ADL Survey: Anti-Semitism In America Remains Constant; 15 Percent Of Americans Hold 'Strong' Anti-Semitic Beliefs
New York, NY, November 1, 2007 … A nationwide survey released today by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) shows the number of Americans who hold anti-Semitic attitudes remains constant from its 2005 findings, demonstrating once again that "anti-Semitic beliefs endure in America."
The 2007 Survey of American Attitudes Towards Jews in America, a national telephone survey of 2,000 American adults conducted October 6 through October 19, found that 15% of Americans - or nearly 35 million adults - hold views about Jews that are "unquestionably anti-Semitic," compared to 14% in 2005. Previous ADL surveys over the last decade had indicated that anti-Semitism was in decline (graph). Nine years ago, in 1998, the number of Americans with hardcore anti-Semitic beliefs had dropped to 12% from 20% in 1992. The survey was released at the annual meeting of the League's National Commission.
"What concerns us is that the successes we had seen moving toward a more tolerant and accepting America appear not to have taken hold as firmly as we had hoped," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "These findings, coupled with the ongoing acts of anti-Semitic incidents and hate crimes, suggest that anti-Semitic beliefs endure and resonate with a substantial segment of the population, nearly 35 million people."
Anti-Jewish Stereotypes Remain Consistent
The survey found that 31% of Americans believe Jews are more loyal to Israel than America, down from 33% in 2005; in 2002 it was 33%; in 1998, it was 31%; in 1992; 35%. (graph)
More than one quarter – 27% of the American people – believe Jews were responsible for the death of Christ, down from 30% in 2005, up from 25% in 2002. (graph)
Fifteen percent (15%) of the general population believes that Jews have "Too much power in the U.S." -- unchanged from 2005; 67% for those who are the most anti-Semitic.
Twenty percent (20%) believe Jews have "Too much power in the business world" and 18% believe Jews have "Too much control/influence on Wall Street," both up one percent from 2005 (graph).
"When it comes to Jews, old stereotypes die hard," said Mr. Foxman, "especially about loyalty, the death of Jesus, and power. For over 40 years one of the most stable and telling indicators of anti-Jewish prejudice in America has been the question of fundamental Jewish loyalty to the U.S."
Mr. Foxman added that, "Stereotypes about 'Jewish power' in the U.S. have replaced many of the classical ethnic stereotypes previously attributed to Jewish Americans."
The survey found that anti-Semitic propensities among Hispanics, the most significant and fastest growing segment of the American population, are influenced by origin of birth. There continues to be an extraordinary gap between those born in the United States and those born abroad, though somewhat less than in 2005. The survey revealed that 29% of foreign-born Hispanics hold hardcore anti-Semitic beliefs (down from 35%), while 15% of Hispanics born in the U.S. fall into the same category (down from 19%). (graph)
"We are heartened to see progress in the Hispanic community," said Mr. Foxman, "and the outreach and collaboration with various segments of the Hispanic community throughout the country that we began after the initial findings have borne some results and we are committed to stepping up that effort."
Mr. Foxman added, "We understand that religious background has always played a role in determining one's beliefs about Jews. We believe that the strong anti-Semitic views held by one of the fastest growing segments in America is no doubt a reflection of what is being learned about Jews in the schools, churches and communities of Latin American countries, which is anti-Semitism at its most basic."
The number of African-Americans with strong anti-Semitic beliefs continued to remain high and stable since 1992. The 2007 survey found that 32% of African-Americans hold strong anti-Semitic beliefs, more than three times more than the 10% for whites. In 1992 it was 37%; 1998 – 34%; 2002- 35%, 2005 – 36%. (graph)
"We continue to remain troubled and somewhat at a loss to understand why African-Americans consistently have such strong anti-Semitic propensities," said Mr. Foxman.
Education and Gender
• Education - The more educated a person is, the less likely he or she is to hold anti-Semitic views: 21% of those with a high school degree or less hold strong anti-Semitic views, compared to 10% of college graduates and 8% of those who hold post-graduate degrees. (graph)
• Gender – Men are more likely than women to hold anti-Semitic views, particularly men without a college degree and unmarried. Overall, 18% of men hold strong anti-Semitic views, compared to 13% of women. Men with no college is 26%, women with no college is 17%; unmarried men 23%, unmarried women 15%. (graph)
On a positive note, the survey found a majority of Americans hold Jews in high regard on many issues. The most positive attributes ascribed to American Jews relate to ethics and family. (graph)
• 55% believe that Jews have a "special commitment to social justice and civil rights"
• 65% agree that Jews "contributed much to the cultural life of America"
• 79% see as positive Jewish "emphasis on the importance of family life"
The survey was conducted by The Marttila Communications Group, a Boston-based public opinion research firm, which has conducted ADL's previous surveys on anti-Semitism, using similar questions and criteria to measure and monitor levels of anti-Semitism in the U.S.
For those questions answered by all 2,000 respondents, the survey has a margin of error of error of +/- 2.19 percent.
For many questions, the survey used the technique of "split sampling," a process in which the 2,000-person sample was split into two demographically representative national samples of 1,000 respondents each. The margin of error for questions answered by 1,000 respondents is +/- 3.09 percent. For a limited number of questions, the 1,000 person samples were also split into two representative samples of 500 respondents each. The margin of error for these questions is +/- 4.38 percent.
The purpose for split sampling in the survey was to maximize the number of questions that could be asked, to test different hypotheses about an issue and to test the impact of different question wording.
ADL European Surveys
The U.S. survey's findings help underscore the contrast between anti-Semitic attitudes held by Americans and those of Europeans polled earlier this year.
ADL surveys in 11 European countries released in May and July 2007 revealed that fully half of the Europeans surveyed believe Jews are not loyal to their country and more than one-third believe that Jews have too much power in business and finance. In Europe, the surveys revealed that a large number of Europeans believe the classical anti-Semitic canards that have persistently pursued Jews through the centuries.
"The good news is that America is different," said Mr. Foxman. "Many more Americans reject the classical anti-Semitic canards than those Europeans in the countries surveyed. These attitudes help incite and legitimize anti-Semitism, including violence against Jews in many European countries. The findings that a high percentage of respondents in Spain and Poland hold negative views of Jews are not surprising, given each country's history of animus toward Jews."
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.