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How People Explain Antisemitism: Interpretation of Survey Answers


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This chapter explores antisemitism in contemporary Norway through an analysis of data from open-ended questions in the population survey Attitudes towards Jews and Muslims in Norway 2017.1 The chapter investigates the part of the survey that dealt with views on the reasons for negative attitudes towards Jews. By examining the respondents’ broad range of explanations, the chapter explores different contexts for antisemitic views in contemporary Norway and possible new forms of expressing such attitudes beyond the limits of fixed-response questions. The chapter thus contributes to the discussion of the current development of antisemitism and the seeming paradox that while surveys show that antisemitic attitudes are decreasing in the general population, Jews around Europe see antisemitism as a serious and increasing problem. The analysis thus simultaneously explores the Norwegian population’s understanding of antisemitism and indicates where the boundaries of what can be said about Jews are drawn. It shows that answers often described antisemitism as something spatially, “ethnically” or historically distant. While few answers expressed classic stereotypes of Jews, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict constitutes a communicative arena where negative views of Jews are more easily tolerated




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The material in this publication is covered by the Norwegian Copyright Act and published open access under a Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 licence.

This licence provides permission to copy or redistribute the material in any medium or format. These freedoms are granted under the following terms: you must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the licence and indicate if changes have been made to the material. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use. You may not use the material for commercial purposes. If you remix, transform or build upon the material, you may not distribute the modified material. You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the licence permits. The licensor cannot revoke the freedoms granted by this licence as long as the licence terms are met.

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Moe, Vibeke How People Explain Antisemitism: Interpretation of Survey Answers. The Shifting Boundaries of Prejudice: Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in Contemporary Norway. Universitetsforlaget AS. 2020: 274–296.  https://archive.jpr.org.uk/10.18261/978-82-15-03468-3-2019-10