'Antisemitism in its classical fascist form emerging again'

ADL: Number of Americans believing antisemitic stereotypes nearly doubled since 2019

Poll finds that 85% of people in US agree with at least one racist trope about Jews, while 20% believe at last six; 20% think Jews have ‘too much power’

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Illustrative: Antisemitic vandalism on the wall of a New York synagogue, August 17, 2022. (Courtesy)
Illustrative: Antisemitic vandalism on the wall of a New York synagogue, August 17, 2022. (Courtesy)

The number of Americans who believe antisemitic stereotypes has doubled since 2019 to the highest level in decades, the Anti-Defamation League said Thursday, calling the findings “stunning and sobering.”

A poll carried out by the organization surveyed the extent to which Americans agreed with various anti-Jewish tropes used since 1964, the year the ADL began monitoring opinions on the matter.

It found that 20% of Americans agreed with six or more of the 11 anti-Jewish statements, a rate not seen since 1992, and 9 percentage points higher than in 2019.

The ADL said agreeing with at least six antisemitic tropes amounts to having “deeply held antisemitic views,” and the survey indicates 52 million Americans fall into that category.

Meanwhile, 85% of Americans believe at least one anti-Jewish trope, compared to 61% in 2019.

“Those of us on the front lines have expected such results for a while now – and yet the data are still stunning and sobering: there is an alarming increase in antisemitic views and hatred across nearly every metric — at levels unseen for decades,” said ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt.

Illustrative: A hand-drawn swastika is seen on the front of Union Station near the Capitol in Washington, DC, January 28, 2022. (AP/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

“From Pittsburgh to Charlottesville to the near-daily harassment of Jews in our greatest cities, antisemitic beliefs lead to violence. I hope this survey is a wake-up call to the entire country,” he said.

Among the findings was that 39% of respondents believe Jews are more loyal to Israel than the United States.

Also, 20% believe that Jews have “too much power” in the US, 26% say Jews have “too much power in the business world, and 21% agree that Jews “don’t care about anyone other than themselves.”

Over half, 53%, say that Jews will go out of their way to hire other Jews, the ADL found.

The findings indicate antisemitic beliefs that “Jews are too powerful, selfish, foreign, and clannish,” the ADL said.

Results indicated that 3% of the US population — amounting to 8 million people — believes every one of the 11 tropes respondents were quizzed about. That figure indicates that there are “more hardcore antisemites than Jews in the US,” Greenblatt said.

The survey shows “antisemitism in its classical fascist form is emerging again in American society, where Jews are too secretive and powerful, working against interests of others, not sharing values, exploiting — the classic conspiratorial tropes,” Matt Williams, vice president of the ADL’s year-old Center for Antisemitism Research, told The Washington Post.

Among younger adults, 18% believe six or more tropes, compared to 20% of respondents over age 30.

A greater belief in anti-Jewish tropes was also detected among below-30 adults than in previous research.

“While younger adults have modestly lower rates of believing in tropes than older Americans, this difference is far less than previously observed,” the ADL said.

The poll also examined how its respondents view Israel. It found that 23% believe Israel gets away with anything and controls the media, while 18% say they are uncomfortable spending time with a pro-Israel person.

Anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian activists burn an Israeli flag in New York City, May 15, 2021. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)

There was “significantly more negative sentiment toward Israel and its supporters” among adults below the age of 30 than those who are older, according to the poll report.

The ADL said there was a nearly 40% correlation between belief in anti-Jewish tropes and anti-Israel belief, “meaning that a substantial number of people who believe anti-Jewish tropes also have negative attitudes toward Israel.”

“These anti-Israel beliefs are not commentary on Israeli government policies,” Greenblatt said. “They are antisemitism in another form.”

“This survey should serve as a wake-up call,” Greenblatt said. “It will require a multi-faceted, whole-of-society strategy to tackle this complex and ancient form of intolerance.”

The results correspond to an increase in anti-Jewish acts in the US. The ADL recorded 2,717 antisemitic incidents across the country in 2021, a 34% increase from the previous year, and the highest since it began tracking in 1979.

The online survey released Thursday was conducted among a representative sample of more than 4,000 US adults between September and October 2022, and has a margin of error of 2.06%. It employed new methods developed with the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago (NORC) and the One8 Foundation. The number of Jewish respondents was not statistically significant.

The ADL is planning further research into the data and will release reports in the coming months analyzing how antisemitism manifests in different parts of the population.

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