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ADL poll: 77% of US Jews have more fear of antisemitism after Gaza fighting

In wake of last month’s clashes, 41% have greater concerns for their personal safety; 75% express increased worry for Jewish communities in other countries

Protesters at the Port of Oakland, where they halted a container ship owned by the Israel-based Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. in a campaign tied to the BDS movement, June 4, 2021. (Brooke Anderson via J: Jewish News of Northern California via JTA)
Protesters at the Port of Oakland, where they halted a container ship owned by the Israel-based Zim Integrated Shipping Services Ltd. in a campaign tied to the BDS movement, June 4, 2021. (Brooke Anderson via J: Jewish News of Northern California via JTA)

Three-quarters of US Jews said their concern over antisemitism in the country has grown following the fighting last month between Israel and the Gaza Strip according to a survey published Monday by the Anti-Defamation League.

The poll found that 77 percent of US Jews are much more or somewhat more concerned about antisemitism in the wake of the fighting. There is also worry about Jewish communities abroad, with 75% saying they are much more concerned about antisemitism in other countries, the ADL said.

“In the past month, the American Jewish community has been under increased threat of violence and harassment,” the ADL said in a statement with the survey results. “Their responses indicate that American Jews have witnessed more antisemitic incidents, are concerned for their safety and feel there is more that leaders should be doing to address this. ”

“Of particular concern,” the ADL said, 41% of the respondents are now more worried for their personal safety than they were before the 11 days of warring. Also, more than half (56%) said calling for companies and organizations to boycott, divest from or sanction Israel is “definitely or probably antisemitic.”

According to the recent Pew Research Center study of American Jews, 10% of respondents supported the BDS movement.

The ADL poll of 576 Jewish-American adults was taken from May 25 to June 1 by the polling firm YouGov. Its margin of error is 4%.

The ADL and other groups documented a surge in antisemitic incidents in the United States during and after the Israel-Gaza fighting. The incidents more than doubled during and after the fighting when compared to the same time last year, the ADL found. (The 2020 period was near the first wave of the pandemic and its associated social distancing restrictions.) The ADL’s tally includes physical assaults, as well as antisemitic and some anti-Zionist harassment and vandalism.

The survey also found that 60% of respondents “witnessed behavior or comments they deem antisemitic either online or in-person as a result of the recent violence.”

“This share is particularly striking given that the time period in question was only three weeks from the start of the violence through the end of the survey period,” the ADL said.

Among respondents, 76% said they want US President Joe Biden, civil rights groups (77%,) and non-Jewish faith leaders (76%) to do more to address antisemitism.

Nonetheless, the Biden administration topped the list of those who have somewhat or greatly addressed the issue of antisemitism in the US, with 41% backing the assertion for the president and his staff.

In addition, 55% of respondents said calling Israel an “apartheid state” is definitely or probably antisemitic, a finding that comes months after B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, called Israel an “apartheid regime.” Human Rights Watch also declared in April that Israel’s control over Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza qualifies as apartheid.

Majorities of respondents also said the following statements or actions are definitely or probably antisemitic: calling Zionism racist (61%); comparing Israeli actions to those of the Nazis (70%); saying Israel shouldn’t exist as a Jewish state (75%); and protesting Israeli actions outside an American synagogue (67%).

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