13-19 Cheshvan, 5780 Nov. 11-17, 2019 -- THE JEWISH OBSERVER, LOS ANGELES -- 629th Web Ed.
ANTI-SEMITISM IN AMERICA
Approximately nine out of every ten American Jews believe anti-Semitism is a problem in America. More than eight in ten say it has gotten worse over the past five years. Nearly half of American Jewish young people say they have been victims of anti-Semitism.
These deeply disturbing figures are just some of the findings from a landmark survey of American Jews on anti-Semitism in America, conducted by AJC and released this morning, days before the first anniversary of the deadly attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
This unprecedented survey is the largest and most comprehensive examination ever of American Jews’ experiences and perception of anti-Semitism.
I am including an overview of some of the key findings below. For the full results along with in-depth analysis, go to AJC.org/Anti-Semitism-Survey-2019.
I also invite you read my op-ed in today’s edition of USA Today, discussing the findings and what they mean for the conversation about anti-Semitism in America.
This survey makes clear that American Jews view anti-Semitism as a significant problem in America—and one that is getting worse, coming from the far right, the hard left, extremists claiming to act in the name of Islam, and movements that target the State of Israel.
AJC is the leading organization combating anti-Semitism around the world. The results of this survey will inform our advocacy and the national conversation around anti-Semitism for years to come. Working with policymakers, faith and ethnic leaders, and everyday Americans, AJC will continue educating on this charged subject and advocating for national solutions.
If these results compel you to act—and how can they not?—I urge you to get involved with AJC.
American Jews are calling out. The time for action is now.
88% of American Jews believe anti-Semitism is a problem in America today and 84% say it has increased over the past five years, including a plurality—43%—who say it has increased a lot.
More than a third of all American Jews (35%) say they have personally been the targets of anti-Semitism over the past five years: nearly a quarter (23%) say they’ve been targeted by anti-Semitic remarks in person, by mail, or by phone; a fifth (20%) say they’ve been targeted by anti-Semitic remarks online, and 2% say they’ve been physically attacked for being Jewish.
Nearly a third—31%—of American Jews have avoided publicly wearing, carrying, or displaying things that might help people identify them as Jewish, while 25% say they avoid certain places, events, or situations out of concern for their safety or comfort as Jews at least some of the time.
Young people between the ages of 18-29 are the most vulnerable, with nearly half (45%) saying they have been the victims of anti-Semitism over the past five years and four in ten (38%) saying they have concealed their Jewishness in public – more than any other age group.
Anti-Semitism and Israel
American Jews overwhelmingly believe that anti-Zionism—that is, the belief that Israel should not exist—is a form of anti-Semitism: 84% of respondents said the statement “Israel has no right to exist” is anti-Semitic.
80% of respondents said the statement “The U.S. government only supports Israel because of the Jewish money” is anti-Semitic and 73% said so about the statement “American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to America.”
Only 14% of American Jews say the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement targeting Israel is not anti-Semitic: over a third (35%) characterized the movement as mostly anti-Semitic, while 47% said it is not mostly anti-Semitic but has anti-Semitic supporters. The more familiar American Jews are with the BDS Movement, the more likely they are to consider it to be anti-Semitic, with a majority of those who say they are “very familiar” with the movement characterizing it as mostly anti-Semitic.
72% of American Jews disapprove of President Trump’s handling of the threat of anti-Semitism in America, compared to only 24% who approve. Respondents’ assessment of President Trump’s response to anti-Semitism varied vastly by their political affiliation, with 84% of Republicans expressing approval of the President’s response, compared to only 4% of Democrats.
81% of American Jews characterize U.S. law enforcement’s response to anti-Semitism as either very or somewhat effective, compared to only 15% who said the response is not too effective or not effective at all.
Responsibility for Anti-Semitism
89% of American Jews believe the extreme political right represents a threat to Jews in the United States, while 85% say the same of extremism in the name of Islam and nearly two thirds—64%—say so about the extreme political left.
American Jews assign greater responsibility to the Republican Party for the current level of anti-Semitism in the United States than they do to the Democratic Party. When asked to assign responsibility on a scale of 1 (no responsibility) to 10 (total responsibility), respondents assigned the Republican Party an average score of 6.2, while the Democratic Party scored a 3.6.
While those who identify as Republican or Democrat tend to assign greater responsibility to the opposite party, American Jews also view their own parties as having some responsibility for the current level of anti-Semitism in America, with each rating their own party with similar scores of 2.7
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