The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has released a study this morning that shows a revival of antisemitism in the U.S. Twenty percent of the U.S. population (based on a sample of 4,000 people in September and October 2022) holds strong antisemitic views, up from 11 percent in 2019.
Here are a few of the dozen perceptions that the American public believes about its fellow citizens who happen to be Jews:
- American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to America — 39 percent
- Jews always like to be the head of things — 38 percent
- Jews do not share my values — 36 percent
- Jews have too much power in the business world — 26 percent
- Jews have too much control on Wall Street — 24 percent
- Jews have too much power in the U.S. today — 20 percent
The views of age cohorts tend to be quite similar. Eighteen percent of the 18–30-year-old cohort believed six or more of the statements, and 40 percent believes two to five of the dozen statements about Jews. Among those 31 and older, 20 percent believed six or more statements, 41 percent believe two to five of the statements. An expert interviewed for an article in The Washington Post conclude that “Younger people are much closer to what older people think, a cultural shift fed by technology and social media,” said Prof. Ilana Horwitz of Tulane University.
There is one stunning finding; antisemitism in the classic “conspiratorial sense” is more widespread than anti-Israel sentiment, according to the ADL. Ninety percent of Americans agree that Israel has the right to defend itself and nearly 80 percent agree that Israel is a strong ally of the U.S. in the Middle East.
I spoke with my Rabbi, David Ingber, who runs Romemu and double hats at the 92nd St. Y as head of Jewish Life, about what to do. According to Rabbi Ingber, “we need to stop the “othering” of Jews, to combat these century-old tropes. We are hated for almost every reason; it defies our desire to understand it. What we must do is to continue to call out Jew hatred. We also need others to speak up for us.”
I also spoke with Jon Temerlies, who oversees one of our local faith-based employee groups. As part of our own Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) efforts, Edelman has just launched Uplift, a faith-based employee resource group open to colleagues around the globe. The business community has not traditionally, addressed issues of religion in the workplace. And while we may note upcoming religious holidays and provide a floating holiday that can be used for religious observances, in Jon’s view (and I agree), we have not spoken up as much on religion as we have on race, sexual orientation or other areas. “We need to take all three of these streams equally seriously, so that an Edelman employee) is comfortable wearing a kipa or a hijab to work.”
I have expressed my views on other forms of racism; now you will hear my voice as a proud Jewish-American on this all-important issue. I hope that other Jewish executives will also recognize that the time for “family hold-back” is over, and that we need to demand equal treatment. The DEI programs in corporate America need to incorporate religion, and business must ensure adequate resources to drive real support for employees and societal change. Next week, I will unveil the 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer in Davos. My main theme is that Business must continue to be a vital part of improving society, stepping into the void left by a paralyzed and incompetent Government sector. This is smart business, not woke delusion.
Richard Edelman is CEO.