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Press ReleaseAnti-Semitism-USA
ADL Poll: No Increase in Anti-Semitism in Wake of Sept. 11 Attacks

New York, NY, November 2, 2001 ... The American people overwhelmingly reject the notion that the close U.S.-Israel relationship was to blame for the September 11 terrorist attack on America, according to a new poll released today by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). There is also no evidence suggesting that anti-Semitism has increased in the U.S. as a result of the attacks.

The survey found that 63 percent of the American people believe that Osama bin Laden's attack on America occurred because "the terrorists don't like our values or way of life, not because of our relationship with Israel". Only 22 percent believe the attack would not have occurred if the U.S. were not such a close ally of Israel.

Responses to a series of questions on Americans' attitudes toward Jews showed no increase in anti-Semitism from previous surveys. In fact, there was a decline in one classic ADL measure of anti-Semitism: 25 percent of those surveyed thought that the statement, "Jews are more loyal to Israel than America" is probably true, a 6 percent decline from ADL's 1998 survey.

"This survey shows the good sense of the American people is not buying into the outrageous charge that America's relationship with Israel was the cause of the attacks," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "They clearly understand that the blame lies with Osama bin Laden and the terrorists and not U.S. foreign policy."

Mr. Foxman said, "The findings should help relieve some of the anxiety in the American Jewish community about the fallout of anti-Semitism and U.S.-Israel relations following September 11."

The Findings:

  • Sixty-three percent (63%) of the American people believe that America's close relationship with Israel had nothing to do with Osama bin Laden's attack. Twenty-two percent (22%) felt that there was a connection.

  • The basic sympathies of the American people remain solidly behind Israel. When asked whether their sympathies were closer to the Israeli position or the Palestinian position in the current conflict, Americans supported the Israeli position by 48 percent, compared with 11 percent for the Palestinian position. These findings are consistent with other major national surveys that have been conducted since January 2001.

  • The American people overwhelmingly blame the violence in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the Palestinians. When asked, "Who is more at fault for the current violence in the Middle East?," 42 percent of those surveyed blamed the Palestinians, while only 13 percent blamed the Israelis.

  • The public supports Israel's right to use force to defend itself against terrorism. By margins of 46 to 34 percent, Americans reject the notion that Israel should limit the use of force.

  • Forty-three percent (43%) of the American people say that it is "hypocritical" for the U.S. to criticize Israel's policy of assassinating suspected Palestinian terrorist leaders, because the U.S. has said it may abandon its longstanding policy against assassination. Thirty-three percent (33%) remain critical of Israel's assassination policy.

On the other hand, the findings show that 45 percent of the American people believe that the U.S. "must work with Arab nations, like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, even if it means weakening our historic alliance with Israel. Forty percent (40%) said that the U.S. has a "moral and strategic obligation" to keep its relationship with Israel strong, even if it means receiving less support from the Arab world during the war on terrorism.

Seventy percent (70%) of Americans said that the U.S. should take neither the Israeli nor the Palestinian side in the dispute. Nineteen percent (19%) said that America should take Israel's side, and 1 percent take the Palestinian side.

The national survey of 500 American adults, conducted jointly on October 30-31 by Marttila Communications Group and SWR/Della Volpe of Boston, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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