By Ron Kampeas
WASHINGTON — Four in 10 American Jews felt less secure in 2022 than they did in 2021, according to an American Jewish Committee survey, a 10-percentage point rise from when the same question was asked a year earlier.
In addition, the survey found that more than a quarter of respondents had personally been targeted by an antisemitic remark or attack over the past year. Nearly a quarter avoided wearing or carrying things that would identify them publicly as Jewish. Both numbers were similar to the previous year’s survey.
A separate AJC survey found that the percentage of Americans generally who say antisemitism is a problem is also increasing. And nearly half of Americans overall (47%) said that antisemitism had increased over the past five years.
The survey, released Monday and conducted from Sept. 23 to Nov. 8, 2022, asked 1,507 respondents who identified as Jewish whether they feel more or less secure than a year ago, or the same. The portion of respondents who replied less secure was 41%; those feeling that their status was about as secure were 55% and those feeling more secure were 4%.
Those who felt less secure attributed the feeling to a perceived rise in antisemitic attacks and violence (27%), the sense that antisemitism and racism are more overt and accepted (27%) and the perceived rise of white supremacist groups (17%), among other factors. The percentage of those feeling less secure in the same survey in 2021 was 31%. The percentage in 2020 was 43%.
The survey was already underway when, in mid-October, the influential rapper and designer Kanye West launched into a weekslong series of antisemitic comments, starting on social media and continuing offline.
The survey also found that over the past year, one out of five respondents had been targeted by an antisemitic remark in person, and 13% had been targeted by antisemitism online. In addition, 48 respondents, or 3% of the total, had been victims of a physical attack. Last year’s survey reported similar findings.
In addition, this year, two-thirds of respondents, and a higher percentage of respondents ages 18-29, said they had seen antisemitic content online over the past year.
The separate survey of Americans overall found that 68% of respondents saw antisemitism in 2022 as a serious problem, up from 60% in 2021. In the survey of Jews, 89% said antisemitism was a serious problem in 2022, virtually the same as the 90% who responded that way in 2021.
The Jewish American study reached respondents through a mix of modes and had a margin of error of 3.4%. The survey of U.S. adults reached 1,004 respondents through a web survey, conducted Oct. 10 to 18, 2022, around the same time the Kanye West controversy was making headlines. It had a margin of error of 3.8%.