New survey finds antisemitic views are widespread in America

Over the past half century, many experts on American anti-Semitism have thought that the country is aging out of it, with hostility and prejudice against Jews on the wane, with younger Americans holding more accepting views than older ones.

But a poll released Thursday shows just how widespread such beliefs are in the United States today, including among young Americans. Anti-Defamation League research includes a rare account of the specific nature of anti-Semitism, how it centers on tropes of Jews as clannish, conspiratorial, and power-holding.

A survey ADL Vice President Matt Williams points out that “anti-Semitism is re-emerging in American society in its classic fascist form, the classic conspiratorial tropes of Jews being too secretive and powerful, working against the interests of others, not sharing values, exploitative.” The Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism told The Washington Post.

The study uses a new version of a survey the ADL has conducted in America since the 1960s to explore the unique nature of anti-Semitism and what differentiates it from other forms of hatred. Its new index aims to confirm or deny 14 statements, including that Jews: “have too much control and influence on Wall Street,” are “more willing than others to use shady means to get what they want,” or are “so shrewd” that others don’t have a fair chance. .”

The ADL Center was created in response to an increase in anti-Semitic violence and harassment over the past few years, as well as an increase in anti-Semitic rhetoric from high-profile public figures.

These include the 2017 neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville and attacks on Jewish targets in 2018 in Pittsburgh and 2019 in Poway, California and Monsey, New York. There have also been anti-Semitic comments, including by former President Donald Trump in October, when he attacked American Jews in a post on his Truth Social platform, saying that Jews in the United States “must come together” and give more thanks to the state of Israel “before it’s too late.” Trump has repeatedly raised the old anti-Semitic trope that American Jews hold or should hold a secret or dual loyalty to Israel rather than the United States or in addition. Almost 4 out of 10 Most Americans believe that “Jews are more committed to Israel than to America,” according to ADL researchers, which is true to some degree. In the fall, rapper and designer Ye – formerly known as Kanye West – said that Jews exploit black people for financial gain, that African Americans are the legitimate descendants of the Jews of the Bible, and that there is some kind of “financial engineering” to being Jewish. .

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Survey found it’s about 7 1 in 10 Americans believe Jews are more united than other Americans, and more than a third believe Jews do not share their views values ​​and “likes to be on top of things.” About 1 in 5 Jews in the United States today have too much power, don’t care what happens to others, and are more willing to use “underhand methods to get their way” than other Americans.

It is difficult to assess whether anti-Semitic attitudes have increased over time because of changes in the survey’s response options and the selection of respondents. The survey was conducted online in September and October among a national sample of 4,007 adults using AmeriSpeak, a randomly selected panel of American households monitored by NORC at the University of Chicago.

Williams and some experts who helped review the study noted that the views of Americans under 30 and Americans over 30 were very similar. 18 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 30 said six or more 20 percent of those 31 and older said it was true. Thirty-nine percent of young Americans believed two to five messages, compared to 41 percent of the older group percent performed.

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“In the past, older Americans held anti-Semitic views. The hypothesis is that anti-Semitism declined in the 1990s and 2000s as a new generation of tolerant people emerged. This shows that young people are now much closer to what older people think. My hypothesis is that there is a cultural shift fueled by technology and social media. That gap is disappearing,” said Ilana Horvitz, one of the poll’s reviewers and assistant professor of Jewish studies at Tulane University.

The study found that the “bias” of anti-Semitic tropes is the most interesting, Horwitz said. Even 3 percent of Americans say so everything The “mainly or somewhat true” nature of the initial reports is a concern, he said.

Three percent of American adults, just under 8 million—more than the 5.8 million American adults who identify as Jewish.

“I want to tell my students: Kanye has more followers on Instagram than all the Jews in the world. So it’s scary how much Americans believe in these conspiracy theories about Jews,” he said. You have over 18 million followers on Instagram alone.

He painted a mural of Kanye West. Then a rabbi called.

The new study also examined differences between belief in anti-Semitic tropes and negative attitudes toward Israel and its supporters.

“One of the findings of this report is that anti-Semitism is much more widespread than anti-Israel sentiment,” Williams said.

The report highlighted that 90 percent of Americans agree that Israel “has the right to defend itself against those who seek to destroy it,” and 79 percent agree that Israel is “a strong ally of the United States in the Middle East.” However, 40 percentage at least a little agreed 17 percent disagreed with the statement that Israel treated the Palestinians the way the Nazis treated the Jews. “I’m comfortable Spending time with people who openly support Israel.’

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According to Alan Cooperman, director of religious studies at the Pew Research Center and an advisor to the ADL project, Judaism’s long history includes periods of ebb and flow of anti-Semitism, sometimes lasting longer.

He noted that in 2013, Pew polled a dozen or more top experts on American Judaism, asking them about their priorities and which areas needed more information and attention. The consensus at the time was that anti-Semitism in the United States had reached historic levels, and although it still exists, it was not a pressing concern. When Pew spoke to experts in 2020, their attitudes had “completely changed. They told us that anti-Semitism is a very pressing issue and that we need to pay more attention to understanding it.

A large majority of American Jews told Pew in 2020 that anti-Semitism had increased over the past five years, while a slim majority They personally feel less safe.

Alvin Rosenfeld, director of the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism at Indiana University in Bloomington, said anti-Semitism will never go away, but it will change in its own unique ways.

In the West, he has ancient roots in Jewish Christian teachings as a satanic Christ-killer. In modern times, “religious bias gives way to racial notions of Jewish inferiority or superiority,” he said, this year marking the 120th anniversary of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an influential document that defamed Jews. a plan for world domination.

Then came Holocaust denial and anti-Semitic criticism of Israel.

“Therefore, the “new” anti-Semitism originated from earlier times. Accusations of a Jewish conspiracy, Jews controlling the media, politics, entertainment, the world of money are all ancient. Today, there are many reasons for this,” said Rosenfeld. “When hate is so diverse, it’s powerful and dangerous.”

Polling analyst Emily Guskin contributed to this report.


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