gets not only a small proportion of high scorers among the population (5.4%), but also among the Muslims (6.9%), while there is a quite large difference when choosing a cut-off point between 0 and 1 point (13.3% compared to 34.5%). The lower difference between the general population and the Muslims on the surveys combined index on antisemitism is due to the fact that in the other dimensions of prejudice, “dislike” and “social distance”, both samples show more similar results. Therefore, one can say that antisemitic ideas are quite widespread, especially among the Muslims, but that the number of hard-core antisemitic respondents is rather small.

Figure 7.11.

Combined index on Islamophobia (Percent. Population and Jewish sample)33

The picture is not as good when we look at the combined index on Islamophobia, where we count a much higher proportion of respondents who are among the hard-core Islamophobes – despite the low approval on the dislike dimension and the social distance dimension. This holds true for both samples, although we find the high-scorers twice as often among the general population (27%) as among the Jews (14.5%). One has to keep in mind that both indexes (of prejudices against Jews and against Muslims) consist of different statements, so the results cannot be compared one to one. Nevertheless, negative attitudes are much more prevalent towards Muslims than towards Jews.

One can assume that an emotional rejection (dislike) of a group will be closely connected with negative opinions towards them. But given the clearly smaller proportion of those who declared having a certain dislike of Jews or Muslims compared to those agreeing to one or more antisemitic or Islamophobic statements, both dimensions of prejudice seem only partly to overlap.

Figure 7.12.

Dislike of Muslims by Prejudice against Muslims (Percent. Jewish sample)

Jews N=110: 28 – 41 – 18 – 23 (because of very small N for “completely” (N=3) the option is summed up with “rather small”; the option “no answer” (N=4) is summed up with “impossible to say”).
Figure 7.13.

Dislike of Jews by prejudice against Jews (Percent. Muslim sample)

N=586: 210 – 74 – 215 – 42 – 13 – 32 (The unexpected result for “completely” may be due to low N)

The Jewish respondents answered on both dimensions of prejudice in a coherent way. Those who score low on the “dislike” statement also rank low on the prejudice index (0 to 3 points), and a clear majority of those who agree to the statement rank high in the prejudice index (4–12).

For the Muslim respondents, the emotional and the cognitive dimensions of antisemitism seem not to be very closely connected. Of those who dislike Jews “completely”, 46% don’t agree to any antisemitic statement and another 8% rank low on the prejudice index, while 20% of those who agree “not at all” to the “dislike” statement score high on the prejudice index, and even the majority of those who answered “rather badly” does so. There is also an interesting difference between the samples concerning those who chose the “impossible to say” option: while among the Jewish respondents they rank in the middle between the “likers” and “dislikers” and show a tendency to score high on the prejudice index compared with the “likers”, the Muslim respondents who chose the option “impossible to say” tend more to the “likers”, yet score zero even more often on the prejudice scale than those agreeing “not at all” to the “dislike” statement. Therefore, we can say that the correlation between the emotional and the cognitive dimension of prejudices differs greatly between the two groups.

An important question for the relationship between Jews and Muslims in Norway concerns the attitude towards the Holocaust, whereby here, too, the attitude of the Norwegian population as a benchmark is important. On the subject, three questions were included in our survey.

Table 7.3.

How well do these statements fit with you own opinion?

Not at allRather badlyImpossible to answerNo responseRather wellCompletelyTotal
Jews exploit the Holocaust for their own purposesPopulation20.229.627.70.116.85.6100
Muslims10.112.533.813.815.913.8100
Jews72.616.94.82.42.40.8100
Because of the Holocaust Jews today are entitled to their own state where they can seek protection from persecution Population13.217.935.50,122.910.4100
Muslims11.910.933.713.516.313.6100
Jews6.516.912.92.420.241.1100
Knowledge about the Holocaust is important for preventing the oppression of minorities todayPopulation0.72.58.90,131.456.4100
Muslims3.64.021.913.919.836.7100
Jews0.80.81.62.413.780.6100

Population N= 1,535; Muslims N=476 (only those respondents that have heard about the Holocaust); Jews N=124

First, it is important to note that the Muslim respondents have frequently chosen the options “impossible to answer” and “no response”. Muslim respondents who have never heard of the Holocaust (25.6% compared with only 2.2% of the general population) are omitted from the sample; another 8.3% were not sure, and 2.5% did not respond. Only 63.7% have heard about it compared with 95.7% of the general population.

It is no surprise that Jewish respondents almost completely disagree that Jews exploit the Holocaust (89.5%), and almost all of them consider the knowledge of the Holocaust an important means of prevention the oppression of minorities (94.3%). Half of the Muslim respondents cannot answer the question of whether Jews exploit the Holocaust; after all, almost a third (29.7%) agrees here, while only 22.6% reject this allegation, compared with half the Norwegian population. Nevertheless, a quarter of the latter cannot answer the question, while 22.4% agree to the allegation of exploitation too. Especially among Muslim respondents, this opinion may be based on the general view that in Norway and other Western countries, Jewish victims of the past are acknowledged more than Muslims in the present (Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, etc.). Muslims see themselves in a kind of victims’ rivalry with Jews. The impression that as an obligation from the consequences of the Holocaust, the United States especially, but also Western European states tend to support the side of Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or, for example, do not sufficiently criticise its settlement policy, may also play a role here.

Concerning the question about the importance of knowing about the Holocaust, almost none in the three samples contest the assumption that this would help in preventing oppression of minorities. However, while a large majority of the Jews and the general population is convinced that the knowledge of the Holocaust is a suitable means of prevention, the Muslim respondents are less likely to believe it. Concerning the question of whether Jews today are entitled to their own state because of the Holocaust, there are no clear-cut answers in either group; even 38.9% of the Jewish sample disagree or cannot answer the question. It is, however, likely that there are different reasons for this refusal. While Jews may feel they have a right to their own state regardless of the Holocaust, Muslims and a part of the general population could contest that Jews are entitled to their own state in spite of the Holocaust. This may be especially true of those who agree with the statement that there “can be no peace as long as the State of Israel exists” (25% of the Muslim sample, 21% of the general population). In the face of the conflict over land between Israelis and Palestinians, it is surprising that Muslims reject this opinion less frequently than the general population and agree with it as often as the population. Both among the Muslims and among the general population, it is striking that a large proportion cannot answer this question, or did not answer.

Overall, the opinions on Holocaust-related issues are clearly divergent between the Muslim and the Jewish sample, with the population taking a middle position that is, nevertheless, closer to Muslims than to Jews – with the exception of the item about the importance of knowledge about the Holocaust for the prevention of racism.

3. The relationship and experiences of Jews and Muslims in Norway

As we have seen, antipathy and social distance between Jews and Muslims in Norway are not very widespread, despite the existence of mutual prejudice. It is therefore not surprising that a large majority in both groups, as minorities in the country, want to cooperate in the fight against prejudice and discrimination. Only a small minority in both groups does not believe that Jews and Muslims can cooperate in this respect.

Table 7.4.

Do you think that Muslims and Jews can cooperate on combating prejudice and discrimination? (Percent. Muslim and Jewish samples)

YesDon’t wish to answer/ no responseDon’t knowNoTotal
Muslims69.56.619.64.1100
Jews81.52.4 7.48.6100
Table 7.5.

Do you think that Muslims and Jews as minorities in Norway have any common experiences? (Percent. Muslim and Jewish samples)

YesDon’t wish to answer/ no responseDon’t knowNoTotal
Muslims48.16.339.65.8100
Jews74.73.1 4.917.3100

The distribution of the answers in Tables 7.4 and 7.5 reveal the same pattern. A majority sees the possibility for cooperation based in common experiences as religious minorities. Jews are here more often optimistic than Muslims, although their proportion is also a little bit larger among those who disagree with both statements. The high proportion of those who do not answer or respond “don’t know” is quite large among Muslim respondents (26.4% and 46.2%). The reason could be that the Jewish community in Norway is very small so that the respondents never came into contact with Jews or do not feel well informed about activities of the Jewish community, but it could also be grounded in the fact that Muslims do not want to be associated with the Jews as a “persecuted minority”.

Do the attitudes towards the other group have an influence on the answers to the question of common experiences? In the case of the Jews, a clear relation can be seen between the answers to this question and the level of Islamophobia, measured by the combined index on Islamophobia. Because of the small Jewish sample (N=103) the distribution has a certain amount of contingency, but what can be said is that a large majority of those who harbour no prejudice against Muslims (point 0 – 81%) see common experiences with the Muslim community, while only very few (9%) do not see it. Those who show at least some degree of Islamophobia, and especially those scoring at the top (point 3 – 75%) contest much more often that Jews and Muslims have any common experience as minorities.

The answers of the Muslim respondents (N=586) to this question differ from those of the Jewish respondents. What is most significant in comparison with the Jewish sample is the high proportion of those who say they do not know or give no response (ranging from 27% to 49%) – regardless of their attitude towards Jews. Obviously, part of the Muslim population in Norway does not know much about the Jewish community and therefore cannot say anything about common experiences (lack of contact) or they are accustomed to thinking here in different categories (victim rivalry), so that the idea of ​​similarities seems unusual. In contrast to the distribution of responses in the Jewish sample, about half of the Muslim interviewees, regardless of whether they have an antisemitic attitude or not, also see common ground between the experiences of Jews and Muslims. As expected, the proportion of those who deny this increases with the strength of prejudices against Jews (from 2% at 0 points on the combined index on Antisemitism via 11% and 23% to 27% reaching 3 points on the index).

An important point for the readiness to cooperate concerns the question of equal treatment of both groups. In this case, a majority of the respondents of both samples seem to have no clear idea about how the authorities treat the other group.

Table 7.6.

Do you think that Norwegian authorities treat Muslims and Jews equally? (Percent. Muslim and Jewish samples)

YesNo responseDon’t knowNo, they treat Jews betterNo, they treat Muslims betterTotal
Muslims27.618.932.021.3 0.1100
Jews22.2 7.446.3 7.416.7100

Only about a quarter in both groups presumes an equal treatment by the Norwegian authorities, and each group believes the other would be treated better, while large parts do not respond or choose “don’t know”. Almost no respondent in the Muslim sample sees a better treatment of their own group. This judgement may be based on real experiences. Muslims more often have the feeling that they are treated unfairly compared with the Jewish respondents (see Table 7.7). While an Islamophobic attitude has no significant influence on the judgement of Jewish respondents concerning equal treatment,34 Muslim respondents with antisemitic attitudes see a preference for Jews.35

Table 7.7.

Do you feel that you have been treated unfairly by Norwegian public institutions?

YesNot sureNo responseNoTotal
Muslims14.616.92.466.1100
Jews 6.8 5.6087.7100

(Labour and Social Work (NAV), school, health service, police) because of your religious affiliation? (Percent. Muslim and Jewish samples)

This difference only occurs when we ask about unfair treatment by public institutions, but it obviously does not apply to the behaviour of the general population. In this case, the answers of the respondents of both groups are quite similar. When asked if they “have been made to feel that they don’t belong in Norwegian society in the past 12 months” and “if anyone behaved negatively towards them in Norwegian society in the past 12 months”, Jewish respondents agree here a little bit less often (18.5% to 26.7%) than Muslim respondents (26.9% to 35.5%), but the differences are quite small. We find the same pattern in the answers to the question if “one had experiences of harassment in Norway in the past 12 months because of one’s religious affiliation”; 14.2% of the Muslims and 11.1% of the Jews choose the option “often/sometimes”.

Table 7.8.

Do you ever avoid showing your religious affiliation out of fear of negative attitudes? (Percent. Muslim and Jewish samples)

YesNo responseNoTotal
Muslims26.02.171.8100
Jews63.60.036.4100

Although members of both minorities state having experienced harassment because of their religious affiliation, both groups react quite differently. Jews much more often avoid showing their religious affiliation than Muslims, although they declare having experienced unfair treatment and harassment less often than Muslims. In our report we try to explain this as a manifestation of the minorities’ different historical experiences, “where the Jews in Europe have often kept a low profile so as to avoid persecution”, while for Muslims as a more visible and numerous group it may be “less relevant ... to avoid showing their religious affiliation”,36 as some were accustomed to from their countries of origin.

Table 7.9.

How widespread do you think negative attitudes towards Muslims are in Norway today?

Very widespreadFairly widespreadImpossible to answerNo responseNot very widespreadNot widespread at allTotal
Population16.564.34.70.014.00.5100
Muslims18.134,219.03.120.55.2100
Jews 8.771.86.81.011.70.0100

Population: N=1,568; Muslims N= 387; Jews N=103

The evaluation of how widespread negative attitudes toward Muslims are differs between the general population and the Jews on the one hand, and the evaluation of the Muslims on the other. While among the former about 80% believe those attitudes are “very” or “fairly widespread”, only about half of the Muslims do so, and for another fifth the question is “impossible to answer”. On the other hand, almost two-thirds of the Muslim sample (63%) believe that negative attitudes toward them have become more widespread in the past five years.37 The opinion on this matter among the population is slightly influenced by the degree of Islamophobia: those scoring high on the combined index on Islamophobia see negative attitudes as more widespread than those scoring low on the index. This is not the case for the Jewish respondents.

Table 7.10.

How widespread do you think negative attitudes towards Jews are in Norway today? (Percent. Population and Muslim samples)38

Very widespreadFairly widespreadImpossible to answerNo responseNot very widespreadNot widespread at allTotal
Population2.416.911.80.058.810.1100
Muslims1.78.037.10.434.318.6100

The response pattern concerning the spread of antisemitism in Norway is quite different from the pattern regarding the spread of Islamophobia; neither the population nor the Muslims see negative attitudes towards Jews as very widespread, while the few Jewish respondents see such attitudes as very or fairly widespread.

Although one cannot make reliable statements about the distribution of opinions among Jews in Norway because of the small number of respondents, surveys among Jews in a number of European countries suggest that Jews perceive antisemitism to be very widespread and increasing.39 This is also supported by the fact that 69.4% of Jews in Norway believe that antisemitism has spread more widely in the last five years (25.0% say as widespread as before; 4.8% say less widespread than before).

Jews and Muslims were also asked if it was necessary to combat antisemitism and Islamophobia in Norway. Since Muslims are less likely than the general population and Norwegian Jews to think that Islamophobia is very widespread in Norway, they are also less likely to agree to the need to combat Islamophobia than the general population (54.3% to 56.0%), and even less than the Jews (67.2%).

4. Views on harassment and violence against the other group

Antisemitism and Islamophobia are not just attitudes, but manifest themselves also in harassment and even violence against members of the Jewish and Muslim populations. In the 2017 study we used five items for each group to measure the attitudes of the three samples toward this topic.

Figure 7.14.

Views on harassment and violence against Muslims (Percent. Population and Jewish sample)40

Figure 7.15.

Views on harassment and violence against Jews (Percent. Population and Muslim samples)

Figure 7.14 shows that the distribution of the answers given by Jews and the general population concerning harassment and violence against Muslims are quite similarly distributed. A large majority of both samples agrees that violence and harassment against Muslims show that Islamophobia has become a serious problem in Europe, and both ascribe these acts to extremists. Both also disagree that terror attacks justify harassment and violence against Muslims; only 10% of the population and 9% of the Jewish sample agree here. But one-third of the population and the Jewish samples agree that there is a connection between the number of Muslim asylum seekers and the problem of violence against Muslims, i.e., the immigration of Muslims to Norway is seen as a causal factor in this respect.

By contrast, figure 7.15 shows quite clear differences between the distribution of answers given by Muslims and by the general population. Muslims clearly agree less often that harassment and violence against Jews concern everyone and constitute an attack on “our society”, that they are an indication of strong antisemitism, or that Muslim leaders must do more to combat antisemitism in their local communities. This is partly due to the fact that a large part of the Muslim respondents chose the option “impossible to say” or did not answer the question. Correspondingly, if one looks at those who disagree to the above-mentioned statements, Muslim respondents differ a little less from the general population. This may be an indication that the parts of the Muslim population who have not lived in Norway for long are unfamiliar with these issues and have not formed a clear opinion yet (as can also be seen in the distribution of their answers to other items of the study).

In the following, I will investigate what these results tell us about the relationship between Jews and Muslims in Norway. For Jews who have a long history of harassment and violence in Europe, the attack on a minority is a warning sign that should concern everyone, and is not only seen as a problem of the affected group because it may spill over to other minorities. Muslims see these attacks less often as something that concerns the whole society, to which some of them as immigrants may not feel yet closely related. The answer to the question “Muslim leaders must do more to combat antisemitism in their local communities”, is supported by a clear majority of the population (69%),41 but is seen as necessary by only 41% of the Muslims. Accordingly, 19% disagree (compared to 4% of the population) or were not able to give an answer (40%). It may be that the latter either do not see antisemitism as being widespread among them, or they do not support this demand because they have experienced that the Muslims are implicitly given the primary responsibility for antisemitic violence.

A third dimension of prejudice is called conative or behavioural, meaning the behavioural tendencies of a person toward a particular object, such as acceptance and readiness to help, but also withdrawal and aggression (for example, the readiness to use or excuse violence against an individual group). Of course, there is no direct and unambiguous connection between the existence of a cognitive and emotional prejudice with violence, because many other factors come into play (psychological dispositions, cultural context, situational factors etc.).42 Readiness to use or excuse violence takes us, as Daniel Staetsky has phrased it, “metaphorically ‘half-way’ between attitudes and behaviour, and somewhat closer to an empirical assessment of the potential for violence”.43 The question is, do antisemitic or anti-Muslim attitudes coincide with legitimisation of violence against Jews or Muslims?44

In the CHM survey, the readiness to justify harassment or violence against Jews is measured by asking “Considering how Israel treats the Palestinians, harassment and violence against Jews are justifiable” (12% of the population and 21% of the Muslims agree). Here a higher percentage of Muslims agree, which is partly influenced by the connection that the statement formulates between the violence against Jews and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in which some Muslim countries, as neighbours of Israel, are much more involved than Norway.45 It may also be that both groups generally have different ideas about violence. Norwegians generally do not consider violence and harassment justified.

The other way around, the readiness to justify harassment and violence against Muslims is measured by asking the population and the Jews “Considering recent terror attacks, harassment and violence against Muslims are justifiable” (10% of the population and 9% of the Jews agree here).

One can now ask how the justification of harassment and violence against the other group is related to prejudices against the other group. For this purpose we have crossed the two questions “Considering how Israel treats the Palestinians, harassment and violence against Jews are justifiable” and “Considering recent terror attacks, harassment and violence against Muslims are justifiable” respectively with the index on Antisemitism and with the index on Islamophobia. We consider here only those whose opinions fit with these statements “completely and rather well”. In both cases, justifying harassment and violence against Muslims and against Jews, there is a steady increase from point 0 to point 3 on the index of Islamophobia/on the index on Antisemitism for the population sample as well as for both minority samples (the fact that the pattern differs somewhat in the case of the Jewish respondents (high scorers: 2 and 3 on the index) is due to the small number of respondents in the Jewish sample (N=110), especially among the high-scorers (N=16). The general trend remains nonetheless.46 This means that the proportion of respondents who consider harassment and violence against another group justifiable increases steadily with an increase in antisemitic or Islamophobic attitudes. Therefore, we can conclude that there is a correlation between the strength of antisemitic or Islamophobic attitudes and the justification of violence against Jews or Muslims.

Although there is a clear correlation between prejudice and justification of violence, the figures (footnote 39) also show that a large majority of those considering harassment and violence against Jews as justified harbour no or only low levels of antisemitic prejudice. Looking at the absolute numbers, of the 183 interviewees among the population that consider harassment and violence against Jews justifiable, 146 (or 79.8%) are among the low scorers (scores 0 and 1) on the index on Antisemitism, while only 37 (20.2%) are among the high scorers (scores 2 and 3). Among the Muslim respondents, the ratio is similar: of the 122 respondents who believe that violence against Jews is justifiable, 102 (75.6%) are low scorers and 20 (24.4%) are high scorers.

In the case of Islamophobia, we find the opposite picture. Looking at the absolute numbers, of the 157 respondents who consider harassment and violence against Muslims to be justifiable, only 53 (or 33.7%) are among the low scorers on the index on Islamophobia, while 104 (66.3%) are high scorers.47 Thus, a large majority of those who justify violence against Jews can do so without a decidedly antisemitic attitude,48 while the majority of those who justify violence against Muslims also harbour an Islamophobic attitude. In other words, there is a closer connection between Islamophobia and justifying violence against Muslims. That one does not find such a close connection in the case of antisemitism and justifying violence against Jews may be partly due to the fact that the justification in this case is connected with the policy of Israel and so may be closer connected to an anti-Israel attitude than with an antisemitic attitude. Those who score high on the anti-Israel index (score 2) clearly hold harassment and violence against Jews more often to be justifiable than those who score low on anti-Israel sentiment (score 0 and 1 – see Table 7.11).

Table 7.11.

“Considering how Israel treats the Palestinians, harassment and violence against Jews are justifiable” (completely and rather well) by anti-Israel index (0–2)49

Group/Anti-Israel index (0–2)012
Population 6.5 9.429.4
Muslims10.014.839.1

Population N= 1,575: index 0: N=360; index 1: N=984; index 2: N=231 Muslims N= 598 (weighted sample): index 0: N= 78; index 1: N=367; index 2: N=153

One can also look at two others items in which a kind of justification of violence or persecution is mentioned. Among the items of the “Prejudice against Jews index”, we find the following statement: “Jews largely have themselves to blame for being persecuted” (see Figures 7.5 and 7.6), to which 8% of the population and 16% of the Muslim sample agree fully or somewhat. Among the list of stereotypic statements toward Muslims, we find a rather similar item: “Muslims largely have themselves to blame for the increase in anti-Muslim harassment” (see Figure 7.8), to which a rather large part of the population (48%) and of the Jews (35%) agrees. Those who harbour antisemitic and/or anti-Israel prejudice blame Jews more often than those ranking low on the respective indices. While only 2% of those among the population scoring zero on the anti-Israel index agree, 26% of the high scorers do so. Among the Muslim respondents, 9% of the low scorers compared to 34% high scorers agree. Among those of the population who score high on the index on antisemitism (scores 2+3 N=86) 54.6% (N=47) are blaming Jews for being persecuted while only 5% (N=82) out of the low scorers (0+1, N=1,489) do so. Among the Muslim respondents, 61.9% (N=26) of those who score high on the combined antisemitism index (2+3; N=42) blame Jews, while only 13.4% (N=75) among the low scorers (N=557) do so. We find here a clear correlation between antisemitic attitudes and justifying persecution of Jews by putting the blame for this on the behaviour of the Jews themselves.50

Among those of the population who score high on the index on Islamophobia (scoring 2 and 3), as much as 92.4% blame Muslims for an increase in anti-Muslim harassment, and even 20% of the low scorers do so, which is quite a difference compared to the number of respondents who put the blame on the Jews. Among the Jewish respondents, we find almost the same distribution, but the number of Jewish respondents (N=16) is too small to make reliable statements here.51 We can see an even higher correlation between Islamophobic attitudes and justifying harassment against Muslims by putting the blame for this on the behaviour of the Muslims themselves, compared to the blaming of Jews for being persecuted.52

This result may reflect in part the greater rejection of Muslims, who are more often perceived as a threat to Western societies, but this is also partly due to the choice of words, as in the case of the Jews there is talk of persecution, whereas in the case of the Muslims it is harassment that is spoken of. Especially against the background of the Holocaust, blaming of Jews could be considered particularly problematic.

Both minorities are affected by discrimination and harassment; this would be an area where cooperation would be useful. That’s why we asked in the study what the opinion on combating anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim discrimination and harassment is.

Table 7.12.

Do you see a need to do something to combat anti-Jewish harassment in Norway? (Percent. Population and Muslim samples) 53

YesNo opinionNo responseNoTotal
Population 40.731.20.028.1100
Muslims27.848.43.620.3100
Table 7.13.

Do you see a need to do something to combat anti-Muslim harassment in Norway?

YesNo opinionNo responseNoTotal
Population56.126.10.117.7100
Muslims54.426.93.814.9100
Jews67.024.31.0 7.8100

Population N= 1,575; Muslims N= 387; Jews N=103

The responses to these questions seem to mirror the opinion about how widespread the respondents of all three samples consider antisemitism and Islamophobia to be distributed in Norwegian society (see Tables 7.9 and 7.10). Accordingly, the general population and the Muslims are less likely to see the need to fight anti-Jewish harassment than harassment directed against Muslims. The fact that Jews almost all consider the fight against anti-Jewish harassment necessary corresponds to the expectation, since Jews have a long history of fighting against antisemitism in whatever form it appeared.54 This experience, connected with an above-average level of education, is presumably also the reason why Jews more often also consider a need to combat anti-Muslim harassment than the population and even the Muslims themselves, since they know from history that each form of anti-minority offence can spill over to them.

Among the Muslim respondents, there seems to be a great deal of ignorance or indifference to anti-Jewish harassment. This is even true for harassments against their own group, since almost half of them (45.6%) has no opinion, does not answer the question, or views a fight against harassment as unnecessary, which is even higher than among the Jewish respondents (32.1%). As far as cooperation between Jews and Muslims in the fight against attacks is concerned, there is a widespread awareness of the problem on the Jews’ side, but not yet on the side of the Muslims.

5. Perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by Jews and Muslims in Norway

Jews in many European countries have a deep emotional and religious attachment to Israel. Therefore, “negativity toward Israel expressed by non-Jews is likely to be a cause for significant concern and apprehension among many Jews.”55 In the FRA Study and in a German study on “Jewish perspectives”, it becomes clear that a large majority of Jews evaluates the equating of Israeli politics toward the Palestinians to Nazis politics towards Jews, the support of the boycott of goods from Israel and a “distorted presentation of Israel’s politics in mass media” as an expression of an antisemitic attitude.56 While only a part of Muslims in Norway come from the Middle East, many of them are likely to be supportive of the Palestinians, and accordingly show a rather negative attitude to the state of Israel and its policies towards the Palestinians. Accordingly, we can assume that the attitude to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has a repercussion on the relationship between Jews and Muslims in Norway as well. This is clearly confirmed by the following table 7.14.

Table 7.14.

People have conflicting views on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Which side do you support most?

Solely/mostly IsraelTo some extent IsraelNeitherImpossible to answerNo responseTo some extent PalestiniansSolely/ mostly PalestiniansTotal
Population 8.8 4.531.922.30.210.521.9100
Muslims 2.9 0.417.315.54.7 7.252.0100
Jews65.913.5 5.314.10.0 1.2 0.0100

Population N=1,575; Muslims N=598 (weighted sample); Jews N=170

It comes as no surprise that the Jews and Muslims in Norway clearly vote for their “own” party in the conflict. Most of all, Jews take sides with Israel and are less often undecided, while the attitude of the Muslims is less clear and one-third is undecided or unable to answer the question. In the population sample, there is even a half that does not tend to either side or cannot answer the question. If the population takes sides, it does so especially for the Palestinians (32.3%): only a minority, 13.3%, sides with Israel.

The positioning in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is correlated with the emotional attitude, in this case dislike/antipathy towards Jews and Muslims. The influence can, of course, go both ways. Israel’s policy may affect which side one supports, which again may lead to the dislike of Jews.

Table 7.15.

“I have a certain dislike of Jews”. How well does this statement fit with you own opinion?

Dislike /Position in Israeli-Palestinian conflict (%)pro IsraelNeither/no responsepro PalestinianTotal N
PopulationMuslimsPopulationMuslimsPopulationMuslimsPopulationMuslims
Not at all/rather badly154543131651279294
Impossible to say /no response 4276502048178250
Completely/rather well 7527166679118 54
Table 7.16.

“I have a certain dislike of Muslims”. How well does this statement fit with your own opinion?

Dislike /Position in Israeli-Palestinian conflict (%)pro IsraelNeither/no responsepro PalestinianTotal
PopulationJewsPopulationJewsPopulationJewsPopulationJews
Not at all/rather badly 9 75492242387369
Impossible to say /no response 8 83691723022918
Completely/rather well2410057 019047323

Table 7.15 shows that the emotional attitude towards Jews plays only a minor role in taking side with Israel, since there is almost no difference between those who dislike or like Jews or take a neutral position. Among the population, those who reject the dislike question are more often pro-Israel than those who dislike Jews or take a neutral position. What can be seen is that there is a clear correlation between dislike of Jews and taking side with the Palestinians: two-thirds of the population who dislike Jews chose this option compared to one-third of those who do not dislike Jews. Among the Muslims respondents, many take sides with the Palestinians regardless of whether they like Jews or not. The proportion of those 79% who profess to disliking Jews is not so different from the two-thirds (66%) who disagree to disliking Jews.

Figure 7.16.

Opinions about the Middle East conflict (Percent. Population, Jewish and Muslim samples)

Jews N= 124

Concerning the emotional attitude of the population towards Muslims, the distribution in respect of taking sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is as expected. Those respondents who dislike Muslims are more likely to have a pro-Israeli attitude than those who are neutral or positive in this regard, while those who dislike Muslims less often side with the Palestinians compared to those who have a positive attitude towards Muslims – and vice versa. Those, however, who do not choose sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (which is more than half of the sample), do so largely regardless of their emotional attitude towards Muslims.

Concerning the emotional attitude of Jews towards Muslims, one can say that Jews side with Israel almost regardless of their feelings towards Muslims. While those who agree to the dislike item side totally with Israel, partisanship for Israel among those who reject the dislike item is a little lower, but even among them, only 3% choose the Palestinians’ side and almost a quarter occupies a neutral position.

If we compare the positioning of the Norwegian Jews and Muslims in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is striking that both groups very rarely support “the other side”, regardless of their emotional attitudes towards members of the other group. However, Muslims more often choose a neutral position in the conflict, whereas only a small proportion of the Jews occupy a neutral position. In both cases those who take a neutral position in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict reject the “dislike” question or show a neutral attitude toward the other group.57

The two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the only question in which all three samples agree and in which there is also a high level of consensus. Jews have the clearest position in this question; they not only show the highest percentage of agreement, but also of disagreement (11% compared to 6% of the Muslims and the population), and only very few of them are unable to answer the question (8% compared to 20% of the Muslims and 25% of the population). It comes as no surprise that none/almost none of the Jewish respondents agree to the two statements accusing Israel of treating Palestinians as badly as Jews were treated during World War II and that the pure existence of Israel is an obstacle to peace, statements to which the Muslim respondents agree quite often (50% and 25%) and which also find resonance among the Norwegian population (33% and 21%). The other way around, Jews view Israel as a means for resolving the conflict with the Palestinians and in a leading role in fighting Islamist terrorism, a view shared only by few Muslims and respondents of the population. Correspondingly, Jews have little faith in the will of the Palestinian leaders for a peaceful solution of the conflict. As was to be expected, Jews and Muslims form contrary opinions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The answers make it clear once again that the respondents in the general population are more inclined to support the Palestinian side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

An index on anti-Israel attitudes is set up from the two negative statements “Israel treats the Palestinians just as badly as the Jews were treated in World War II” and “As long as Israel exists there will be no peace.” The index ranges from 0 to 8 and we set a cut-off point between 4 and 5 points on the scale in order to differentiate low from high scorers. Given this cut-off point, 38.9% of the Muslim respondents show a high level of anti-Israel attitudes, compared with 27.2% of the general population.58

First, we have to ask about the correlation between anti-Israel and antisemitic attitudes.59 The correlation between the two is r = 0.32 for the general population and it is only marginally stronger for the Muslims with r = .37. Among the Muslim high-scorers on the anti-Israel index (5–8), 18.7% also score high on the combined antisemitism index (4–12), while the same is the case for only 5.3% of the population.60 There is a certain overlap between the two attitudes among Muslims, but on the other hand, we have to keep in mind that 81.3% of the high scorers on the anti-Israel index do not harbour strong antisemitic attitudes, and even 94.7% of the population with an outspoken anti-Israel attitude do not score high on the combined antisemitism index. It is strange, however, that high scorers on the anti-Israel index, with 12.4%, are also high scorers on the Islamophobia index. In other words, a negative attitude towards Israel does not have to go hand in hand with a positive attitude towards Muslims.61 This is due to the fact that both attitudes are an expression of xenophobia as a general background variable. 62

If we look among the general population for the possible influence of Islamophobic attitudes regarding attitudes toward Israel and towards the Palestinians, we find only quite low positive correlations with a pro-Israel attitude (r=.12)63 and also a quite low negative correlation with a pro-Palestinian position (r= –.18).64 We get another picture for the Jewish respondents. Here there is a higher positive correlation with pro-Israel attitudes (r=.36), and a higher negative correlation with a pro-Palestinian attitude (r= –.28).65 However, an Islamophobic attitude exerts a stronger influence concerning partisanship in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Here there is a negative correlation of –.32 for the population, which is even more pronounced for the Jewish respondents, with –.42. An antisemitic attitude, measured by the combined index on antisemitism, exerts a smaller influence on the attitude towards the parties in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: the positive correlations for the population are .20 for the general population and .25 for the Muslim respondents. That leads to the conclusion that an Islamophobic attitude in both the population and among Jewish respondents exerts a stronger influence in favour of taking sides with Israel than an antisemitic attitude does in the direction of taking sides with the Palestinians.

6. Concluding remarks

In order to better understand the relationship between Jews and Muslims in Norway, it makes sense to include the Norwegian population in general as tertium comparationis. This allows examining to what extent the minority samples share the views of the general Norwegian population.

Comparing the mutual prejudices between Jews and Muslims with those of the general Norwegian population towards both groups, then Jews show less emotional rejection and less negative stereotypes towards Muslims than the general population, while conversely Muslims are more likely to show an emotional rejection of Jews and agree clearly more frequently with antisemitic stereotypes than the general population.

On the other hand, if we compare both minorities, Jews and Muslims, directly, Jews are more likely to show an emotional and social rejection of Muslims than they themselves experience from the side of the Muslims. Jews and Muslims thus both seem to follow the attitudinal pattern of the majority population. As far as the spread of negative cognitive attitudes (prejudices) is concerned, Jews and Muslims agree with each other’s prejudices to about the same degree.66 An interesting, but not easily explicable finding is that, among Jews, the emotional and cognitive attitudes towards Muslims correspond to each other – that is, that the emotional rejection is associated with a higher approval of Islamophobic stereotypes – while the dimensions do not seem to be very closely connected among Muslim respondents.

Despite mutual prejudices, a majority of Jews and Muslims in the survey agrees that the minorities can co-operate in combating prejudice and insults. Jews who have the experience of a long history as a minority among other minorities in Europe are much more likely than Muslims to believe that the two minorities share common experiences. Perhaps the immigrant Muslim population may have little knowledge of the small Norwegian Jewish community and less experience of being a minority. Although large parts of the two minorities assume that they have shared experiences, only a quarter of them believe that they are treated equally by the Norwegian authorities. Muslims more often than Jews feel treated unfairly and more often experience harassment, but both groups react, however, very differently to these experiences. While Jews avoid showing their religious affiliation in the public, Muslims are much less likely to do so. This different reaction may be due to the fact that Jews, because of their long history of discrimination, are more likely to fear the spread of negative attitudes and violence towards them, but also towards other minorities, than groups who have not had the same experience so far. That is why it is not surprising that Jews and Muslims are also particularly different in their assessment of the spread of antisemitism and Islamophobia and the evaluation of harassment and violence against both groups. Since both minorities are affected by discrimination and harassment, we asked for the opinion of combating anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim discrimination and harassment. Among Muslim respondents, we find a great amount of indifference or ignorance concerning anti-Jewish harassment; surprisingly, this is also true for the harassment against their own group. The Jews show a greater attention to both, and see the need to combat anti-Muslim harassment even more often than the Muslims themselves. As far as cooperation between Jews and Muslims in the fight against discrimination and prejudice is concerned, there is an asymmetric distribution of attention between the two groups, which may be a certain obstacle to understanding the necessity for cooperation.

As for the behavioural dimension of prejudice, in the given context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and terrorism, Muslims more often than Jews consider harassment or violence against the other group as justifiable. While the Muslims differ from the general population in this respect, the general population and the Jews show the same amount of agreement in the question of harassment or violence against Muslims. This may partly be due to the fact that the justification of violence against Jews is not connected with the behaviour of Jews, but rather with the treatment of Palestinians by Israel. Thus, a large proportion of the Muslim respondents who justify violence against Jews does so without a decidedly antisemitic attitude, but may instead be motivated by a widespread anti-Israel attitude,67 while in the question of violence against Muslims only a third of the Jews does so without a decidedly Islamophobic attitude.

One area where the attitudes of Muslims and Jews are expected to diverge widely is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, where Jews are almost entirely on the side of Israel and the Muslims are predominantly in favour of the Palestinians. Those among the Jewish and Muslim respondents who show a dislike of the other group more often take their “own” side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but overall, the emotional attitude to the other group does not make much of a difference concerning taking sides in the conflict. This does not apply to the general population, for whom the emotional attitude toward Jews or Muslims influences their partisanship in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Evidently, greater influence than the emotional dimension is exerted by the mutual prejudices, since for Islamophobia and antisemitism we find middle-range correlations with partisanship in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the respondents to all three samples.

If we look at the statements on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there is only one major consensus between Jews, Muslims and the general population – namely that both Israelis and Palestinians are entitled to a state of their own. On all other issues, Jews and Muslims are more or less distinct from each other, and the opinion of the general population is much closer to the opinion of the Muslims.

All in all, it can be said that Jews and Muslims in Norway see themselves as minorities exposed to discrimination on the part of the majority population, so that for parts of both groups there exists a willingness to cooperate, while on the other hand there are mutual prejudices and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in particular can be seen as a divisive factor.

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*My special thanks go to Ottar Hellevik, without whose help in the calculation of data this contribution in the present form could not have been written. I am also thankful for the critical remarks of both editors and the reviewers on an earlier version of this chapter.
1See Günther “Jikeli, Antisemitic Attitudes among Muslims in Europe: A Survey Review”, ISGAP Occasional Paper Series 1, 2015; see also for a recent overview: “The Norwegian Results from an International Perspective”, in Christhard Hoffmann and Vibeke Moe, eds., Attitudes towards Jews and Muslims in Norway. Population Survey and Minority Study (Oslo: Center for Studies of the Holocaust and Religious Minorities, 2017), 117–120.
2In two studies by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) in which Jews were ask to give a “Description of person(s) making negative judgements about Jewish people in the past 12 months” in eight EU member states, extremist Muslims were quite often mentioned as making anti-Jewish remarks. On average, 53% of the respondents answered “someone with a left-wing political view”; 51% answered “someone with a Muslim extremist view”; 39% answered “someone with a right-wing political view” and 19% answered “Someone with a Christian extremist view” (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, Discrimination and hate crimes against Jews in EU Member States: experiences and perceptions of antisemitism (2013) 27, Table 6). In a recent study on Experiences and perceptions of antisemitism. Second survey on discrimination and hate crime against Jews in the EU, also conducted by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights in 2018, Jewish respondents in 12 EU Member States state that on average the “perpetrators in the most serious antisemitic incident of harassment in the 5 years before the survey” were most frequently “someone else I cannot describe” (31%), followed by “someone with a Muslim extremist view” (30%) and “someone with a left-wing political view” (21%). Less often are named “work or school/college colleagues (16%), “a teenager or group of teenagers” (15%) and “an acquaintance or friend” (15%). Surprisingly only 13% named “someone with a right-wing political view” (54, Table 6).
3R. Golombek, Irene Levin, and J. Kramer, “Jødisk liv i Norge”, Hatikva, no. 5 (2012); C. Alexa Døving and Vibeke Moe, “Det som er jødisk”. Identiteter, historiebevissthet og erfaringer med antisemittisme. En kvalitativ intervjustudie blant norske jøder (Oslo: Center for Studies of the Holocaust and Religious Minorities, 2014).
4Christhard Hoffmann and Vibeke Moe, eds., Attitudes towards Jews and Muslims in Norway. Population Survey and Minority Study (Oslo: Center for Studies of the Holocaust and Religious Minorities, 2017).
5As representative of their religious group, those who stated respectively Judaism or Islam as their religious affiliation are chosen (see Hoffmann and Moe, eds., Attitudes towards Jews and Muslims, 22–25).
6Since there are 13 Muslims among the 1,575 respondents, these are not included in the questions concerning the attitudes towards Muslims, so that in these cases the sample comprises only 1,562 respondents.
7Of these 170 respondents, only 162 stated Judaism as their religious affiliation, so the sample of Jews comprises 162 respondents.
8The sample of 242 non-Muslim immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries are not included in the analyses in this chapter.
9326 respondents of the Muslim sample came to Norway in 2000 or later, 192 came before 2000, and 68 were born in Norway (second generation). See Hofmann and Moe, eds., Attitudes towards Jews and Muslims, 103, Table 54.
10PEW Research Center (2012). Assessing the Representativeness of Public Opinion Surveys. http://www.people-press.org/2012/05/15/assessing-the-representativeness-of-public-opinionsurveys/
11This is the case for Norsk Monitor, with a response rate of 4 per cent (Ottar Hellevik, “Extreme nonresponse and response bias. A ‘worst case’ analysis.” Quality & Quantity, 50 no. 5 (2016): 1969–1991. See also Robert M. Groves, “Nonresponse Rates and Nonresponse Bias in Household Surveys”, Public Opinion Quarterly, 70 no. 5 (2006): 646–675.
12Hoffmann and Moe, eds., Attitudes towards Jews and Muslims, 22–25.
13If one assumes that negative attitudes towards Jews are perceived as socially undesirable in Norway, then the values collected for the Muslim sample as well as for the general population sample are likely to deviate more into the positive rather than into the negative (phenomenon of communication latency).
14The three dimensions: Cognitive – thoughts, beliefs, and ideas about something; affective – feelings or emotions that something evokes (sympathy, fear, love or hate); Conative, or behavioural – tendency or disposition to act in certain ways toward something or someone; See Steven J. Breckler, “Empirical validation of affect, behavior and cognition as distinct components of attitude”, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 51 (1984): 1119–1205.
15In this case, the population sample is N = 1,562, as among the respondents thirteen were Muslims who were not counted. Due to a sampling error, this question was only asked of 110 respondents in the Jewish sample.
16Hoffmann and Moe (eds.), Attitudes toward Jews and Muslims, 30.
17That the proportion of those respondents choosing a neutral option (impossible to say/no response) is larger for all groups in case of the “particular sympathy” question may be due to the specific wording of this item. The fact that someone feels no particular sympathy towards a group does not necessarily mean that he has an antipathy, but only that his sympathy may not be very pronounced. Therefore, many respondents seem to have chosen the option “impossible to say”. The answers to the more clearly worded “dislike” item show that far less respondents chose the “neutral option”, with one exception: the very large proportion of the Muslim respondents choosing this option in case of the “dislike Jews” item.
18Emory S. Bogardus, “Social Distance in the City”, Proceedings and Publications of the American Sociological Society, 20 (1926) 40–46; Emory S. Bogardus, Social distance (Los Angeles: University of Southern California Press, 1959).
19We find the same pattern in the attitudes of Jews and Muslims towards some other groups: While Muslims reject Roma (27%) and Somalis (16%) less often than the general population (57% and 36%) and the Jews (44% and 26%), Muslims reject Americans and Poles a little more often (8% and 12%) than the Jews (3% and 7%) and as often as the general population (7% and 12%). Muslims feel closer to groups seen as outsiders (Roma) or stemming from non-western countries, while Jews, like the general population, feel closer to people from western/European countries.
20But compared to the widespread dissemination of antisemitic attitudes in many of the countries of origin of Muslim immigrants, these attitudes are much less common among Muslim respondents in Norway. See Antidefamation League, Global 100. An Index of Anti-Semitism, New York: ADL, 2014, http://global100.adl.org/.
21For the latter speaks that the percentage of high scorers on the “Index of Prejudice against Jews” who consider Jews to be “more intelligent than others” is two-thirds, while their share among those who disagree is only one-third. That is, those who consider Jews to be particularly intelligent often do so against the background of an antisemitic prejudice.
22It could be that behind the widespread opinion that Jews are very family-oriented stands the idea that Jews stick together too much (“clannishness”), which is often used as an item in antisemitism scales.
23See also Claudia Lenz and Vibeke Moe, “Negotiations of Antisemitism and Islamophobia”, “Ring of Peace”, chapter 10 in this volume, pp. 312–320.
24We decided not to use the item “Jews have too much influence on US foreign policy”, since the significantly higher approval rate compared to the other items indicates that many respondents perceived it more as a matter of political opinion rather than a negative verdict on Jews.
25To give an example: to get at least 4 points on the index, one has to agree either to 2 items “completely”, or to one item “completely” and to two items “rather well”, or to four items “rather well”.
26For the building of this index, see Ottar Hellevik, “Antisemitism and Islamophobia in Norway”, Section 3.3, chapter 4 in this volume.
27In this case the population sample is N = 1,562. See footnote 6. Due to a sampling error, this question was only asked of 103 respondents in the Jewish sample.
28The approval of Jews to fearing that Muslims want to take power in Europe is a rather surprising since Jews have long faced similar conspiracy accusations. See also Asbjørn Dyrendal, Conspiracy beliefs about Jews and Muslims in Norway (in this volume).
29In this case, the population sample is N = 1,562. See footnote 6. Due to a sampling error only 110 of the total Jewish sample were asked this question, which was answered by 103 respondents (7 missings).
30We left out the items on integration into Norwegian society because two others items (threat to Norwegian culture, fit into Western society) measured quite similar things, and we left out the item “Muslim oppress women”, which received the highest percentage of approval. The high level of approval may be an indicator that the respondents evaluate this as a kind of common knowledge with a certain basis in reality. For the building of the “prejudice against Muslims index”, see chapter 4 by Ottar Hellevik in this volume.
31A problem here is rather the small Jewish sample, because of a sampling error only 110 of the total Jewish sample were asked this question, which was answered by 103 respondents (7 missings).
32For the construction of combined indexes on antisemitism and on Islamophobia, see Ottar Hellevik, “Antisemitism and Islamophobia in Norway”, section 3.4 and 4.4.
33In this case the population sample is N=1,562. See footnote 6. Due to a sampling error, this question was only asked of 110 respondents in the Jewish sample.
34This may partly be due to the small sample, since 67% of the high scorers (3 on the combined Index on Islamophobia) see a better treatment of the Muslims, but in that category we find only three respondents. Therefore, we cannot make a statistically assured statement.
35The proportion that agrees here increases from 15% scoring zero on the antisemitism index to 44.8% scoring 2, and even 66.0% scoring 3.
36Hoffmann and Moe eds., Attitudes Towards Jews and Muslims, 75.
37Due to a sampling error, this question was only answered by 18 respondents of the population sample.
38Due to a sampling error, this question was only answered by 20 Jewish respondents (of them, 58% see antisemitism as very or fairly widespread, while 30% see it as not very widespread); we cannot make a statistically assured statement here.
39European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), Discrimination and Hate Crime. In a recent study, 89% of Jewish respondents in 12 EU Member States agreed to the statement that the level of antisemitism has increased a lot or a little in the last five years since the first study. See European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, Experiences and perceptions of antisemitism, Figure 7.2.
40In this case, the population sample is N = 1,562; see footnote 6. Due to a sampling error, this question was only asked of 110 respondents in the Jewish sample.
41This question is unfortunately not posed to the Jewish respondents, but we can expect that a large majority of them would have also supported this demand.
42Howard Schuman and Michael P. Johnson, “Attitudes and Behavior”, Annual Review of Sociology 2 (1976): 161–207; Icek Ajzen and Martin Fishbein, Understanding Attitudes and Predicting Social Behavior (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Pearson, 1980).
43L. Daniel Staetsky, Antisemitism in contemporary Great Britain. A study of attitudes towards Jews and Israel, jpr/report (London: Institute for Jewish Policy Research, September 2017), 39.
44Icek Ajzen and Martin Fishbein, “The influence of attitudes on behavior”. In Handbook of attitudes and attitude change, edited by Dolores Albarracín, B.T. Johnson and M.P. Zanna (Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, 2005), 173–221; Laura R. Glasman and Dolores Albarracín, “Forming Attitudes that Predict Future Behavior: A Meta-Analysis of the Attitude-Behavior-Relation”, Psychological Bulletin, 123, no. 5 (2006): 778–822. For this relationship among the general population, see my chapter “Counting Antisemites versus Measuring Antisemitism – An “Elastic View” of Antisemitism”.
45The readiness to justify harassment or violence against Jews is measured by asking “Considering how Israel treats the Palestinians, harassment and violence against Jews are justifiable”. This operationalisation is, of course, somewhat problematic because of the connection with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Although it is explicitly asked about violence against “Jews” and not against “Israelis”, it could also be understood as if it were about the use of violence by Palestinians against Israeli Jews in the context of the conflict, which some of the general population and the Muslim population may find more often justified than violence against Jews in general.
46“Considering how Israel treats the Palestinians, harassment and violence against Jews are justifiable” by combined index on Antisemitism: Population: index 0: N=913; index 1: N=218; index 2: N=211; index 3: N=214 (total N=1556); Jews: index 0: N= 73; index 1: N=21; index 2: N=12 ; index 3: N= 4 (total N=110); “Considering recent terror attacks, harassment and violence against Muslims are justifiable” by combined index of Islamophobia: Population: index 0: N=1365; index 1: N=124; index 2: N=54; index 3: N=32 (total N=1.575); Muslims: index 0: N=392; index 1: N=165; index 2: N=30; index 3: N= 12 (total N=598).
47The proportion of Jewish respondents who believe that violence against Muslims is justifiable (N=10) is too small (N=10) to make reliable statements, but the response distribution is similar to that in the total population.
48Since the question is related to Israel's behaviour, it may be necessary to restrict the meaning of this result somewhat. Perhaps it should be discussed in light of the “new” forms of antisemitism related to Israel.
49We have to keep in mind here that the anti-Israel index is composed of two items, one of which deals with the same subject, namely treatment of the Palestinians by Israel (“Israel treats the Palestinians just as badly as the Jews were treated during World War II”), to which 32% of the population and even 50% of the Muslims agree completely or somewhat.
50When using the combined Index on antisemitism, however, it must be pointed out that in this case the item “Jews have largely themselves to blame…” is at the same time a component of the Prejudice against Jews index and thus has an (albeit minor) influence on the correlation measured here.
5193.7% (N=15) of those Jewish respondents who score high on the combined index on Islamophobia (scoring 2 and 3) blame Muslims, while 14.6% (N=13) among the low scorers do so.
52When using the combined index on Islamophobia, however, it must again be pointed out that in this case the item “Muslims largely have themselves to blame for the increase in anti-Muslim harassment” is at the same time a component of the Prejudice against Muslims index and thus has an (albeit minor) influence on the correlation measured here.
53Due to a sampling error, this question was only asked of 20 respondents in the Jewish sample, so the number of Jewish respondents is too small to get reliable data, but the responses were as expected: 90.0% answered “Yes”, another 10.0% chose “no response”.
54One has to keep in mind here that in the question of harassment and violence there exists a special, asymmetrical situation, inasmuch as Jews in Europe often become the target of transgressions on the part of Muslims, whereas the reverse is not yet known. Qualitative interviews in the Norwegian report of 2017 reveal that “Jewish informants showed signs of ambivalence: on the one hand they feared the growth of antisemitism among Muslims and felt vulnerable to the aggression that could be directed at them. On the other hand, several Jewish informants conveyed that the presence of such a large minority helped to promote acceptance of diversity in Norwegian society” (Hoffmann and Moe eds., Attitudes towards Jews and Muslims, 75).
55Staetsky, Antisemitism in contemporary Great Britain, 27.
56FRA, Discrimination and Hate Crime; FRA, Experiences and perceptions of antisemitism, 29, Table 5 (seen by Jews as antisemitic opinions: “Supports boycotts of Israel or Israelis” (82% agree); “Criticizes Israel” (38% agree) Andreas Hövermann, Silke Jensen, Andreas Zick, Julia Bernstein, Nathalie Perl and Inna Ramm, Jüdische Perspektiven auf Antisemitismus in Deutschland. Studie des Instituts für Konflikt und Gewaltforschung der Universität Bielefeld für den Unabhängigen Expertenkreis Antisemitismus, Bielefeld 2016, 12,16.
57The hypothesis that Muslims from countries more involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (Palestinians, Iraq, Iran) are less likely to take a neutral position than those who are less affected, such as Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Pakistan or Somalia, cannot be confirmed for the Norwegian sample. The table of the country background on antisemitism for Muslim immigrants shows surprising results that differ completely from the results of the ADL Global 100 study (Anti-Defamation League, Global 100. An Index of Anti-Semitism, (New York: ADL, 2014 – http://global100.adl.org/) on antisemitism for their countries of origin. Immigrants from Iraq, Morocco and Palestine, countries in which the ADL study has determined values above 80% and even 90%, are on average in the Norwegian sample of values for all Muslims, while immigrants from countries that show a significantly lower level in the ADL Study have scores of antisemitism such as Bosnia-Herzegovina and Pakistan at 21.5% and 11.8%, respectively, well above the average for all Muslim immigrants of 6.9%. See Hoffmann and Moe, eds., Attitudes towards Jews and Muslims, 103, Table 55. These findings contradict the results of a German survey, which confirms that Muslim migrants from Arab and North African countries and their descendants more often display antisemitic attitudes than do migrants from the Balkans, Afghanistan and Pakistan. See Lebenswelten junger Muslime in Deutschland: Ein sozial- und medienwissenschaftliches System zur Analyse, Bewertung und Prävention islamistischer Radikalisierungsprozesse junger Menschen in Deutschland, Abschlussbericht von Wolfgang Frindte, Klaus Boehnke, Henry Kreikenbaum, and Wolfgang Wagner (Berlin: Bundesministerium des Innern, 2011).
58See Ottar Hellevik, “Antisemitism and Islamophobia in Norway”, section 7.
59There are already some studies investigating the link between antisemitism and anti-Israel attitudes. Edgar H. Kaplan and Charles Small, “Anti-Israel sentiment predicts anti-Semitism in Europe”, Journal of Conflict Resolution 50, no.4 (2006): 548–561, used the data of the ADL survey, Attitudes toward Jews, Israel and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict in Ten European Countries (New York, 2004); for the British case, the Pearson correlation (r) between the antisemitic and the anti-Israel index is 0.48 (Staetsky, Antisemitism in contemporary Great Britain, 35, Footnote 24); for Germany, see the study by Aribert Heyder, Julia Iser and Peter Schmidt, “Israelkritik oder Antisemitismus? Meinungsbildung zwischen Öffentlichkeit, Medien und Tabus”, in Deutsche Zustände, Folge 3, ed. Wilhelm Heitmeyer (Frankfurt/M.: Suhrkamp, 2004) 144–165. For a discussion of these and some other studies (on Sweden and Switzerland), see Werner Bergmann, “Is there a ‘New European Antisemitism?’ Public Opinion and Comparative Empirical Research in Europe”, in Politics and Resentment. Antisemitism and Counter-Cosmopolitism in the European Union, eds. Lars Rensmann and Julius H. Schoeps (Leiden: Brill, 2011), 83–115, here 89ff.; for an early example, see also Werner Bergmann and Rainer Erb, Anti-Semitism in Germany. The Post-Nazi Epoch since 1945 (New Brunswick: Transaction Publ., 1997) Chapter: “Antizionism and Antisemitism”, 182–191. See also probably the most detailed study on this question by Wilhelm Kempf, Israelkritik zwischen Antisemitismus und Menschenrechtsidee. Eine Spurensuche (Berlin: Verlag Irena Regener, 2016).
60The negative correlation between the combined antisemitism index with siding with Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is also not very high (r= –.17) for the general population, but also for the Muslim sample (r= –.12). All correlations are significant on the <.001 level.
61This is also supported by the fact that the combined antisemitism index has no significant correlation (r = .06) with a pro-Palestinian attitude in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for the population sample, but the same holds true for the Muslim sample (0.9).
62Ottar Hellevik, “Antisemitism and Islamophobia in Norway”, section 7.2.
63See Fig. 16: Index build out of two statements: Israel is at the forefront of the war on Islamic terrorism; Israel’s leaders genuinely want to find a solution to the conflict.
64See Fig. 16: Index build out of two statements: Both the Israelis and the Palestinians are entitled to have a state of their own; Palestinian leaders genuinely want to find a solution to the conflict.
65The correlations for the population sample are significant on the <.001 level; for the Jewish the correlation of the Islamophobia index and a pro-Israel position is significant on the .001 level; the negative correlation with a pro-Palestinian attitude is significant on the .05 level.
66On average, 27.1% of Jews agree with the six items of the “Index of Prejudice against Muslims” (Table 7.2), while on average, 28.5% of Muslims agree with the six items of the “Index of Prejudice against Jews” (Table 7.1).
6738.9% of the Muslim respondents show a high level of anti-Israel attitudes and even 50% agree to the statement that “Israel treats the Palestinians as badly as Jews were treated during World War II”.

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