Nassau County police stand watch at the Young Israel of...

Nassau County police stand watch at the Young Israel of Woodmere synagogue in Woodmere in January 2019. The Anti-Defamation League says U.S. incidents of antisemitism topped more than 2,700 last year, the highest number since tracking began in 1979. Credit: /Kendall Rodriguez

Antisemitism is on the rise nationally, with a growing number of Americans believing anti-Jewish tropes and negative stereotypes about Israel, according to a new poll by the Anti-Defamation League, and experts say education is critical to the fight against such bias.

The survey, conducted on more than 4,000 Americans from September through October 2022 and released last month, found that 85% of respondents believed at least one of 11 anti-Jewish conspiracy theories — up from 61% back in 2019.

One in five Americans polled believe six or more tropes, such as "Jews are more loyal to Israel than America," and that they "have too much power in the business world" and "stick together more than other Americans," pollsters found. That's up from 11% in 2019, the ADL said.

And all 11 tropes are believed by 3% of Americans, corresponding to about 8 million people — more than the number of Jews in the United States, the report states.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • survey of more than 4,000 Americans released last month, found that 85% of respondents believed at least one of 11 anti-Jewish conspiracy theories — up from 61% back in 2019.
  • Young adults ages 18 to 30 appear to believe in anti-Jewish tropes and anti-Israel sentiment more than older Americans, the poll found.
  • The report demonstrates the need for additional education and outreach in schools, said Alan Mindel, chairman of the Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center in Glen Cove.

Alan Mindel, chairman of the Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center in Glen Cove, said the report demonstrates the need for additional education and outreach in schools.

"We do a great deal of education on Long Island but I think this shows that no matter how much education we do, more is needed," Mindel said. "And there needs to be a further diversification of what we teach, so that people understand what will lead you down a path where you're going to be acting in a format that's antisemitic. It could be under the cover of a political view or something basically rooted in someone's propaganda."

Mindel and others contend a significant portion of modern antisemitism is fueled by individuals who receive much of their news from social media, where anti-Jewish information is often rapidly spread. "[Social media sites] are filling a void that we as a society are allowing to occur," he said. "It's a tremendous issue."

Rabbi Anchelle Perl of the Chabad of Mineola said Jews must continue to push back against virulent antisemitism. 

"We don’t fight emptiness by becoming emptier, and we don’t make someone else’s problem into our problem," he said. "In the face of irrational hate, we stay proudly and defiantly Jewish, trusting in God and loyal to our people."

The ADL poll also found substantial rates of Israel-directed antisemitism.

For example, 40% of respondents believe Israel treats the Palestinians like Nazis treated the Jews while 23% suggested Israel "can get away with anything because its supporters control the media." Almost 20% said they would be uncomfortable spending time with a person who supports Israel.

Young adults ages 18 to 30 appear to believe in anti-Jewish tropes and anti-Israel sentiment more than older Americans, the poll found.

Scott Richman, director of ADL's regional office covering New York and New Jersey, said early intervention is the key to transforming the opinions of young people. The ADL, he said, provides anti-bias training and education across the country, including in about 100 Long Island schools.

"These are designed to change hearts and minds to create a world where people respect one another's identity and celebrate differences and diversity," Richman said. "These are important values for us. That's what's going to control hate."

Last year, the ADL reported that antisemitic incidents reached an all-time high in the United States, totaling 2,717 instances of assault, harassment and vandalism being reported to the organization — the highest number since tracking began in 1979.

On Long Island last year antisemitic flyers were tossed onto the driveways and lawns of homes in Rockville Centre, Oceanside and Long Beach, with the language mirroring the smears Hitler used in the period leading to the Holocaust. 

Alexis Fishman, a board member with 3GNY, an educational nonprofit organization that trains the grandchildren of Holocaust survivors to share their families' stories, including at schools on Long Island, said there needs to be greater awareness of antisemitism and the struggles of the Jewish people.

"Exposure is important," Fishman said. "A lot of people in this country probably have never met a Jewish person and are only poking at things that, maybe they've learned from generations previously. Education is certainly important. And obviously the lessons of the Holocaust and Holocaust education are really important."

The ADL poll is the first in a series of surveys the group plans to release on antisemitic attitudes in the United States.

Future reports, the group said, will cover topics such as the differences in antisemitic attitudes across the political and ideological spectrum; among racial and ethnic groups; views of Jews as privileged and similarities and differences between biases against Jews and other groups.

A tipster says he told the state about buried drums at Bethpage Community Park nearly a decade ago. Newsday's Ken Buffa reports. Credit: Newsday/Daddona / Pfost / Villa Loarca

Uncovering the truth about the chemical drums A tipster says he told the state about buried drums at Bethpage Community Park nearly a decade ago. Newsday's Ken Buffa reports.

A tipster says he told the state about buried drums at Bethpage Community Park nearly a decade ago. Newsday's Ken Buffa reports. Credit: Newsday/Daddona / Pfost / Villa Loarca

Uncovering the truth about the chemical drums A tipster says he told the state about buried drums at Bethpage Community Park nearly a decade ago. Newsday's Ken Buffa reports.

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