Sunday, November 6, 2011

ADL Poll: Anti-Semitic Attitudes on Rise in America


I've been feeling for a while now that anti-Semitism is increasing. "Feeling" is a terribly imprecise measure. I wondered if I were being alarmist, for example in my reaction to the Occupy Wall Street / Patricia MacAllister video.

On November 3, The Anti-Defamation League released the The 2011 Survey of American Attitudes Toward Jews in America. The ADL argues that anti-Semitic attitudes are on the rise in America.

Here is an excerpt on the ADL page:

"Among the more disturbing findings, the ADL survey shows that at a time of high unemployment and economic uncertainty, age-old myths about Jews and money and Jewish power in business endure.

Nineteen percent (19%) of Americans answered 'probably true' to the statement 'Jews have too much control/influence on Wall Street,' an increase from 14 percent in 2009.

'The sterotypes about Jews and money endure, and the fact that more Americans are now accepting these statements about Jews as true suggests that the downturn in the economy, along with the changing demographics of our society, may have contributed to the rise in anti-Semitic sentiments,' said Mr. Foxman. 'Once again the old anti-Semitic standbys about Jewish loyalty, the death of Jesus and Jewish power remain strong.'"

The most depressing excerpt, for me, is below:

"A surprisingly large number of Americans continue to believe that 'Jews were responsible for the death of Christ.' Thirty-one percent (31%) of Americans agreed with that statement. One-quarter of Americans believe that Jews 'still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust.'"

Many people falsely believe that it wasn't until Vatican Two that the hierarchy of the Catholic Church taught that the entire human race, not Jews, was responsible for Jesus' crucifixion. In fact, that's not true. The hierarchy of the Catholic Church announced as early as the Council of Trent in 1566 that humanity, not Jews, is responsible for Jesus' crucifixion. That people persist in believing that Jews are responsible for Jesus' death is very depressing to me, and a sign that Christians need to work harder on eliminating this toxic heresy and lie.

One aspect of the poll is naïve. The ADL reports:

"According to the ADL poll, the most educated Americans are largely free of prejudicial views. Less educated Americans are more likely to hold anti-Semitic views. The poll found that 22 percent of [those] who graduated high school or completed some high school harbor strongly anti-Semitic views, as compared to 13 percent among those who completed some college, and 9 percent among those who graduated from college."

This is the fallacy that formal education improves people morally. In fact, it is probably simply true that those with a more sophisticated education know how to respond to polls in an expected manner.

Hispanic Americans born outside the US are more likely to be anti-Semitic. African Americans are more anti-Semitic than the population at large.

From the ADL:

"The steady growth of the Hispanic population, now at 15 percent of the adult population, means that Hispanics and African-Americans together now comprise 27 percent of the American population, a number that is sure to grow in the coming years. This population increase of the cohorts with a substantially higher percentage of anti-Semitic beliefs than the total population also means that anti-Semitic propensities in the coming years will be a challenge, according to the ADL poll.

'At a time when you have conflicting trends in American society – on the one hand the rise of an African-American president, on the other hand a rise in anti-Hispanic and anti-Muslim sentiment – the question is whether this uptick in anti-Semitic sentiments signals a broader trend in attitudes toward Jews or not. Only time will tell.'"

Those who care about the Bieganski, Brute Polak stereotype will care about this.

"Bieganski" argues that Polish identity is not the problem. Rather, anti-Semitism is the problem.

"Bieganski" argues further that many commentators attempt to make Polish identity the problem, for various narratological, political, cultural, and ideological reasons.

Further, "Bieganski" argues against all stereotyping. It argues against Shylock as well as Bieganski. The arguments in the introduction of "Bieganski" could be used by activists who work against anti-Semitism as well as prejudices against Poles and other Bohunks.

Full coverage can be found here.



  2. Just read the article above. I would suggest it be more commonly read.

  3. It does seem that the ADL has taken notice of the anti Semitic signs among the Occupy protesters and also shows the effectiveness of the organization to swiftly react. I am afraid that kind of media access and unified reaction is only a dream for Bohunks. I’d suspect that the growing non-US born (not trained in politically correct test answers) Hispanic population is more of a worry to the ADL. Danusha’s point is well taken: people who are not trained in how to answer sensitive questions often give honest if troubling answers to polls.

    The EU Jewish meeting article was interesting as well. I wonder though about the Rabbis finding anti Semitism in protests against ritual animal slaughter. Although it could be argued that such protests against dog meat consumption in Asia, particularly in rich South Korea, are a manifestation of anti- Asian bias I think it’s more likely just a modern western reaction to perceived animal abuse than to explicit anti-Asian or anti-Semitic views.

  4. "I am afraid that kind of media access and unified reaction is only a dream for Bohunks."

    I'm working on a blog post tentatively entitled, "Bieganski and the Crisis in Polonian Leadership," or something similar.

    I'll be posting it soon, God willing.

    After I post it, I will enter the witness protection program.

  5. Has there ever been an ADL poll on the issue of antisemitism which did not claim/find that it was on the rise?

  6. Good point from Peter. It would be like the Southern Poverty Law Center saying the American Nazi movement is dead.

    I am really looking forward to Danusha's witness protection inducing new blog post!

  7. An interesting report on Intolerance, Prejudice
    and Discrimination in Europe, prepared by FES - German Institute/Foundation in 2011.

    It does not show how the statistics developed over time, but it does not look good, especially for Poland and Hungary.
    I personally cannot believe it.


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