One of the most classical stereotypes of Jews is that they have a disproportionate influence in economic matters. As a consequence, they are often affixed with undeserved blame by those experiencing economic difficulties. Utilizing recent data gathered in Germany, this paper tests an economic explanation of antisemitism. A Linear Structural Relations (LISREL) analysis finds little support for an economic explanation of antisemitism. The especially strong impact of anti-foreign sentiment suggests that contemporary German antisemitism is largely a consequence of hostility toward foreign cultures and immigrants. In part, the Jews have been replaced by others as direct targets of prejudice.
Of the many explanations utilized to account for antisemitism, among the most prominent is the economic. In contemporary Germany, the belief that economic conditions generate such prejudice seems persuasive. Many German citizens are especially threatened economically with unemployment and inflation, causing greater concern than in more prosperous decades. In times of economic scarcity and decline, antisemitism has been more prevalent both in Germany and other Western nations. The large number of refugees and foreign workers in the new German state have not only generated fears of economic competition but have encouraged simultaneously the growth of a chauvinistic nationalism and an increase in extremist group activity (Betz 1990; Westle and Niedermayer 1992). In the past, German nationalism and xenophobia have been associated with antisemitism.
The purpose of this essay is to explore antisemitism in the new German state. Utilizing a Linear Structural Relations (LISREL) model, I attempt to determine the impact of economic variables on antisemitism.
ECONOMIC STEREOTYPING OF THE JEWS
There are a number of conflicting and distorted beliefs as to why the Jewish community may be perceived as being responsible for economic misfortune. The first and most traditional stereotype is "the Jew as the moneylender." Because clerical leaders in the Middle Ages viewed money lending for interest as sinful, Jews often assumed this role by default. Shakespeare illustrated this popular stereotype in The Merchant of Venice. Adorno and colleagues (1982: 330) confirmed the moneylender stereotype empirically, utilizing data gathered in the United States. These scholars contended that at least to the working class, the Jew is often viewed as a "misfit bourgeois" and as "an agent of the economic sphere of the middle man." It is the Jew who "presents the bill."
A second common economic stereotype is "the Jew as the capitalist" which was popularized largely by Werner Sombart, the German sociologist-economist ( 1982). The widespread and often erroneous perception that Jews were influential disproportionately in the development of capitalism led to the assignment of responsibility when these modern economic systems experienced periodic failure, such as the harsh six-year depression in Germany which began in 1873 (Dawidowicz 1986: 33-34). In more recent times, Hitler blamed the economic and political failures of the Weimar Republic largely on the German Jewish community. Paradoxically, it was Jewish capitalism and Jewish bolshevism which were touted simultaneously by the Nazi party as the twin evils causing Germany's decline following World War I.
The Jew as "the economic power behind the throne" is a final antisemitic economic stereotype which concerns the exaggeration of the role Jews played in the financing of the modem state and their subsequent position in the modern polity Arendt (1978) believed that Jews were influential in the ascendence of absolute monarchies and in the development of the contemporary nation-state (Feldman 1978: 24). When old class structures declined, Jews financed the beginnings of the nation-state and linked their own futures to its development and success. Feldman (1978: 25) contends that because Jews were widely perceived as interested primarily in making money through this partnership, any appreciation for being a "statebuilder" was widely discredited. Loyalty was not to any specific government as citizens but with governments as authorities and aids in the quest for economic fortune. Thus, the Jew was perceived as "foreign," "international," and largely "rootless." Based upon the economic stereotypes, I expect that those who are of the most marginal economic status, to include the unskilled worker, residents of the GDR, and those dissatisfied with their income, employment, or economic situation in general would be more likely to seek "scapegoats" than other members of the majority group who are more fortunate. If the economic thesis of antisemitism makes sense in the German context, it is the most marginal citizens who should express antisemitism.
The sample consists of 2923 German citizens, 993 of whom live in the territories comprising the former GDR. In addition to a variety of sociodemographic questions, subjects were queried on attitudes regarding the Holocaust, antisemitism, foreigners in Germany, economic satisfaction, and a number of other political and social issues. The in-person interviews were conducted from November 30 through December 17, 1991.
THE LISREL MODEL
The development of a LISREL model was especially appropriate because the technique combines the strengths of confirmatory factor analysis with structural equation modeling (Bollen 1989). In its confirmatory capacity, it is helpful when multiple indicators must be utilized to measure a construct. The model is described beginning with the endogenous variables.
The primary endogenous variables are the measures of antisemitism. Antisemitism is a complex concept which is difficult to measure, especially because such a large array of indicators have been proposed (Adorno et al. 1982; Okami 1992). Further, some seem applicable primarily to the American context. The German situation is unique because the most virulent form of antisemitism-the annihilation of the Jews-took place over fifty years ago. For this reason, two latent variables measuring antisemitism are proposed. The first attempts to capture antisemitism based on historical reinterpretation in that it measures the individual's perception of the Holocaust, especially as it relates to Jews. In the literature on genocide, a theme of denial exists (Smith 1989; Lipstadt 1993). In particular, governments or individuals who were responsible for extermination attempt to reinterpret history, either to deny guilt or place responsibility upon the victims. Accordingly, a "Holocaust interpretation" latent variable estimates one form of antisemitism. In constructing this measure, I reasoned that those who have more positive evaluations of the Third Reich, and who feel less guilt and shame for the crimes committed against Jews are more antisemitic than those with a more accurate historical interpretation.
A second latent variable attempts to measure what might be termed "classical" antisemitism. These indicators typify stereotypes about Jews which have been held through the ages (Langmuir 1990). To compose the measure of classical antisemitism, I chose three indicators. To begin, respondents were asked to rate Jews on two indices as to their trustworthiness and desire for money; thirdly, respondents assessed Jewish blame for the death of Christ?
Economic satisfaction is a second latent variable on which the respondents were asked to evaluate their individual employment, income, and economic situation. While by and large Germans are satisfied with regard to their employment and income, some dissatisfaction exists with a plurality stating that their economic situation is "so-so." If the economic explanation of antisemitism is persuasive, the satisfaction variable should have strong direct and indirect effects on the latent constructs of antisemitism. Those most threatened in their current economic position in German society should be the most antisemitic; simultaneously, there should be a strong indirect effect through the final endogenous variable, anti-foreign sentiment.
If one accepts the validity of an economic explanation, it would seem logical that those who are dissatisfied economically should feel a threat from the immigrant groups in Germany. During the 1960s and 1970s foreign, especially Turkish, workers played a major role in building the German economy In recent years they have been the subjects of considerable prejudice as the economic situation has worsened. Also, refugees from the former East European Communist nations flooded the new German state as these regimes collapsed and unification began to occur in 1990. To the most economically marginal of the Germans, particularly those in the East, the refugees could be perceived as a threat to economic well-being.
Two exogenous variables were utilized to detect the impact which economic conditions have on antisemitism. The first variable relates to employment status. Those who are classified as "unskilled workers" were anticipated to be more threatened by foreigners and more vulnerable to antisemitism because of economic insecurity A second exogenous variable related to economic conditions is region. With an economy which is inferior to that of the Western half of the nation and with years of isolation from democratic principles, I believed that East Germans would be most likely to express antisemitic attitudes.
The remaining variables in the model functioned as controls. In the past they have been important in explaining antisemitism. As much literature has demonstrated that education plays a large role in reducing antisemitism (Gibson and Duch 1992; Sivanandan and Marable 1993), I hypothesized that those with a higher degree of education would be less likely to be anti-foreign, and consequently have less negative perceptions of Jews.
I hypothesized that older Germans would be more likely to express manifestations of antisemitism, especially with regard to the Holocaust latent variable (Weil 1980: 150). In line with the literature on denial, those who lived through the most intense era of Jewish persecution are most likely to reinterpret it. In considering gender, I hypothesized that on average German men more than women would express antisemitic attitudes. This relationship was expected because historically, antisemitism has been associated with antifeminism (Pulzer 1988: 216-18). Also, it is probable that women are less militaristic and nationalistic than men, possibly leading to less intense xenophobic and antisemitic attitudes.
A great deal of literature links antisemitism with religiosity. The more religiously involved a person, the more likely the expression of antisemitism (Tuthill 1990). There are numerous reasons to expect this relationship. For example, Terman (1984: 18) states that the Jewish faith stands as a direct challenge to the principles of Christianity and as such the Jew represents the role of "questioner, free-thinker, and dissenter." A second reason for religious antisemitism is that historically, the Jew has been held responsible by many for the death of Christ, a variable which is one of several composing the measure of "classical" antisemitism (Tractenberg 1989). To test this hypothesis, I utilized a variable which measured the degree of church attendance.
A final exogenous variable is ideology which has been associated with antisemitism in other Western nations such as France where a "Right" ideology has been linked to a scale of "ethnocentrism" which includes an item that "Jews have too much power in France" (Michelat 1993: 76). In addition to the anti-foreign sentiment latent variable, ideology helps determine the extent to which nationalism may be responsible for antisemitism as opposed to economic factors. Although some literature has cited the antisemitism of the Left (Keilson 1988), 1 hypothesized that given the German experience, those on the Right would be more prone to express such attitudes.
Given the current economic difficulties with German reunification, and the influx of refugees during the early 1990s, I expected that economic factors would be an important link in helping to understand antisemitism in the new German state. The latent construct of economic satisfaction is sensitive to some exogenous variables thought to predict it but the model fails beyond this point. This final section addresses the weakness of the economic explanation; moreover, I argue why a "nationalism" explanation of antisemitism may be more convincing.
Regarding antisemitism, one possible reason why the economic explanation fails is that hatred of Jews has always existed whether they are primary agents in the economy or not (Prager and Telushkin 1983: 74-77). For example, aside from Germany, the most extreme manifestations of antisemitism have taken place in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, nations where Jews traditionally have been restricted in their occupations and pose the least economic threat to the rest of the population. Yet, pogroms in this part of Europe have been the most severe and the Nazis had little difficulty in getting cooperation from the local population in deportations or killings. In contrast, where Jews have more affluence, such as in the United States, antisemitism and violent attacks against them are much less frequent (Prager and Telushkin 1983: 75). A disturbing implication of the present analysis with regard to Germany is that if economic conditions do improve with reunification, it does not necessarily follow that prosperity will trigger a reduction in antisemitism.
A strong theme emerging from the analysis is that the negative attitudes toward foreigners which have swept across Germany in recent years are closely related to antisemitism in the mass public. More than any of the other sociodemographic variables, anti-foreign sentiment has the strongest direct effect on both measures of antisemitism and has a substantial indirect effect on the Holocaust interpretation construct. While an economic rationale to the prejudice is absent, it is obvious that those most threatened by foreigners are among the most antisemitic. Rather than economic, the threat which Rightwing ideology and anti-foreign sentiment may help to comprehend is that the foreign population constitutes a barrier to those who advocate a strong German nationalism. Thus, it may not be fear of unemployment or low income which bothers so many Germans as much as concern for the solidarity and composition of the new German state. The "nationalism" explanation of German antisemitism also is reinforced by ideology which has both direct and indirect effects on classical antisemitism. The perception of the Jew as a threat to nationalism is that he/she represents the outsider with little allegiance to the modern German state. In defining "volkisch" ideology, Gordon (1984: 25) states that Jews have been viewed traditionally as ". . . rootless, soulless, materialist, aggressive, ugly, weak, dishonest, unassimable, shallow, loud, urban, internationalist, liberal, conspiratorial, evil, godless, competitive, abstract, insincere, cosmopolitan, sneaky, shrewd, lazy, usurious, opportunistic and most important, alien."9
The strong impact of anti-foreign sentiment pushes one toward the conclusion that contemporary antisemitism is largely a consequence of hostility toward foreign cultures and immigrants and that Jews have been replaced partially by others as direct targets of prejudice. Influencing this new and less direct antisemitism strongly is the fact that so many contemporary Germans do not have regular contact, socially or commercially with Jews. As Silbermann and Sallern (1976) argue, this lack of contact permits the transmission of a "handed down Jewish stereotype" which is maintained in a latent fashion. Thus, in modern Germany "the Jew" may be a symbol-a stimulus that triggers positive or negative feelings based on socialization rather than direct experience (Lasswell 1960).
NOTE: An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Midwest Political Science Association Convention in Chicago (April 14-16, 1994). I would like to thank the following persons for their comments during our panel session: Robert Rohrschneider, Indiana University; Hans-Georg Betz, Johns Hopkins University; and Markus M. L. Crepaz, University of Georgia. Credit for helpful suggestions also is due to Sally Coleman Selden, University of Oklahoma, and Eileen Harwood, John Clark, Dan Durning, Robert E. Clute, and Jennifer Sherrock, University of Georgia.
1 The study is a random sample of households and includes West Berlin. The variations which usually occur with a random sample (for example, the over- or underrepresentation of certain demographic groups) were corrected through factorial weightings. The weighting makes more certain that the random sample conforms to the general structure of the population. Thus, the sample is ensured to be representative and within the framework of statistical error and can be generalized to the population. Because LISREL excludes cases with missing values, the analysis is based upon a sample of 2253 (approximately 77 percent of the original sample). The study was conducted by the EMNID Institute, Bielefeld for Der Spiegel. Neither institution bears responsibility for the analysis or interpretations presented in this paper.
2 An examination of frequency distributions demonstrates considerable variation in the indicators of antisemitism. While the public is not overwhelmingly antisemitic, there is considerable sympathy for Third Reich revisionism as well as some clinging to classical antisemitism. For example, approximately 44 percent saw either just "good" or both "good and bad sides" to the Third Reich and a large plurality (47 percent) stated the highest category in agreeing with the statement that Jews are "intent on money" Majorities in the range of 55-64 percent expressed negative views on the anti-foreign questions. On the economic questions, majorities were satisfied with both employment and income but the greatest plurality stated that their economic situation was "so-so." The survey questions appear in Appendix 1 and the distributions are available from the author.
3 We utilized standardized coefficients. Gamma (gamma) represents the impact of the exogenous (x) variables on the endogenous (eta) variables. Beta measures the impacts between the endogenous variables. The k coefficients are regression coefficients in the relationships between the latent constructs and each of the observed measures of y. To estimate the coefficients of the latent constructs, I fixed the values of "Income," "Foreigners Hurt Jobs," "Evaluation of Third Reich," and "Jews Intent on Money" at 1. The Epsilon represent the measurement errors for y
4 As indicated in Figure 1, the assumption of independent error terms was violated in two of the four latent constructs. By not treating the error terms as independent of each other in these cases, the fit of the model in terms of chi-square was improved and there was no appreciable change in the direction or magnitude of the coefficients in the model.
5 The chi-square ratio to the degrees of freedom is within a range of acceptability which is described as being between 3: 1 up to 5: 1, depending upon which source is consulted. See Wheaton et al. (1977). As the goodness-of-fit index and the adjusted goodness of fit index tend to increase and become inflated as parameters are added to the model, I examined a number of other goodness of fit measures currently available in LISREL 8 (Joreskog and Sorbom 1993). These measures, by and large, take the parsi
8 We tested for a number of reciprocal relationships, to include this one. We believe it makes the most sense substantively to specify the model in this way
9 The emphasis is added.
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APPENDIX 1: QUESTIONS AND VARIABLE CODING
Antisemitism Holocaust Interpretation
If you look back on the Third Reich what would you say-if you look at Nazism in total do you see only bad sides, mostly bad sides, good and bad sides, or mostly good sides? 1 = only bad sides; 2 = bad sides mostly; 3 = good and bad sides; 4 good sides mostly.
There are various opinions about the guilt of Germans under the Third Reich for the Jewish experience. Of this list, please tell which of these is closest to your personal views. 1 = Guilt falls on all Germans, even those born after the war; 2 = Guilt is borne by every group of that generation; 3 = Guilt falls only on those Germans who knew about the crimes against the Jews; 4 =
Guilt only falls on those Germans who participated in transgressions against the Jews.
Please tell me on a scale of 1 to 6 whether you completely agree or disagree. I am ashamed that the Germans committed so many crimes against the Jews (1 = agree . . 6 = disagree). Classical Antisemitism Latent Variable
In the following we are concerned with qualities which characterize the Jews. How would you describe the Jews? (1 = trustful . . 7 = mistrustful) (1 = not intent on money . . . 7 = intent on money).
In the Bible, the Jews are guilty of the death of Jesus. What is your opinion? 1 = it is wrong to speak about Jewish guilt in the death of Jesus; 2 = guilt lies with the Jews who convicted him at that time; 3 = I don't know, I haven't thought about it; 4 = Guilt lies on the Jews who lived at that time; 5 = All Jews in general are guilty for the death of Jesus. Economic Satisfaction Latent Variable
Please tell me from this list how pleased you are with your income (work). 1 = completely unpleased; 2 = rather unpleased; 3 = rather pleased; 4 = completely pleased.
How do you judge your economic situation today? 1 = very bad; 2 = bad; 3 = so-so; 4 = good; 5 = very good. Anti-Foreign Sentiment Latent Variable
Please tell me whether you agree completely, rather less, or not at all. These foreigners intensify the unemployment of Germans. These foreigners abuse the operation of our social systems. Most German politicians worry too much about these foreigners and not enough about Germans.
1 = not at all; 2 = rather less; 3 = rather more; 4 = completely.
Education 1 = elementary school without apprenticeship; 2 = elementary school with apprenticeship; 3 = further schooling without completing exams; 4 = completed exams for secondary school; 5 = studium. GDR 0 = resides in the West; 1 = lives in the territories of the former GDR. Worker 1 = unskilled worker; 0 = all others. Gender 0 = male; 1 = female.
Religiosity-Church Attendance 1 = never attends; 2 = attends family celebrations; 3 = attends on special holy church days; 4 = attends several times but at least once per month; 5 = attends Sunday or nearly every Sunday
Age was coded as exact age at the time of the survey. Ideology (1 = Left . 10 = Right)…