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October 23, 2019 12:58 pm

Solid Majority of US Jews Disapprove of President Trump’s Handling of Rising Antisemitism, New Survey Reveals

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump pay their respects at a makeshift memorial outside the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Oct. 30, 2018. Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque.

Nearly three-quarters of US Jews disapprove of the manner in which President Donald Trump is responding to rising antisemitism on the domestic front, a new survey by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) revealed on Wednesday.

Asked whether they approved or disapproved of Trump’s handling of antisemitism in the US, 73 percent said they disapproved — 62 percent of them “strongly.” Those who approved of Trump’s stance accounted for 24 percent of the respondents to the AJC survey. Trump’s broader favorability rating in the same survey was just 22 percent.

Overall, the survey — published to coincide with the first anniversary of the massacre at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue, in which 11 people were murdered by a white supremacist gunman — showed near unanimous concern among American Jews that antisemitism was getting worse.

A total of 84 percent of respondents thought that antisemitism had increased in the US over the past five years. Nearly nine out of 10 respondents said they believed antisemitism was a problem, with 38 percent classifying it as a “very serious problem.”

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The AJC survey showed that a significant number of respondents blamed the two main political parties for the rise in antisemitism. Seventeen percent said they believed the Republicans shouldered “total responsibility” for the problem, with a full 60 percent holding the party as culpable to a significant degree. For the Democrats, the corresponding figures were six percent and 18 percent.

Most US Jews perceived the greatest threat to their security as emanating from the extreme right, but they are also aware of the dangers presented by the far left and Islamists. Some 89 percent said that white supremacists and neo-Nazis were a serious threat, with 85 percent agreeing that was also the case with Islamists and 64 percent saying the same as regards the far left.

The survey also showed that the great majority of US Jews had not personally experienced any antisemitism over the past five years. Asked whether they had faced a physical assault, only two per cent of respondents answered in the affirmative. However, that number rose precipitously when the question shifted to verbal and online abuse.

A total of 23 percent said they had been the target of antisemitic remarks in person, by mail or on the phone. A further 21 percent said they had received antisemitic insults on social media. According to the survey, three-quarters of these incidents went unreported to the police, local Jewish agencies, social media companies and other concerned parties.

Awareness of the varieties of antisemitism was also growing, the survey reported. Asked about the movement to boycott the State of Israel, 82 percent concurred that the BDS campaign was tainted by antisemitism, while 84 percent agreed that denying Israel’s right to exist was an antisemitic statement.

Asked about the “dual loyalty” trope — the assertion that American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the United States — 73 percent recognized it as an antisemitic smear. Meanwhile, a full 80 percent identified the claim that “Jewish money” was the main reason behind US support of Israel as antisemitic.

AJC said its survey was based on telephone interviews carried out Sept. 11-Oct. 6, with a national sample of 1,283 Jews over age 18. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.2%.

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