Given the American Jewish community is by far the biggest in the diaspora it is particularly important to keep track of anti-Semitism there. With that in mind the annual State of Antisemitism report from the American Jewish Community (AJC), a global Jewish advocacy organisation, demands careful attention.
The report incorporates two public opinion surveys: one of America’s Jewish population and the other of the general population. Both were based on nationally representative samples of the populations they covered. They were conducted in the final quarter of last year.
The Jewish population sees anti-Semitism as a serious and growing problem, as would probably be expected, but the general population sees it as problematic too.
Among the general public 22% see anti-Semitism as a very serious problem and 46% see it as somewhat of a problem (see bar chart below). So in total over two-thirds of the American public see contemporary anti-Semitism as somewhat of a problem or worse.
Just under half of the general public also see the problem as worsening over the past five years. Some 16% say it has increased a lot and 31% that it has increased somewhat. That compares with 26% who say it has stayed the same, 10% that it has decreased a little and 4% who say it has decreased a lot (with 13% not sure).
The public also tilts slightly towards the view that anti-Semitism is taken less seriously than other forms of hate and bigotry. Some 16% say it is taken more seriously, 34% less seriously and 50% about the same.
Some 90% of the public viewed the statement that “Israel has no right to exist” as anti-Semitic.
The results from the survey of American Jews showed the vast majority showing substantial concern. Some 43% saw anti-Semitism today as a very serious problem and 46% as somewhat of a problem. The vast majority also took the view that the situation has got worse in America over the past five years. Some 43% saying it has increased a lot and 39% saying it has increased somewhat.
Almost half of American Jews (48%) said anti-Semitism was taken less seriously than other forms of hatred and bigotry. This compares with 13% saying it was taken more seriously and 38% saying it was considered the same.
American Jews account for about six million of the 8.25m outside Israel according to estimates from the Jewish Agency for Israel. The largest diaspora communities after that are France (442,000), Canada (394,000) and Britain (292,000). About seven million Jews live in Israel.
The extreme levels of concerns reported among American Jews are broadly reminiscent of those reported about a year ago. According to the Antisemitism Barometer 2021 published by the Campaign Against Antisemitism British Jews were deeply fearful (reported in my article on how “British Jews are Scared” ). This year’s edition of the Barometer is not out yet.