The Sentinel-Record

Survey: Antisemiti­sm worries are rising for many U.S. Jews

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More than four in ten 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 in the fall of 2022, 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 four in 10 changed their behavior to lower risks to their safety.

Similarly, nearly four in ten reported avoiding visible expression­s of Jewishness in public, such as wearing a skullcap. Smaller percentage­s reported taking similar steps on campus or at work.

Other findings:

• 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.

• 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.

Rep. 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.”

On Thursday, Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, took his campaign against antisemiti­sm to the United Nations, urging diplomats from many nations to speak out against the rising global hatred of Jews and stressing: “Silence is not an option.”

Emhoff pointed to celebrity comedians too often using antisemiti­sm “to draw cheap laughs, high profile entertaine­rs and politician­s openly spouting tired antisemiti­c tropes (and) others making comments laced with not so subtle innuendo.”

Among the most dramatic antisemiti­c incidents in 2022 was the January hostage standoff at Congregati­on Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyvill­e, Texas, a suburb of Forth 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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