Most American Jews say anti-Semitism a ‘problem’

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The vast majority of American Jews think that anti-Semitism is a serious and increasing problem in the country. And they believe that the biggest threats are coming from the political right and Islamic extremists.

That’s the conclusion of a survey released Oct. 23 by the American Jewish Committee. Conducted by telephone with 1,283 Jewish adults from Sept. 11 to Oct. 6, the survey found that 84 percent of Jews believe anti-Semitism in the United States has increased in the past five years: of them 43 percent say anti-Semitism “increased a lot” and 41 percent believe anti-Semitism “increased somewhat.”

Nearly 90 percent of those interviewed think that anti-Semitism is a problem in the United States: of them 50 percent said it is “somewhat of a problem” and 38 percent as a “very serious” problem.

The survey also made it clear that Jewish institutions are aware Jew’s fears and are looking to become safer.

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More than half of the respondents — 57 percent — said that their local Jewish institutions have security guards; 52 percent said their institutions had hired police officers for safety.

Twenty-five percent said they avoid going tocertain places, events, or situations” out of concern for their comfort or safety as Jews, and 31 percent said they avoid “publicly wearing, carrying, or displaying things that might help people identify you as a Jew.”

However, most of those who responded had not been attacked because of their religion (98 percent) or have not been the target of an anti-Semitic remark offline (78 percent) or online (80 percent).

Most of the threats are seen coming from the extreme political right (89 percent) or Islamist extremism (85 percent).

By contrast, 64 percent believe that the extreme political left represents a threat to Jews.

“American Jews could not be clearer about the reality of antisemitism in the U.S. This hatred is real, comes from multiple sources, and is growing. It needs to be taken seriously and dealt with in a sustained, multi-pronged response.” the American Jewish Committee’s CEO, David Harris, said in a news release Wednesday.

Conducted by SSRS, the survey had a margin of error of 4.2 percentage points.

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Twitter: @SamScoopCooper

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