Pollster: ADL Anti-Semitism Survey Reflects Growing Tolerance for All Minorities, But Anti Jewish Prejudices Persist
by Joshua Levitt
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 inï¬‚uence 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.