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Anti-Semitism on the decline, study finds

antidefamation league

November 23, 1998
Web posted at: 11:57 p.m. EST (0457 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) says anti- Semitic attitudes in the United States have declined, according to poll results released Monday.

"The number of Americans who hold strongly anti-Semitic views has dropped from 20 percent to 12 percent since 1992, the last time that the Anti-Defamation League measured the attitudes," says Abraham Foxman, ADL national director.

However, Foxman says he is deeply troubled by the extent of anti-Semitic attitudes held by African Americans. The African-American community has seen a very small percentage decrease in strong anti-Semitic attitudes, according to the survey.

In 1998, the study found, 34 percent of African Americans held these attitudes, compared with 37 percent in 1992.

Because of such a steep decline in the general population, says Foxman, this percentage makes African Americans nearly four times -- 34 percent -- as likely as whites -- 9 percent -- to fall into the most anti-Semitic category.

Foxman called the Nation of Islam's Louis Farrakhan the "Pied Piper of hate," and says he and others who spread a similar message are to blame.

Foxman admits he doesn't know why a discrepancy of white and black attitudes about Jews exist, but he said as a society, we can't ignore it.

"Until we as a society do not develop a vaccine against bigotry or race or prejudice or anti-Semitism, the only thing we will have to embrace and encourage and to advocate is greater education, greater levels of education, greater sensitivity to differences," he said.

Attitudes changing

The study, a national poll of 999 American adults, found slightly more than one-in-10 Americans embrace a wide range of stereotypes about Jews, including that "Jews have too much power" and "Jews are more loyal to Israel than America."

This is a decline from the 20 percent of Americans found to have such views in 1992. Those who are the most anti-Semitic are older -- over 65 years of age and have a high-school education or less. The study found people under 40 and those with a college education were least likely to hold anti-Semitic attitudes.

The survey also found more and more Americans reject the charge that Jews have too much control of the media and Hollywood.

The proportion of Americans who believe that "Jews have too much influence over the American news media" is down to 12 percent from 17 percent in 1992. The study also found the public overwhelmingly rejects the notion that programming decisions of network executives are influenced by the fact that they might be Jewish.

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