New ADL Survey on American Antisemitism

By Forward Staff

Published November 01, 2007, issue of November 02, 2007.
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A new poll put out by the Anti-Defamation League suggests that the level of “strong” antisemitic beliefs among Americans remain much lower than the levels seen in the organiza-tion’s European polls.

The poll, conducted during October, indicates that 15% of Americans believe Jews have “too much power in the U.S.” The ADL is touting this figure as a rise over the past few years. In 1998, the same figure was 12%. But the 3% change is just slightly higher than the survey’s margin of error.

ADL’s attitudinal survey, conducted periodically since the 1960s, presents respondents with a series of 11 negative statements about Jews and asks whether or not they agree. Responses in-dicating agreement with six of the statements are categorized as “strongly antisemitic” for statistical purposes. The methodology has been criticized in the past for counting as antisemitic some responses that turn out in focus groups to be seen positively, such as “Jews always stick together.”

The survey still paints a brighter picture of America than comparable polls have in Europe. ADL surveys in Europe earlier this year found that more than a third of the respondents believe Jews have too much power.

The ADL’s surveys in America have taken a particularly close look at beliefs among African Americans and Latinos.

Among African Americans, negative views of Jews were almost three times as high as those among white respondents.

The ADL’s polls have traced what the organization sees as an improvement in views toward Jews in the Latino community. The number of foreign-born Latinos who hold what the ADL char-acterizes as strong antisemitic beliefs was 29%, down from 35% in last year’s poll. Among American-born Latinos, the figure is half as big — at 15%.

Overall, the survey found that 31% of Americans believe Jews are more loyal to Israel than to America. That figure is down slightly, from 33% in 2005. Twenty-seven percent of the respondents said that Jews were responsible for the death of Christ, down from 30% last year. The survey had 2,000 respondents and a margin of error of 2.19%.


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