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Jewish Group Cites Growth in Anti-Semitism

Bias: Hostility has been stoked by Mideast violence and the Sept. 11 attacks, the ADL says.

June 12, 2002|From Reuters

NEW YORK -- Anti-Semitic sentiment in the United States has risen since the Sept. 11 attacks and the upsurge in Palestinian-Israeli violence, reversing a decade-long decline in anti-Jewish sentiment, a prominent Jewish organization said Tuesday.

The Anti-Defamation League said a survey of 1,000 Americans 18 or older conducted early this year showed that 17% of Americans were strongly anti-Semitic, up from the 12% seen in the previous survey four years earlier.

The survey said 48% of Americans hold no prejudices against Jews, down from 53% in 1998. It had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

"We believe that Sept. 11 and the Mideast conflict have clearly had an impact," said Abraham Foxman, the league's national director. "As these life-altering events have transformed us as a nation, they have also triggered the anti-Semitism that was already there but buried beneath the surface."

Anti-Jewish attacks, mostly harassment and intimidation, rose in 2002, the ADL said. From January to May, the ADL reported 626 incidents, compared with 564 in the same period last year.

The survey showed a slight increase in anti-Jewish sentiment, to 12% among white Americans, up from the 9% seen in 1998. The number of blacks with strong anti-Semitic beliefs remained steady at 35%.

Foxman said the survey showed what he called a distressing increase in anti-Semitism from America's fastest-growing ethnic group, Latinos. The survey showed that 44% of foreign-born Latinos hold strongly anti-Semitic views, while 20% of Latinos born in the United States were strongly anti-Jewish.

The ADL was founded in 1913 to fight anti-Semitism and other forms of religious, ethnic and racial discrimination.

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