Revealed: Survey shows nearly three-quarters of American Jews feel increasingly threatened and 60% blame Trump and his handling of antisemitism attacks
- Some 73% of Jewish voters in the U.S. feel that American Jews are less safe than they were two years ago, according to a new survey by Greenberg Research
- Seven-in-ten disapprove of how Trump has handled antisemitism – including recent synagogue shootings according to the poll of 1,000 Jewish voters
- Nearly 60% of U.S. Jews say Trump bears at least partial responsibility for recent attacks on synagogues, with 1,879 antisemitic incidents nationwide last year
Nearly three quarters (73 percent) of Jewish voters in the U.S. feel that American Jews are less safe than they were two years ago – and many blame Trump’s response to a recent surge in antisemitism, according to a new survey.
A majority (71 percent) of Jewish voters disapprove of how Trump has handled antisemitism – including recent synagogue shootings, according to the poll of 1,000 Jewish voters by Greenberg Research on behalf of the Jewish Electorate Institute.
The poll comes as the Jewish community has been increasingly under siege, with a surge in anti-Semitic attacks in the past two years, according to annual audits of such incidents by the Anti-Defamation League.
Last year the ADL identified 1,879 antisemitic incidents in the U.S., including 1,066 cases of harassment, 774 incidents of vandalism and 39 physical assaults.
This graph shows the shifting number of antisemitic attacks in America from 1979-2018. Source: Anti-Defamation League
‘(Among) Jewish Americans, generally there’s a great deal of anxiety,’ said Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO and national director of ADL.
‘We’ve seen an increase in in-your-face antisemitism which is altogether alarming,’ he told DailyMail.com. ‘In addition to the real world antisemitism … You’ve seen an explosion in antisemitism online. And the Jewish stereotypes and slander on social media is staggering.’
Nearly 60 percent of U.S. Jews think that Trump bears at least partial responsibility for the recent targeted attacks on synagogues.
‘We have a Jewish community, not under siege, but facing great insecurity, blaming President Trump for a lot of it, becoming very engaged and politicized by it, and prioritizing a range of domestic issues that align them to vote Democratic in 2020,’ pollster Stan Greenberg told the Religion News Service.
Trump recently came out to strongly condemn an anti-Semitic cartoon in The New York Times, and to express his condolences for victims of the recent synagogue shooting in Poway, California.
‘Our entire nation mourns the loss of life, prays for the wounded and stands in solidarity with the Jewish Community,’ Trump said at a campaign rally in Green Bay Wisconsin.
‘We forcefully condemn the evil of antisemitism and hate, which must be defeated,’ he added.
Trump’s remarks came as GOP leaders are seeking to capture more of the Jewish vote, which has historically gone to Democrats.
Earlier this month, major Republican donors gathered at a Las Vegas resort for a briefing on a $10 million or more effort to increase support for Trump, according to Politico.
However, critics have said Trump’s support for the Jewish community is inconsistent, given his comments following the 2017 white nationalist march in Charlottesville, Virginia.
At the time, he characterized anti-Semitic demonstrations – including marchers who chanted ‘Jews will not replace us’ – as a ‘small group of people’ who do not pose a ‘rising threat.’
Trump does have significant support from Orthodox Jews, who account for roughly 10 percent of the U.S. Jewish population.
However, some Democratic members of Congress have recently had to apologize for antisemitic and anti-Zionist comments and tweets and many American Jews are not sure where their interests will be best protected, politically, Greenblatt said.
‘I think they feel alarmed and inside their hearts I think they feel some degree of confusion,’ he said. ‘We’ve seen in the political process anti-Semitic extremism almost creep in and be normalized. It comes from both sides of the political spectrum.’
‘The Jewish people are trying to make sense of where is the Democratic Party? Where is the Republican Party? Jewish people are trying to make sense of it all,’ Greenblatt added.
In this April 28, 2019 file photo, a San Diego county sheriff’s deputy stands in front of the Poway Chabad Synagogue in Poway, California. A gunman attacked the synagogue last week, firing his semi-automatic rifle at Passover worshippers
The FBI has more than 850 open investigations into domestic terrorism across the country, including white supremacists and citizens who are anti-government, top counterterrorism officials said earlier this month.
And much like foreign terrorists, domestic terrorists are radicalizing quickly online with few gateways or barriers and no need to meet up in person.
‘There’s a lot of hate out there on the internet,’ said Mike McGarrity, the FBI’s top counterterrorism official during testimony given before a congressional committee on homegrown hate and violence.
Officials cautioned lawmakers they could not prosecute a white supremacist simply for the ideology or an online manifesto – there must be intent to harm or harass.
In April, a gunman killed a woman and wounded an 8-year-old girl, her uncle and a rabbi at Chabad of Poway, a Southern California synagogue.
McGarrity said there were six deadly domestic terrorism attacks in 2018, and five in 2017. Of the hundreds of open FBI investigations, about half were anti-government cases and around 40 percent were related to race or religion.
‘That mobilization to violence is much quicker’ than in the past, McGarrity said, adding that anyone ‘can go on the internet and find content that justifies what you want to do.’