Anti-Semitism on the rise in U.S.
The Anti-Defamation League says anti-Semitic sentiment has seen a small but significant rise over the past two years in America. (Photo: Reuters)

According to the 2011 Survey of American Attitudes Toward Jews in America, conducted by the Anti-Defamation League, there has been a slight but significant increase in the proportion of Americans expressing anti-Semitic prejudices since 2009.

The results show that 15 per cent of American adults - nearly 35 million people - hold deeply anti-Semitic views. This is a 3 per cent increase from a similar poll conducted in 2009. The ADL drew on data gathered from a telephone survey of 1,754 adults between Oct. 13 and Oct. 23. The margin of error for the results is estimated to be around +/-2.8 per cent.

"The fact that anti-Semitic attitudes have increased significantly over the past two years is troubling and raises questions about the impact of broader trends in America - financial insecurity, social uncertainty, the decline in civility and the growth of polarization - on attitudes toward Jews," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.

"It is disturbing that with all of the strides we have made in becoming a more tolerant society, anti-Semitic beliefs continue to hold a vice-grip on a small but not insubstantial segment of the American public," he added.

The findings suggest that age-old stereotypes about Jews and money still persist well into the 21st century. 19 per cent of respondents answered "probably true" to the statement that "Jews have too much control/influence on Wall Street." This is an increase of 14 per cent from 2009.

The study also found that 31 per cent of Americans believed Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus Christ.

"The sterotypes about Jews and money endure, and the fact that more Americans are now accepting these statements about Jews as true suggests that the downturn in the economy, along with the changing demographics of our society, may have contributed to the rise in anti-Semitic sentiments," said Mr. Foxman.

"Once again the old anti-Semitic standbys about Jewish loyalty, the death of Jesus and Jewish power remain strong."

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 "to stop the defamation of the Jewish people" and professes to be America's "premier civil rights/human relations agency."