More than one out of every three American Jews changed their behaviors last year out of fear of anti-Semitic attacks, according to the 2021 "State of Antisemitism in America" report released Tuesday by the American Jewish Committee (AJC).
The survey—the largest and most comprehensive ever conducted—found that 39 percent of Jews in the US changed their usual patterns of interactions last year to avoid possible assaults—online or in person. Twenty-five percent admitted they stopped posting comments online that would identify them as Jewish or as having Jewish views; 22 percent avoided wearing clothing or other articles that would identify them as Jews; 17 percent didn't go to certain places out of concern for their safety as Jews. AJC polled 1,433 Jews and 1,214 non-Jewish adults for the study.
Perceptions about the rise of antisemitism in America varied widely among those surveyed—82 percent of Jews believe it had increased over the last five years, while only 44 percent of the general population believe antisemitism is worse now than it was a few years ago.
Of the Jews surveyed, 24 percent said they had been attacked online or verbally in person. Three percent said they had even been physically assaulted in an anti-Semitic incident. Over 40 percent of the non-Jews surveyed had witnessed an antisemitic attack. One-third of them had seen more than one incident. Regarding the social media attacks, 95 percent did not report it to the police, even though 18 percent of those attacked said the threats were personal enough that they felt physically endangered.
AJC CEO David Harris said, "This critical report confirms that American Jews are deeply concerned about antisemitism in America, and many are limiting their behavior as a result. (This) should alarm all Americans."
When respondents were asked about the BDS movement, 80 percent of Jews and non-Jews agreed that saying "Israel has no right to exist" is antisemitic. However, most of those surveyed were not very familiar with the BDS movement. Fifty percent of American Jews believe antisemitism is on the rise on college campuses, where BDS heavily recruits and campaigns for its agenda to force companies, states, and nations to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel.