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Shocking Survey Reveals Nearly Half of Americans Unfamiliar with the Term 'Antisemitism'


The American Jewish Committee's first-ever State of Antisemitism in America Report released on Oct. 26 finds anxiety among American Jews and a disturbing lack of awareness among the general public of the severity of antisemitism in the United States.  

While 53 percent of US adults say they are familiar with the term antisemitism and know what it means, nearly half of Americans do not, with 21% saying they have never heard the word and 25% saying that, while they have heard it, they are unsure what it means. 

The AJC study, released on the eve of the second anniversary of the Tree of Life synagogue massacre in Pittsburgh, PA, when 11 Jewish worshippers were killed by a gunman, is based on parallel surveys of American Jews and the general public in the United States. 

The Jewish survey is the second annual comprehensive poll of American Jews on their perceptions and experiences of antisemitism in America, according to the AJC.  The organization also says the general public survey is the first conducted on the subject.

Familiarity with 'Antisemitism' Linked to Education

Familiarity with the term antisemitism is linked to education levels. Roughly 78 percent of college graduates know what it means, compared with 58 percent of those with some college experience, and just 27 percent of those with a high school diploma or less education. 

Those who say they never heard the word antisemitism are 36 percent of respondents who have a high school diploma or less education, 14 percent of those with some college education, and 9 percent of college graduates. 

Nearly 9 of 10 American Jews Believe Antisemitism a Problem in the US, Do Not Wear 'Star of David'  

The AJC survey found that while nearly nine in ten American Jews (88%) believe antisemitism in the US today is a very serious (37%) or somewhat of a (51 percent) problem, only 63 percent of the general population agree, with 19 percent identifying it as a very serious problem and 43 percent saying it is somewhat of a problem. 

Twenty-four percent of American Jews say they have avoided publicly wearing, carrying, or displaying items that might identify them as Jews since the Tree of Life shooting in October 2018.
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