Half of Americans don’t know the meaning of anti-Semitism

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The American Jewish Committee (AJC), a non-partisan human rights organization, conducted two polls in late 2020. One interviewed over 1,000 non-Jewish citizens, and the other surveyed over 1,300 American Jews.

But both were asked about the same thing: anti-Semitism in the United States. And one result was quite unexpected: in the first survey, almost half of Americans said they did not know what the word “anti-Semitism” meant, and 21% of respondents said they had never even heard of the term. Another quarter of respondents have heard this term, but are not sure what it means. But nearly half of Americans said they have encountered negative attitudes towards Jews either online or in person over the past five years, leading the AJC to speculate that respondents may be familiar with the reality of anti-Jewish fanaticism but are simply not familiar with the term anti-Semitism. “. (This term appeared with the light hand of the German journalist, the furious anti-Jew Wilhelm Marr. This word is strange, since there is no such thing as “Semitism”. Nevertheless, he added “anti” to what does not exist).

The majority of non-Jewish Americans surveyed (62%) consider anti-Semitism to be a problem in the United States, but only 19% as a very serious problem, and only 43% agree that it has intensified over the past five years. 62% of respondents also said that the opinions of the Jewish people and Jewish organizations do not matter to them when they consider whether a statement or idea is anti-Semitic.

74% of Americans generally believe that the statement “Israel has no right to exist” is anti-Semitic, and 55% and 50% respectively call the statements “the US government supports Israel only because of Jewish money” and “American Jews are more loyal to Israel” than to America. “

More than three quarters of the surveyed Jews agree with this.

Most respondents in both polls believe the Republican Party is anti-Semitic, while 42% of non-Jewish Americans and 37% of Jews say the same about Democrats.

And this is what the “Jewish” poll showed: 88% of Jews say that anti-Semitism remains a problem in the United States, 82% – that anti-Semitism in the country has grown over the past five years, 43% – that the position of Jews in America today is less secure than it was a year ago, although 52% say it hasn’t changed and 4% even said it was safer. A quarter of Jews say they have personally experienced anti-Semitism in the past five years. During the same period, 22% have repeatedly encountered anti-Jewish manifestations on the Internet and 3% have been victims of anti-Semitic physical attacks. About a quarter of Jews avoid wearing clothes in public that identify them as Jews (mainly kipu and Star of David), and a similar percentage avoids identifying themselves as Jews on the Internet.

Most Jews say Jewish organizations (synagogues, cultural and educational centers) with which they are affiliated have tightened security measures in the two years since October 2018 after the shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. But nearly 40% say that since then their Jewish institutions have been threatened or attacked, and anti-Semitic leaflets or graffiti have appeared on them. 10% of respondents stated that they began to avoid visiting them.

The poll also showed that the majority of Jews are at least somewhat familiar with the widespread BDS movement in the United States (especially among students), which encourages boycotts, alienation and sanctions against Israel, and that 37% versus 15% consider it anti-Semitic.

Published in the newspaper “Moskovsky Komsomolets” No. 0 dated November 30 -0001

Newspaper headline:
What is “anti-Semitism”?

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