Fully one-third of Americans believe that President Donald Trump is “personally anti-Semitic,” and for the first time, a majority of Americans (52 percent) say they are concerned about violence in the U.S. directed at Jews, according to two new polls by the Anti-Defamation League.
Three out of four Americans are concerned about violence directed at Muslims, and more than 80 percent of Americans believe it is important for government to play a role in fighting anti-Semitism, up from 70 percent in 2014, the polls find.
The two polls of 3,600 Americans, conducted in October 2016 and January and February of this year, come amid a spike in hate crime in New York and across the country since the November election, as measured by the ADL, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the NYPD.
“The good news [is that] a large majority of Americans do not subscribe to common anti-Semitic stereotypes…”
But both surveys were conducted before the March 23 arrest of an Israeli teenager suspected of using voice-disguising software to place the bulk of the bomb threat calls that led to the evacuation of some 150 Jewish Community Centers around the country since the beginning of the year.
The polls, however, were not without some good news.
“The vast majority of Americans,” the ADL reports, “hold respectful opinions of their Jewish neighbors,” although anti-Semitic attitudes have increased “slightly,” to 14 percent of Americans.
“The good news [is that] a large majority of Americans do not subscribe to common anti-Semitic stereotypes,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt in a release. “It’s also encouraging that a record number of Americans are concerned about violence against the Jewish and Muslim communities,” said Greenblatt. But “clearly, there is still a lot of work to do.”
Regarding President Trump, 59 percent of Americans say he is anti-Muslim, 54 percent believe that he holds racist views and 53 say he is anti-Latino. Thirty-three percent say he is anti-Semitic.
The January-February survey found that 47 percent of those polled said there was more anti-Semitism during the 2016 campaign than previously, and 49 percent said candidate Trump should have done more to discourage it; 36 percent said he did do enough to discourage it. Before the election, an October poll found that 68 percent said campaign rhetoric “decreased tolerance and respect for all races and religions.”
The ADL surveys revealed that 34 percent of American Muslims hold anti-Semitic views, with 50 percent of American Muslims divided in their perception of Israel. However, American Islamic anti-Semitism was only slightly higher than anti-Semitic attitudes in general: 31 percent of Americans believed that Jews are “more loyal to Israel than to America”; 30 percent of Americans believed that the Jews “killed Jesus”; and 25 percent of Americans felt that “Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust.”
One question sure to be bandied about in the wake of the polls’ findings is whether the ADL and other communal organizations are guilty of ginning up fear of heightened anti-Semitism, and whether they tied the spike in anti-Semitism and hate crime in general too closely to candidate Trump’s rhetoric and President Trump’s actions.