AJC survey: 4 in 10 American Jews felt less secure last year, higher than in 2021


WASHINGTON (JTA) — Four in ten American Jews felt less secure in 2022 than they did in 2021, according to an American Jewish Committee survey, a 10-percentage point rise from when the same question was asked a year earlier.

The proportion of American Jews who said they feel less secure was roughly the same as in 2020, according to the survey.

A separate AJC survey found that the percentage of Americans generally who say antisemitism is a problem is also increasing.

The survey released Monday, conducted from Sept. 23-Nov.8, 2022, asked Jewish identified respondents whether they feel more or less secure than a year ago, or the same. The portion of respondents who replied less secure was 41%; those feeling that their status was about as secure were 55% and those feeling more secure were 4%.

Asked to account for what fed the perception of being less secure, this who responded that way listed a perceived rise in antisemitic attacks and violence (27%), the sense that antisemitism and racism are more overt and accepted (27%) and the perceived rise of white supremacist groups (17%), among other factors.

The survey was underway already when, in mid-October, the influential rapper and designer Kanye West launched an antisemitic spree of comments and activity, starting on social media but continuing offline.

The percentage of those feeling less secure in the same survey in 2021 was 31%. The percentage in 2020 was 43%.

The separate survey of Americans generally found that 68% of respondents saw antisemitism in 2022 as a serious problem, up from 60% in 2021. In the survey of Jews, 89% said antisemitism was a serious problem in 2022, virtually the same as the 90% who responded that way in 2021.

The Jewish American study reached 1,507 respondents and was conducted by a mix of modes, with 1,020 taking part in a self-administered online survey and 487 reached by phone. It had a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.

The survey of U.S. adults reached 1,004 respondents through a web survey, conducted Oct. 10-18, 2022, around the same time the Kanye West controversy was making headlines. It had a margin of error of 3.8 percentage points.