An US nationwide survey released today by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) found that 15% of US adult population – nearly 35 million adults – hold deeply anti-Semitic views, an increase of 3 per cent from a similar poll conducted in 2009.
According to experts, old stereotypes about Jews and money appear to be more widely accepted among Americans as the downturn in the economy persists.
2011 Survey of American Attitudes Toward Jews in America was a national telephone survey on 1,754 adults and was conducted October 13-23 by Marttila Strategies of Washington, DC and Boston.
The survey shows that at a time of high unemployment and economic uncertainty, age-old myths about Jews and money and Jewish power in business endure, with a surprising number of Americans agreed with sharply worded criticisms of Jews.
Over the last 10 years, the highest level of anti-Semitic attitudes was reported in 2002, when an ADL poll found 17% of Americans harboured anti-Jewish attitudes.
19% of Americans answered “probably true” to the statement: “Jews have too much control/influence on Wall Street” – an increase from 14% in 2009.
It also found that 14% agreed with the statement “Jews have too much power in the U.S. today” – an increase from 13% in 2009.
15% agreed that Jews are “more willing to use shady practices” – up slightly from 2009.
16% agreed that Jewish “business people are so shrewd, others don’t have a chance” – up from 13% in 2009.
30% believe that Jews are “more loyal to Israel than to America”, “a percentage that has remained virtually unchanged since ADL’s benchmark survey in 1964, despite the changing make-up of the U.S population”, according to ADL.
Nearly half of all respondents agreed with the statement that “Jews stick together more than other Americans”, and 33% said they believe “Jews always like to be at the head of things”.
31% of Americans agreed with the statement “Jews were responsible for the death of Christ”, and 25% of Americans believe that “Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust”.
Abraham H Foxman, Anti Defamation League National Director, said: “It is disturbing that with all of the strides we have made in becoming a more tolerant society, anti-Semitic beliefs continue to hold a vice-grip on a small but not insubstantial segment of the American public.
“The stereotypes about Jews and money endure, and the fact that more Americans are now accepting these statements about Jews as true suggests that the downturn in the economy, along with the changing demographics of our society, may have contributed to the rise in anti-Semitic sentiments.
“Once again the old anti-Semitic standbys about Jewish loyalty, the death of Jesus and Jewish power remain strong.”
According to the ADL poll, the most educated Americans are largely free of prejudicial views and less educated Americans are more likely to hold anti-Semitic views.
The poll also found that 22% of who graduated high school or completed some high school harbour strongly anti-Semitic views, as compared to 13% among those who completed some college, and 9% among those who graduated from college.
The poll also looked at anti-Semitic views among significantly large minority groups. It found that Hispanic Americans born outside of the U.S. are more likely than Hispanics born in the U.S. to hold anti-Semitic views. According to the survey, 42% of foreign-born Hispanics hold anti-Semitic views, as opposed to 20% of U.S. born Hispanics.
In 2011, 29% African-Americans expressed strongly anti-Semitic views. That percentage is consistent with the findings of past surveys.
Jews were found to be held in high regard on many key measurements, however. Even Americans who hold the most anti-Semitic views agreed with many positive statements about Jews.
79% said they believe Jews have a strong faith in God; 64% said they believe Jews have contributed much to cultural life of America; and 83% say they emphasise the importance of family life.
The survey was conducted with a base sample of 1,200 plus an oversample of 243 African-Americans and 227 Hispanics, bringing the oversample for both communities to 400 each.
Anti-Semitic propensities are measured by an 11-question index developed by the Anti-Defamation League more than 40 years ago. The index includes 11 statements used to gauge the anti-Semitic attitudes of the respondents.
In the new survey a surprising number of Americans agreed with sharply worded criticisms of Jews:
* 14% agreed with the statement that “Jews have too much power in the U.S. today”, an increase from 13% in 2009
* 15% agreed that Jews are “more willing to use shady practices”, up slightly from 2009
* 16% agreed that Jewish “business people are so shrewd, others don’t have a chance”, up from 13% in 2009
* 30% believe that Jews are “more loyal to Israel than to America”, a percentage that has remained virtually unchanged since ADL’s benchmark survey in 1964, despite the changing make-up of the U.S population
* Nearly half of all respondents agreed with the statement that Jews “stick together more than other Americans”, and 33% said they believe Jews “always like to be at the head of things”
Source: Anti-Defamation League