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Perceptions of Anti-Semitism among American Jews, 2000–05, A Survey Analysis

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Abstract

Despite their high degree of economic, educational, social, and political success, most American Jews in the early 2000s see anti-Semitism as a problem, and significant percentages see anti-Semitism as a very serious problem. How do we explain these perceptions of anti-Semitic threat given the comparative success of Jews in so many aspects of American life? This paper uses annual surveys from the National Survey of American Jews from 2000 through 2005 to address this question. Results indicate a multiplicity of factors affect perceptions of the seriousness of anti-Semitism. Those with a stronger sense of Jewish identity, lower income, and older people are more likely to see anti-Semitism as a very serious problem. Respondents also tend to see anti-Semitism as a more serious threat if they live in states with higher anti-Semitic incidents rates and when use of anti-Semitic terms in the news media increases. The conclusion puts the findings into perspective and suggests what we can learn by studying successful minority groups.

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