The survey, released Monday, is the latest in an annual series commissioned by the American Jewish Committee to understand how Jewish Americans and the general public experience and perceive antisemitism.
A survey of American Jews found that over the last year, 17% said they “avoided certain places, events, or situations,” 22% avoided making themselves visually identifiable as a Jew and 25% refrained from posting Jewish-related content online.
A companion survey of the general public, meanwhile, found that the proportion of Americans who say they understand what antisemitism is rose sharply in the last year, from 53% in 2020 to 65% this year.
Last year’s survey was taken shortly before the presidential election in which Joe Biden defeated incumbent Donald Trump. At the time, just 4% of American Jews said they felt more secure than they had in the past; this year that proportion was significantly higher, at 10%.
“Almost 40% of Jews have changed their behavior. This is horrible and heartbreaking data,” Holly Huffnagle, the AJC’s U.S. director for combating antisemitism, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency about this year’s findings.
“But I think we can’t hide the fact that more Jews feel secure today,” she added, noting that when the surveyors asked for an explanation, “The change in the administration was by far the biggest response to that.”
This year’s surveys were taken in September and early October and included 1,214 Americans overall and 1,433 Jews. The margin of error for each survey was 3.9%. In a shift, the majority of the surveys were completed online, rather than by phone, although Huffnagle said researchers had concluded that the change had not influenced results in any particular way.
Some of the results, including the finding about the proportion of American Jews who changed their behavior out of fear, cannot be directly compared to the AJC’s past antisemitism surveys because this year’s version asked about experiences only in the last year. Previous surveys asked about experiences and perceptions in the past two or five years.
“We decided to lose the trend data in favor of accurate information,” Huffnagle said. READ MORE