Pollster: ADL Anti-Semitism Survey Reflects Growing Tolerance for All Minorities, But Anti Jewish Prejudices Persist

October 31, 2013 6:13 pm 11 comments

Anti-Defamation League.

Results of an annual Anti-Defamation League survey on American attitudes towards Jews reflects growing tolerance for all minorities, John Marttila, a survey specialist hired by the ADL, said at the group’s 2013 Centennial Meeting, in New York City on Thursday.

Speaking to ADL leaders from around the country, Marttila, the principal of Marttila Communications Group, said the results of this year’s survey correspond to lessening discrimination across the U.S., but those who profess Jew hate, continue to do so as a detailed analysis of the results shows.

Marttila said the broader societal change could be represented by the growing acceptance of homosexual marriage, for example, while changes in the demographics, including the passing of the older generation, as well as a much a higher percentage of native-born Hispanics, who, themselves, are often victims of discrimination, has had a tempering effect on the annual survey’s results.

Earlier, the ADL said this year’s survey showed that 12 per cent of Americans “harbor deeply entrenched anti-Semitic attitudes” in 2013, down from 15 per cent in 2011 and compared to 29 per cent in 1964, when the first survey was conducted. The survey was taken earlier this month by calling 1,200 adults, with 40% reached over their cellphones, reflecting changes in behavior so as to guarantee that the sample mirrored the broader population.

“Haters hate; they don’t just hate Jews, they hate a whole range of cohorts,” Marttila said, aligning with other surveys that show hatred of Jews goes inline with broader prejudices in a society. He also said that, since the first ADL survey in 1964, the education system in America has taught two generations about accepting minorities, and the results bear fruit of that change.

Answering a question about the role of religion in American society, Marttila said his research showed an interesting paradox.

“Americans want it both ways. They want a separation of church and state, but want more religion in our lives,” Marttila said.

The survey results were based on a list of 11 questions formulated by the ADL for its first survey. Respondents are asked if they agree with the following list of statements eluding to typical anti-Semitic canards:

1. Jews stick together more than other Americans.

2. Jews always like to be at the head of things.

3. Jews are more loyal to Israel than America.

4. Jews have too much power in the U.S. today.

5. Jews have too much control and influence on Wall Street.

6. Jews have too much power in the business world.

7. Jews have a lot of irritating faults.

8. Jews are more willing than others to use shady practices to get what they want.

9. Jewish business people are so shrewd that others don’t have a fair chance at competition.

10. Jews don’t care what happens to anyone but their own kind.

11. Jews are (not) just as honest as other business people.

In 2013, 52% agreed with 0-1 of the statements, meaning they were “essentially free” of anti-Semitic views; 33% agreed with 2-5 of the statements, meaning they were neither prejudiced or unprejudiced; and 12% agreed with 6 or more of the 11 statements.

Marttila said fears over Jewish power in society drive anti-Semitism in the U.S., based on the answers provided by respondents who agreed with six or more of the statements. He said 78% of them agreed with 6, about Jews and business power, 69% agreed with 5, about Jews and Wall Street, and 64% agreed with 4, about the power of Jews in the U.S.

He said that since the original 1964 survey about 30% of respondents believe in 3, that Jews have more loyalty to Israel than the U.S.

An extra question asked respondents to answer which of five lobbying organizations have the most influence on American government policy. The Oil Lobby was seen to have the most influence, chosen by 28% of respondents, followed by Big Pharma, with 24%, the National Rifle Association, with 22%, the Tobacco Indsutry, with 5% and the Pro-Israel Lobby, with only 4% of respondents choosing it as the most powerful among the five.

11 Comments

  • PHIL FEINGERSH

    most anti-semitism is of inborn nature, heard from parents and “friends”. It has no legitimatfe reason to even exist. Jews are not blooidthirstgy Arabs.. -But lies are plentiful apparantly..

  • Shalom-Hillel

    I don’t like these questions. I think they themselves are introducing anti-Semitic ideas. Many of them can be turned around and most Jews would agree with them, e.g., Jews stick together more than other Americans = the Jewish community believes in self-help; or Jews always like to be the head of things = Jews are ambitious and successful.
    What these questions are doing is putting a negative spin on Jewish qualities. What if these were all framed positively and people agreed with them? Would we say philo-Semitism is increasing? Or is the very concept of “Jewish qualities” anti-Semitic now?
    Of course, there IS anti-Semitism, but these questions are poorly conceived.
    As someone else suggested, come up with better questions.

    • You are spot on with your assessment.The questions stereotype Jews
      Let the questions refer to Jews, Muslims etc. for a more accurate response

  • I agree with Alter. The questions themselves induce the respondents to agree with the stereotype presented.

    When people agree with up to 5 stereotypes, I would NOT call them “neutral, not prejudiced”.

    This survey is underestimating the animosity against Jews. Also it is well known that when people are viscerally against Israel or male ritual circumcision at an early age (which affects only Judaism) or even Kashrut, the underlying reason is they dislike Jews and their ways.

  • Daniel Birnbaum

    Alter is right (but it’s ‘disloyalty’, not ‘unloyalty’). The Pew Institute and Sofres-Taylor surveys are better measures of anti-Semitism. This ADL survey omits to ask Americans whether they believe that Jews killed Christ. A whopping 30% of those surveyed elsewhere circa 2006 answered yes. At least the ADL appears finally to have dropped the ambiguous question: “Jews spend too much time talking about the Holocaust”.

    The main trouble with the ADL is its refusal to compare American and French anti-Semitism on a large scale, out of fear that American anti-Semitism would score worse (it has already happened). This is bad for the ADL, because its fund-raising is predicated on the (false)claim that the French need education: a Sofres-Taylor poll has shown that 95% of French respondents would ALREADY consult a Jewish doctor, 92% would ALREADY work for a Jewish boss, and 87% would ALREADY welcome a Jew into their family. — Daniel Birnbaum, Paris.

    • Algemeiner Staff

      Actually, both of those questions were included in the 2013 survey.

      The ADL said 26% of all Americans agreed that, “Jews were responsible for the death of Christ.” Of those respondents who were classified in the anti-Semitic category (6+) the percentage was 57%.

      For the statement, “Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust,” 24% agreed, overall, and 66% for those in the anti-Semitic category (6+).

  • I’m far from being an analyst, but I question the wording of some of the questions, and whether or not that affected the outcome of the survey.

  • As a general rule, we should perhaps take with “a grain of salt” results elicited by a pollster asking respondents to opine about abstract matters, mostly beyond their personal experience. The more the question is about abstract matters distant from the respondent’s personal experience, the less accurate and relevant the result.

    Examples of more concrete questions closer to home would be:

    “Would you object to a close family member marrying a Jew?” The respondent evidently knows himself, his close family, the notion of marriage and perhaps also something about Jews.

    “Would you consider voting for a Jewish candidate in an election for Governor of your State?” Here, the respondent is likely to be familiar with himself, voting, elections, his State, the Governorship, and perhaps also Jews.

  • The questions are compromised with inductive reasoning asserting negative views of communitarianism, arrivism, unloyalty, greed etc. as most likely true and without evidence.

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