Sunday, November 22, 2020

Anti-Semitism in the USA Today- A Conversation with Richard Hirschhaut of the American Jewish Committee


On November 21, I held a discussion with Richard Hirschhaut at our Shabbat Service on the results of the recent survey on Anti-Semitism in the USA today.

This is the link to our discussion on Facebook and You Tube.:The discussion begins at 1 and 1/2 hours into the video.

Facebook link

You Tube link

About the speaker:

Richard Hirschhaut, Director of American Jewish Committee Los Angeles

Richard has appeared for us at the High Holy Days and in the summer. He is chief strategist and principal spokesperson in advancing AJC’s global advocacy mission in Southern California. AJC is considered the “dean of American Jewish organizations.” He has been involved for over 30 years in civil rights, humanitarian, and Jewish communal advocacy, serving in senior professional roles across the U.S. with the Anti-Defamation League, Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and American Friends of Rambam Medical Center.



Below is a summary of the issues we discussed, together with excerpts from statistics from the AJC as well as the FBI reports.

1)        1)  How did you get your responses- How could you determine that it reflected a broad enough body of US public- even the election polls were off by a good amount?


2)    2): Who worries about anti-Semitism

AcAccording to  the survey


                           A Problem             Not a Problem 

American Jews  88%                    11%

General Public  62%                   33%

Asked about increase over past 5 years

 Increased        Stayed the same         Decreased 

American Jews  82%*     3%

General Public  43%         39%       14%

I can understand this- after all, we have the targets on our backs, not our neighbors. Still, 62% are aware that it is a problem.

3) This question was worrisome:

To what extent, if at all, do you think the Democratic Party/Republican Party holds anti-Semitic views?

 Democratic Party

                                A lot/Some             Not much/at all             Don't know/refused

 American Jews               37%                           61%                     2%

General Public                42%                           54%                     5%


Republican Party

A lot/Some                      Not much/at all            Don't know/refused  

American Jews  69%             28%                              3% 

General Public  52%              43%                               5%


I see a strange disconnect between the way we as Jews view each party and the way the broader public sees. More broad public see anti- Semitism in Democrats than we Jews, and more Jews see anti-Semitism in Republicans than does broader public. 

Also- I thought it was a strange choice of words- the question is about the party as a whole, rather than “many members are”  or “ most members are”.?



 4)    FBI stats on hate crimes-

We Jews are prime targets of religious based hate crimes. While media has been warning of Islamophobia, we are the favorites targets still. Also, Arabs were rarely victims, against despite supposedly anti- Muslim attitudes. Also, as I see it, the perpetrators of hate are not limited to one ethnicity or race:

 Religious bias (Based on Table 1.)

Of the 1,715 victims of anti-religious hate crimes:

§  60.2 percent were victims of crimes motivated by offenders’ anti-Jewish bias.

§  13.2 percent were victims of anti-Islamic (Muslim) bias.

§  3.8 percent were victims of anti-Catholic bias.

§  3.8 percent were victims of anti-Other Christian bias.

§  3.5 percent were victims of anti-Sikh bias.

§  Rest divided among Eastern Orthodox,Protestant,Mormon,Jehovah’s Witness,Hindu,Atheist/Agnostic bias,Buddhist,  other religions

Racial/ethnicity/ancestry bias (Based on Table 1.)

Among single-bias hate crime incidents in 2019, there were 4,930 victims of race/ethnicity/ancestry motivated hate crime.

§  48.5 percent anti-Black or African American bias.

§  15.7 percent anti-White bias.

§  14.1 percent anti-Hispanic or Latino bias.

§  4.4 percent anti-Asian bias.

§  3.5 percent anti-multiple races, group

§  2.7 percent anti-American Indian or Alaska Native bias.

§  2.6 percent anti-Arab bias.

§  0.5 percent anti-Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander bias.

§  8.0 percent anti-Other Race/Ethnicity/Ancestry bias.


Known Offenders-

    • Of the 6,406 known offenders, 52.5% were white, and 23.9% were Black or African American. Other races accounted for the remaining known offenders: 1.1% were American Indian or Alaska Native, 0.9% were Asian, 0.3% were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and 6.6% were of a group of multiple races. The race was unknown for 14.6%.
    • Of the 5,443 known offenders for whom ethnicity was reported, 33.1% were Not Hispanic or Latino, 10% were Hispanic or Latino, and 1.9% were in a group of multiple ethnicities. Ethnicity was unknown for 55.0% of these offenders.

4)    5) What’s happening to Jewish kids on campuses?

W While we expect anti-Semitism from the lower income-frustrated  classes, we see signs of increasing acceptance of anti-Semitism among higher income, better educated as well. This was question prompted by the recent blow up over anti-Semitic attacks at USC on the student body president. Further incidents I mentioned below reinforce the concern:

See this recent release( on Allgemeiner): 

"A California high school that has been plagued by antisemitic activity was in the spotlight again in Friday after its principal revealed that students had been subjected to another wave of offensive social media posts, including Holocaust denial, homophobic epithets and threats of rape.

In an email to parents earlier this week, David Sondheim — principal of Redwood High School in Marin County —  said that the most recent social media posts “targeted our Jewish students and families with hateful messages including references to false claims the Holocaust never happened, rape and homophobia. The accounts also followed Jewish students and asked Jewish students to follow the accounts.”

Marin county is ultra-liberal- 82 % Biden- so in the heart of upscale, upper income, liberal bastion! There was also the incidents of a principal of a Florida High School who had denied parents requests for programming on the Holocaust because there were doubts about its historicity . ( He was fired and then reinstated!) Can one imagine the outcry if a principal had said he would not have programs about Civil Rights or slavery because there were doubts!( The principal in point is African-American!).


 Link to AJC survey




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