(RNS) — American Jews are feeling less secure in the United States, a new survey shows, but only a minority have personally experienced antisemitism, either physically or verbally.
The survey of 1,507 Jews found that 41% of American Jews said they were feeling less secure than a year ago, a 10 percentage point increase over a 2021 survey when 31% of American Jews said they felt less secure.
On a personal level, 3% of Jews said they had been subjected to a physical antisemitic attack and 20% subject to a verbal antisemitic attack.
The fourth annual American Jewish Committee survey — first fielded in 2019 one year after a shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, left 11 Jews dead — has positive news, too.
Less than a quarter (23%) said the Jewish institutions they attended had been subject to antisemitism (in the form of graffiti, threats or attacks) over the past five years, and 73% of American Jews said they felt safe attending Jewish institutions to which they are affiliated.
“Compared to a year ago, is the status of Jews in the United States more secure or less secure?” Graphic courtesy of AJC
The vast majority of Jews also feel safe in their places of work: 90% say they have no difficulty taking time off for Jewish holidays, and 89% said they have never felt they needed to avoid particular items of clothing that might identify them as Jews at their workplace or around colleagues.
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This year’s survey, conducted by the research company SSRS, was fielded between September and November 2022, about the time the rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, publicly shared a series of antisemitic remarks.
“The majority of Jews feel safe in their houses of worship,” said Holly Huffnagle, U.S. director for combating antisemitism at the American Jewish Committee. “That’s a good finding. There is community resilience.”
But the survey also shows that 38% of American Jews changed their behavior in the past 12 months out of fear of antisemitism. (That includes avoiding certain places or not wearing items of clothing that might identify them as Jews.) That figure has remained steady since 2021.
A separate survey of 1,004 U.S. adults in the general public found that 68% of Americans see antisemitism as a problem. Americans and Jewish Americans differ on whether antisemitism has increased over the past year. Less than half (47%) of the general population of Americans think antisemitism has increased over the past five years, compared to 82% of American Jews who think it has increased.
“Which statement comes closer to your view, even if neither is exactly right?” Graphic courtesy of AJC
Both American Jews (89%) and the general public (91%) think antisemitism affects society as a whole and not just Jews.
American Jews experienced antisemitism mostly online and specifically on social media. Nearly 70% of American Jews see antisemitism on social media, and that number jumps to 85% among younger American Jews aged 18-29.
Twitter ranked highest of all platforms where American Jews said they saw antisemitic content (45%), followed closely by Facebook (43%).
The survey of Jewish Americans had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.
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