- An annual report from the American Jewish Committee found that 82% of Jews believe that antisemitism has increased over the last five years and one in four Jews said they had hidden their Jewish identity to prevent being attacked or harassed.
- Jews also resoundingly agreed that statements such as “Israel has no right to exist” or “Jews control the media” were antisemitic, according to the report.
- “I want [non-Jews] to be able to see these numbers and I want them to think of themselves,” Holly Huffnagle, AJC’s U.S. director for Combating Antisemitism, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
A majority of Jews believe antisemitism has been steadily growing over the last five years, according to an annual report by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) released Monday
Many Jewish communities have expressed frustration that antisemitism is being underreported, even calling the FBI’s 2021 hate crime report “grossly inaccurate” after several major cities with large Jewish populations were not included. The AJC, a “leading global Jewish advocacy organization,” published its annual report for 2022 and found that a majority of Jews, 82%, believe that antisemitism has been growing in America over the past five years. (RELATED: Pro-Palestine Group Chants For ‘Intifada Revolution’ At Historically Jewish University)
The report was divided into three sections, one containing only the answers of American Jews, the second comprised of responses from the general public and the third compared results from the previous two. Jews were asked about physical, verbal and online attacks that they had suffered in the past year, as well as questions about the state of antisemitism in the country generally.
Several questions focused on outward displays of Jewish identity, with some Jews responding that over the past year, they had conscientiously refrained or even hidden their faith and background due to fears of being attacked or harassed, according to the report. The results found that 23% of Jews had avoided wearing anything that would identify them as Jewish, 16% said they had avoided different events and areas that they felt might put them at risk, while 27% said they avoided putting anything online about their Jewish identity out of fear.
Between Sept. 28 and Nov. 3 over 1,500 Jews participated in the survey either online or by telephone and from Oct. 10 to Oct. 18 just over 1,000 non-Jewish Americans responded to the surveys, according to the report. AJC also discovered that 26% of Jews have experienced some form of antisemitism in the past year.
Holly Huffnagle, AJC’s U.S. director for combating antisemitism, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that she hoped this report would be a “window” into what Jews as “fellow Americans” are experiencing.
“I want [non-Jews] to be able to see these numbers and I want them to think of themselves,” Huffnagle told DCNF. “Put yourself in their shoes, it’s that empathy that we are trying to create, but the bigger takeaway is that it doesn’t have to stay this way, it doesn’t have to be this way if we all act together and share what is happening and raising that awareness. That’s actually why we do this study to raise that awareness and let it point to where we need to go.”
Jews also resoundingly agreed that statements such as “Israel has no right to exist” or “Jews control the media” as antisemitic, according to the report. American Jews also expressed that it was not uncommon to experience antisemitism on college campuses, with 21% of young Jews saying that they avoided any display that would identify them as Jewish and 18% indicating that they had felt unsafe at a college event because they were Jewish.
The general public did not appear to have the same sense of urgency about the potential rise of antisemitism over the years, according to the report. Only 47% of non-Jewish Americans felt that antisemitism had increased in the past five years.
There was, however, broad consensus regarding the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), which aims to get companies to protest Israel’s alleged occupation of Palestine by removing all financial and business ties with the Jewish state, according to the report. Both groups agreed that they viewed the BDS movement as antisemitic with non-Jews leading at 88% and Jews at 86%, but only 35% of the general public said they were familiar with the movement.
While only 68% of the general public agreed that antisemitism is a problem in the U.S., the report found that both Jews and non-Jewish Americans felt that antisemitism “is a problem for everyone; it affects society as a whole,” at 89% and 91% respectively.
Huffnagle said that the fact that both Jewish and non-Jewish Americans agreed that antisemitism was a “social contagion” would be extremely important going forward.
“This is a good thing. We don’t want to think that this is just a problem for Jews to solve, this is actually about our values, about our democracy, about protecting everyone,” Huffnagle pointed out. “That’s where we need to move, well what can everyone do? It’s this idea that everyone can play a role to push antisemitism to the fringes of society.”
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