Almost One In Three American Jewish People Sometimes Hide Their Faith

 

Photo Credits: Institute for Policy Studies

Almost one in three American Jews avoided displaying or wearing something — like a skullcap or a Star of David necklace — that would reveal their Judaism, according to a study by the American Jewish Committee (AJC).

AJC’s 2019 Survey of American Jewish Attitudes about Antisemitism, based on telephone interviews carried out September 11th - October 6th, Pennsylvania finds that the attacker has contributed to feelings of dread even beyond the obvious horrors.

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“It’s been a rough year, and it’s been an eye-opening and awakening year,” said David Harris, CEO of the American Jewish Committee. “Perhaps there was a time when some Jewish institutions … felt somehow more or less insulated from [anti-Semitic attacks]. The fact that the attacks took place in Pittsburgh and Poway triggered a feeling that we’re all at risk everywhere, equally — it can happen anywhere.”

Washington Post reports that, according to the study, 84 percent of American Jews said they think anti-Semitism has increased in the United States in the past five years, while just three percent said they think it has decreased. One in five said they had been the target of anti-Semitic remarks online in the past five years, and 23 percent said they had been targeted by anti-Semitic comments in person or through mail or phone. Just two percent said they had been the victim of physical attacks because they are Jewish.

David Harris also said: “We’ve seen what’s happening in the United States as part of a larger phenomenon of growing anti-Semitism worldwide,” he said. “Even a few years ago, things that would never have been said about Jews — maybe because of greater sensitivity to the Holocaust, or just a sense that in a liberal democracy we don’t say such things about other groups — those guard rails are down. … Liberal democracy itself is in crisis in many parts of the Western world. So those barriers that kind of contained the spread of anti-Semitism and other forms of hatred — those barriers are being weakened.”

The survey also asked questions about which groups Jews worry about experiencing anti-Semitism from, including the far right, the far left and Muslim extremists, and found fairly high levels of concern about all three.

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