The Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) poll measuring anti-Semitism in the country discovered that more than half of U.S. citizens surveyed agree with at least one anti-Semitic stereotypical statement.
The poll, which studied Americans’ perceptions of Jews and was released Wednesday, showed 11 percent of respondents “intensely harbor” anti-Semitic views by agreeing to six or more anti-Jewish statements. That percentage would translate to about 28 million people.
ADL polls over the last 25 years have consistently shown between 11 and 14 percent of citizens have extreme anti-Semitic mindsets, prompting the group to conclude that the increase in anti-Semitic attacks is caused by a growing willingness to act on these beliefs instead of a rise in people who hold these beliefs.
“In recent times, we’ve been horrified by an uptick in anti-Semitic violence,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in the poll’s release. “Our research finds that this uptick is being caused not by a change in attitudes among most Americans. Rather, more of the millions of Americans holding anti-Semitic views are feeling emboldened to act on their hate.”
The poll tested 11 stereotypical anti-Semitic statements, including “Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust,” which 19 percent of respondents agreed with. Participants were also asked if “Jews want to weaken our national culture by supporting more immigrants coming to our country,” which received 10 percent support.
The sample was also questioned on other stereotypes, including Jews being “more loyal to Israel than to America” which received 24 percent support, and others including Jews having too much power in the business world, with 15 percent agreeing. Fourteen percent of individuals also said they agree that Israel sometimes “behaves as badly as the Nazis.”
But the poll still showed positive statements associated with the Jewish community, with 79 percent saying Jews “place a strong emphasis on the importance of family life” and 66 percent saying “Jews have contributed much to the cultural life of America.”
The poll was conducted between Oct. 12 and 16 and involved 800 interviews with U.S. citizens 18 years old or older. The margin of error is 3.5 percentage points. The ADL noted that this poll was completed before the recent streak of anti-Semitic attacks, specifically in the New Jersey and New York areas.
ADL’s first poll was completed in 1964 when 29 percent of respondents believed in six or more of the statements. In the last poll from 2016, 14 percent were considered to “intensely harbor” anti-Semitic values.
ADL is calling on Congress to take several actions in response to the poll and other data, including improving crime reporting, education about the Holocaust, enforcement against those who spread online hate and funding for security at places of worship across the country.
Jewish advocates have continued to work with Congress to improve security for the Jewish community after a series of anti-Semitic incidents rocked the country, with the killing of three people at a kosher market in Jersey City, N.J. and the stabbing of five people at a rabbi’s house in Monsey, N.Y.
The security funding increased by $30 million in this appropriations cycle, but the recent events and FBI data showing that Jews are the most targeted for religion-based hate crimes have pushed advocates to ask for further protection.