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Breakthrough Survey Reveals Most American Jews Are Seriously Concerned About Anti-Semitism in the US

10-24-2019
Aftermath of the Chabad of Poway synagogue attack in California (AP Photo)

JERUSALEM, Israel - Nearly 9 in 10 American Jews say anti-Semitism is a problem in the United States, according to a new landmark survey from the American Jewish Committee (AJC).

The poll is the largest and most extensive analysis of American Jews' perceptions of anti-Semitism in their country.

While responding to the telephone survey conducted from Sept. 11 to Oct. 6,  88 percent of Jewish-Americans said anti-Semitism is a problem - with 50 percent believing it is "somewhat of a problem" and 38 percent saying it is a "very serious" problem.

A majority of the 1,283 American-Jews surveyed also believe anti-Semitism is getting worse.

When asked if anti-Semitism in the US has increased over the past five years, 84 percent of respondents said "yes."

More than one in three American Jews (35 percent) say they have been the personal targets of anti-Semitism. This fear of attack has forced 31 percent of Jews to avoid wearing Jewish clothing or anything that identifies them as Jewish.

"American Jews could not be clearer about the reality of antisemitism in the U.S.," the American Jewish Committee's CEO, David Harris, said in a statement Wednesday. "Our survey provides, for the first time, an in-depth assessment of American Jewish perceptions of, and experiences with, antisemitism in their own country. This hatred is real, comes from multiple sources, and is growing. It needs to be taken seriously and dealt with in a sustained, multi-pronged response."

American Jews blame anti-Semitism on three primary sources: the political far-right, the political far-left, and radical Islam.

Eighty-nine percent of Jews believe the political far right is a major threat and 85 percent blame Islamic extremism. Sixty-four percent see anti-Semitism coming from the political far-left.

When asked which of the two major political parties is more responsible for the current level of anti-Semitism in America today, Respondents overwhelmingly blamed the Republican party. On a scale of 1 (no responsibility) to 10 (total responsibility), American Jews gave the Democratic party an average score of 3.6 and the Republican Party a 6.2.

American Jews are also not happy with how President Donald Trump has tackled anti-Semitism. Seventy-three percent disapprove of the way Trump is handling the issue.

"When any American minority feels threatened, they look to elected political leadership for support. But in an era of extraordinary partisanship and divisiveness, when combating antisemitism has become a wedge issue, the strictly nonpartisan AJC found an American Jewish community generally concerned that elected officials are not doing all that can and should be done to fight antisemitism in the U.S. effectively," Kenneth Bandler, AJC Director of Media Relations said in a Fox News op-ed.

Bandler says American politicians must deal with anti-Semitism because history shows that it starts with the Jews "but ultimately threatens other minorities, and potentially the fabric of America's pluralistic democracy."

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