Skip To Content
Fast Forward

What do Hispanic Americans think of Jews? A new survey takes a look

While many young Hispanics don’t view Jews as targets of discrimination, they also don’t hold negative views of the community

Young Hispanics don’t see Jews as an oppressed minority but, at the same time, don’t hold a negative perception of the Jewish people, according to a report issued by the American Jewish Committee. 

The report was not based on widespread polling but rather on in-depth interviews with 125 Hispanics between the ages of 18 and 40, all based in five major American cities. Its purpose was to find way to bind the two communities together, said Dina Siegel Vann, director of AJC’s Arthur and Rochelle Belfer Institute for Latino and Latin American Affairs. Hispanics are the fastest-growing and also youngest minority group in the country, and all the people interviewed for the report were identified as “emerging leaders” within the community. 

The changing demographics of the U.S. Hispanic community led the AJC to  “try to find a way to engage with them, and to really find common ground and a way of advocating together on issues that are important to both communities,” said Siegel Vann. 

Siegel Vann acknowledged that the report does not reflect the Hispanic community as a whole, but rather offers an “X-ray” of a “very specific segment of the Latino population, which is first of all leaders. We’re talking about academic leaders. We’re talking about political leaders. We’re talking about business leaders.”

Interviewees saw Jews as facing less discrimination than Blacks, Asians, Muslims and Hispanics. Asked if they would say Jews are more like “another form of a white person” or more like other minorities, half said Jews were more like white people while 10% didn’t know or didn’t answer. 

Only 14% of the respondents said discrimination against Jews has gotten worse over time, with 35% saying the level of discrimination has stayed the same and 37% saying it’s gotten better. 

Siegel Vann said the questioning was done in August, prior to Kanye West’s widely publicized monthslong campaign of antisemitic media appearances. Still, that Hispanics don’t recognize antisemitism as a problem in the United States even after tragedies such as the Tree of Life shooting should “give us pause,” she said. 

“It’s a problem because when you don’t see the other group as suffering discrimination or being a minority, you cannot have empathy,” said Siegel Vann. “A lot of them said ‘Jews don’t need us.’ We know that we cannot fend by ourselves only.”

By and large, the respondents expressed more sympathy to Palestinians than they did to Israelis. But Siegel Vann expressed optimism that most of those polled differentiated the American Jewish community from Israel. 

While many of the people polled don’t see Jews as discriminated against, over 70% identified antisemitism as a form of discrimination. Siegel Vann said the disconnect — of being able to identify what anti-Jewish discrimination is while not seeing it as a problem that’s common — is one that the Jewish community must work harder to rectify. 

“Obviously, they are not perceiving this as a problem. We want them to be our partners and our allies. But in order for them to be our allies, they have to understand the problem and they don’t understand the problem. They are imposing on this a paradigm that is not correct,” she said. “The good news is that there’s no baggage and they don’t have a bad perception about us, but they’re indifferent.”

But, she acknowledged, that communication must go two ways. If Jews want Hispanic Americans on their side, they must also “denounce anti-Latino hatred. If we are not attuned to each other, we’re going to be indifferent, we’re going to keep quiet. And that’s a problem.”

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.