File footage: Antisemitism | Swastika graffiti
File footage: Antisemitism | Swastika graffitiiStock

A new survey released on Thursday by ADL (the Anti-Defamation League) found widespread belief in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and tropes, with twenty percent of respondents admitting to holding such views, nearly double the number in a previous survey conducted by ADL in 2019. A significant number of those surveyed also expressed anti-Israel sentiments.

The poll covered a representative sample of more than 4,000 U.S. adults who were asked to describe the extent to which they agreed with various statements concerning anti-Jewish tropes. Twenty percent of respondents – corresponding to 66 million people when extrapolated to the entire population – agreed with six or more of the 11 anti-Jewish statements commonly used since 1964.

Among the findings: 39 percent of respondents believe that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the United States; 20 percent say Jews have “too much power” in the United States; 21 percent agree that Jews “don’t care about anyone other than themselves”; and 53 percent say that Jews will go out of their way to hire other Jews. These findings reveal substantial belief in anti-Jewish tropes – such as those promoting the idea that Jews are too powerful, selfish, foreign, and clannish.

“Those of us on the front lines have expected such results for a while now – and yet the data are still stunning and sobering: there is an alarming increase in antisemitic views and hatred across nearly every metric — at levels unseen for decades,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, ADL's CEO. “From Pittsburgh to Charlottesville to the near-daily harassment of Jews in our greatest cities, anti-Semitic beliefs lead to violence. I hope this survey is a wake-up call to the entire country.”

ADL also asked respondents to describe the extent to which they agreed with anti-Israel beliefs and found a high number of Americans harbor extremely negative views in this area. The poll found that 23 percent of respondents believe that Israel gets away with "anything" and "controls" the media; a further 18 percent of respondents said they were uncomfortable spending time with pro-Israel people.

“These anti-Israel beliefs are not commentary on Israeli government policies,” Greenblatt said. “They are anti-Semitism in another form.”

Additional findings include:

Three percent of the population believes every one of the 11 tropes respondents were asked about, which might seem small but adds up to approximately 10 million Americans -- many more than the total number of Jews in the United States.

Younger adults (under 30 years of age) hold significantly more negative sentiment toward Israel and its supporters than older adults.

There was greater belief in anti-Jewish tropes among young adults (ages 18-30) than in prior research. While younger adults have modestly lower rates of believing in tropes than older Americans, this difference is far less than previously observed. For example, in 1992, ADL found a 19-percentage point gap between the opinions of those under 40 and those over 40. Indeed, one of that study’s major findings was that “the steady influx of younger, more tolerant Americans into the adult population” had led to an overall decrease in anti-Semitism.

While young adults show less belief in anti-Jewish tropes (18% believe six or more tropes) than older adults (20%), the difference is substantially less than that measured in previous studies. Additionally, young adults hold significantly more anti-Israel sentiment than older adults, with 21 percent as opposed to 11 percent agreeing with five or more anti-Israel statements.

“As concerning as these findings are, they also provide helpful direction for developing more effective interventions to fight various types of anti-Semitism,” Greenblatt said. “We plan to work with our partners from other Jewish community and civil rights organizations to refine strategies for addressing the root causes of anti-Jewish hate.”

“This survey is perhaps the most in-depth study of Jewish hate in the U.S. ever conducted, garnering input from a diverse expert panel in its conception. It included in-depth hour-long one-on-one interviews with over 100 Americans, and also nearly 4,200 interviews via a comprehensive survey,” said David Dutwin, Senior Vice President with NORC at the University of Chicago. “It is fully representative of the U.S. and leverages state of the art survey techniques to generate the most honest and unbiased views of the American public possible.”

Since 1964, ADL has regularly conducted a nationally representative survey examining attitudes toward Jews. ADL and NORC, in partnership with the One8 Foundation, have updated this survey to examine anti-Semitism more holistically. In addition to analyzing Americans’ belief in classic anti-Jewish tropes, this survey also evaluated sentiment toward the State of Israel.

The survey was conducted online during September and October 2022. It includes a weighted, representative sample of 4,007 respondents from the NORC AmeriSpeak panel. The margin of error is +\- 2.06 percentage points. This is the first of several reports ADL plans to release based on this survey of U.S. anti-Semitic attitudes; future research will focus on population subgroups and other topics.