JTA — Despite a rise in anti-Semitic violence in recent years, the proportion of Americans holding “intensely” anti-Semitic views remains small, according to a new poll.
The poll, conducted by the Anti-Defamation League and published Wednesday, asked 11 questions of United States adults regarding traditional anti-Semitic stereotypes, using a protocol the organization developed more than 50 years ago.
While 61 percent of respondents said they agreed with one or more of the stereotypes, only 11% said they believed in a majority of them. That number is consistent with the ADL’s surveys over the past 25 years.
“Our research finds that this uptick [in anti-Semitic violence] is being caused not by a change in attitudes among most Americans,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt in a statement. “Rather, more of the millions of Americans holding anti-Semitic views are feeling emboldened to act on their hate.”
According to the study, in the original 1964 poll, ADL found that 29% of Americans believed in six or more common stereotypes about Jews — such as inordinate Jewish influence in government or that Jews killed Jesus Christ — out of a total of 11 such stereotypes that they were asked about. “That percentage has declined significantly over the ensuing 55 years, and, indeed, has stayed relatively flat at the lower end over the past two decades,” write the authors.
The poll found that many Americans do still believe in certain longstanding anti-Jewish stereotypes, even though few subscribed to most of the beliefs:
- 31% of American adults believe Jewish employers go out of their way to hire other Jews.
- 27% believe the Jews killed Jesus.
- 24% believe American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the United States.
- 19% believe “Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust.”
The survey also found that large majorities of Americans have positive feelings toward Jews, and that a majority is very or somewhat concerned about violence against Jews.
- 69% said they feel warm toward Jews, while only 5% said they felt cold.
- 66% say “Jews have contributed much to the cultural life of America.”
- 79% say “Jews place a strong emphasis on the importance of family life.”
And the survey found that small percentages of Americans hold anti-Israel views:
- 8% of Americans support a boycott of Israel.
- 7% believe American Jews are responsible for Israel’s actions.
- 14% of Americans say Israel’s government “sometimes behaves as badly as the Nazis.”
- 16% say Israel’s human rights record is worse than most other countries’.
According to the study’s summary, 800 US citizens aged 18 and over were asked a series of questions via telephone between October 12 and 16, 2019. The contacts were randomly selected from “comprehensive telephone number databases” and the data was weighted to reflect US demography, including age, gender, religion, education, race, ethnicity, and geographic region, with a margin of error of 3.5%.
A 2019 ADL poll of 9,000 Europeans found that a quarter subscribed to most of the stereotypes — and that anti-Semitic attitudes are on the rise in several countries.