The Commercial Appeal
Survey: Antisemitism fears rising for US Jews
2022 brought a spate of high-profile incidents
More than 4 in 10 Jews in the United States feel their status in America is less secure than it was a year earlier, according to a new survey by the American Jewish Committee.
The survey, conducted last fall, was released Monday by the AJC, a prominent Jewish advocacy organization.
The survey was taken in a year of high-profile incidents of antisemitism, including a hostage-taking at a Texas synagogue and anti-jewish statements shared by celebrities on social media. Former President Donald Trump dined with two openly antisemitic guests, drawing criticism from his own Jewish supporters.
According to the AJC survey, 41% of the respondents said the status of Jews in the U.S. is less secure than it was the year before, while 55% said it was the same. Only 4% thought it was more secure.
The results show anxieties increasing since a comparable survey in 2021, when 31% of respondents thought their status was less secure than a year earlier. Four in five Jews said in the 2022 survey that antisemitism has grown in the past five years; nearly half said it’s taken less seriously than other forms of bigotry or hate.
A quarter of the respondents said they were directly targeted by antisemitic expressions, either in person or on social media, with 3% reporting a physical attack. Nearly 4 in 10 changed their behavior to lower risks to their safety.
Similarly, nearly 4 in 10 reported avoiding visible expressions of Jewishrep.
ness in public, such as wearing a skullcap. Smaller percentages reported taking similar steps on campus or at work. Other findings: h Nearly 90% of U.S. Jews – and the same percentage of the country’s total population – believe antisemitism is a serious problem, up from 73% in 2016.
h Of the Jews surveyed in 2022, 63% said that they see law enforcement as appropriately responsive when it comes to antisemitism, a substantial drop from 2019 when that number was 81%.
The survey collected data from a nationally representative sample of 1,507 adults of Jewish religion or background. It was conducted from Sept. 28 through Nov. 3.
News of antisemitic incidents surfaces almost daily in the U.S. Earlier this month, for example, numerous antisemitic flyers were distributed in suburban Atlanta, including at the home of Georgia’s only Jewish state legislator.
Esther Panitch, a freshman Democrat, denounced the flyers from the floor of the House of Representatives, with dozens of colleagues surrounding her to show solidarity.
“This weekend, it was my turn to be targeted,” Panitch said. “Unfortunately, it’s not the first time to be afraid as a Jew in the United States.”
Among the most dramatic antisemitic incidents in 2022 was the January hostage standoff at Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, a suburb of Fort Worth. A pistol-wielding British man took four people at the synagogue hostage and held them for 10 hours before they escaped, and the captor was killed by the FBI.
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