ADL Poll: American Jews are Increasingly Concerned About Antisemitism in Wake of Recent Violence in Israel

New York, NY, June 14, 2021 … A nationwide survey conducted by ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) in the aftermath of the recent violence between Israel and Hamas found that three-quarters of American Jews are more concerned about antisemitism in the U.S. and abroad, and 60 percent have personally witnessed antisemitism because of the conflict in May.

The poll also found that 40 percent of American Jews are more concerned about their personal safety than before. Likewise, three-quarters of those polled (75 percent) indicated they were more worried than before about rising antisemitism in other countries spurred by the conflict.

“Around the recent conflict in Israel and Gaza, there was a significant surge of antisemitic incidents in the U.S. and abroad. American Jews are understandably now more concerned about the potential for violence overseas spilling over into antisemitic threats close to home,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO. “The antisemitic attacks we’ve witnessed in the streets and on social media in the past few weeks are weighing heavily on the American Jewish community.”

Some of the key findings of ADL’s survey include:

  • More than 40 percent of American Jews surveyed indicated that they were “more concerned about their personal safety” in the aftermath of the violence between Israel and Hamas and a documented surge of antisemitic incidents at home.
  • The survey found that 60 percent of Jews in America have themselves witnessed behavior or comments they personally deemed antisemitic during the weeks from the start of the violence to the end of the survey period. Putting this into perspective, this is roughly the share of American Jews who in a January survey said they had witnessed behavior or comments they deemed antisemitic in the prior five years.
  • Over half of American Jews (53 percent) say they’ve witnessed more behavior or conduct deemed antisemitic than before the outbreak of violence.
  • Eighteen percent (18 percent) of those polled have seen one or more of their personal relationships suffer because of conversations about the recent violence.
  • An overwhelming majority of American Jews want federal and state leaders to do more to address the recent antisemitism.

The survey also queried American Jews on the question of what types of expressions are antisemitic. Two-thirds or more of American Jews considered the following to be definitely or probably antisemitic: Saying that Israel should not exist as a Jewish state (75 percent); comparing Israel’s actions to those of the Nazis (70 percent); protesting Israeli actions outside an American synagogue (67 percent); calling Zionism “racist” (61 percent); calling for companies and organizations to boycott, divest from or sanction Israel (56 percent); or calling Israel an apartheid state (55 percent).

A recent analysis from ADL’s Center on Extremism revealed that antisemitic incidents in the U.S. more than doubled during the May 2021 military conflict and its immediate aftermath compared to the same time period in 2020. ADL logged 251 incidents from May 11 through the end of the month, an increase of 115 percent over the same period in 2020. The data identified 11 violent assaults in May 2021 and 190 cases of anti-Jewish harassment.

“At times of unrest or violence between Israel and armed terrorist groups, we have historically seen a spike in antisemitic incidents, but this year the surge was particularly dramatic and violent,” said Greenblatt. “This activity has affected more than specific individuals targeted: American Jews broadly are feeling less secure than before, and they believe strongly that our leaders need to do more to prevent further incidents.”

The survey was conducted by YouGov, a leading public opinion and data analytics firm, on behalf of ADL. Polling 576 Jewish American adults over the age of 18 (who were aware of the current conflict between the Israeli and Palestinians), the survey was conducted online from May 25 through June 1, 2021. The survey was weighted to reflect the demographic makeup of Jews across the United States. The margin of sampling error for the full sample of respondents is plus or minus 4 percentage points. 

ADL gratefully acknowledges the ADL Lewy Family Institute for Combating Antisemitism for its sustained support and commitment to fighting antisemitism. ADL also thanks its individual, corporate and foundation advocates and contributors, whose votes of confidence in our work provide the resources for our research, analysis and programs fighting antisemitism and hate in the United States and around the globe. 

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of antisemitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of antisemitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.

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