Antisemitic Attitudes in US Remain Stable Despite Surge in Violence, New ADL Survey Finds
A picture of the scene the day after an hours-long gun battle around a kosher market in Jersey City, New Jersey, Dec. 11, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Lloyd Mitchell.
Despite a worrying rise in violence targeting Jews in the US, a new poll of Americans released on Wednesday by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) showed that the number of people “who hold pernicious and pervasive antisemitic attitudes has remained at decades-long historical lows.”
The latest ADL “Survey of American Attitudes Toward Jews” — conducted annually by the Jewish civil rights organization since 1964 — found that 61 percent of American adults polled agreed with at least one or more classic antisemitic canards. These involve stereotypically negative characteristics such as clannishness, outsize wealth and greater loyalty to the State of Israel than the US, all of which featured prominently in the ADL survey.
An accompanying ADL statement underlined that “there was positive news as the findings showed that the level of Americans who hold pernicious and pervasive anti-Semitic attitudes has remained at decades-long historical lows: The majority of ADL’s surveys over the last 25 years have indicated that between 11 and 14 percent of Americans intensely harbor anti-Semitic attitudes.” However, “that share still represents tens of millions of people harboring virulent views.”
According to the ADL, antisemitic attitudes “have remained constant in America, with 11 percent of American adults — about 28 million people — harboring deeply ingrained anti-Semitic attitudes by agreeing with six or more common tropes about Jews covered in the survey. Longstanding stereotypes about ‘Jewish power’ in business and the ‘dual loyalty’ canard — the notion that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their home country — remain deeply entrenched and are especially widespread.”
Jonathan Greenblatt — the ADL’s CEO — observed that “[I]n recent times, we’ve been horrified by an uptick in antisemitic violence.”
He continued: “Our research finds that this uptick is being caused not by a change in attitudes among most Americans. Rather, more of the millions of Americans holding antisemitic views are feeling emboldened to act on their hate.”
Key poll findings include:
- 24 percent of Americans agreed with the statement “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to America.”
- 31 percent believed that Jewish employers go out of their way to hire other Jews.
- 17 percent said that “the movie and television industries are pretty much run by Jews.”
- 27 percent said they believed that Jews killed Jesus Christ.
At the same time, the survey revealed that most Americans retained a positive view of their Jewish fellow citizens. In particular, 79 percent of Americans believed that “Jews place a strong emphasis on the importance of family life” and 66 percent felt that “Jews have contributed much to the cultural life of America.”