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2019 Annual Assessment

Although still only a peripheral phenomenon of the conservative backlash against globalization and political liberalism, the Alt-Right phenomenon is a source of significant anxiety among Jews. But there are at least three questions that did not yet get a clear answer on the significance of this group.

  1. Is the Alt-Right a transitory fringe phenomenon or the beginning of a cultural backlash that will endanger 70 years of Jewish prosperity and successful social integration in America?
  2. Can white supremacists inculcate anti-Semitism in the white, blue-collar masses suffering the effects of economic globalization by scapegoating the Jews and other minority groups?
  3. Is there a tacit support of political elites (including the current occupant of the White House) for this group that includes a willingness to ignore anti-Semitic tendencies?

Nobody currently knows the answer to the three questions posed above, so our role will be, to provide an integrated methodology for assessing American anti-Semitism, similar to the one we have for Europe. Given the inherent differences, we will keep US and European analyses separate.

The integrated index illustrates the fact that both anti-Semitic incidents and anxiety among American Jews concerning anti-Semitism is on the rise. As we follow the evolution of the index for the US and gather reliable data regarding the feelings of the Jews regarding anti-Semitism, we will hopefully be able to elaborate concrete directions for action.

JPPI’s integrated Anti-Semitism Index has three dimensions:

Dimension 1: Public opinion toward Jews.

Dimension 2: Anti-Semitic incidents of different sorts (extreme violence, assault, damage and desecration of Jewish property, threats, abusive behavior, literature), including online harassment.

Dimension 3: Anti-Semitism as perceived by Jews.
There is data for the first dimension (ADL and Pew reports) and for the second one. Regarding the third dimension, which relates to the degree of anxiety among American Jews, systematic data is still missing. Inspired by the work of the European Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), JPPI has launched in May 2019 a limited Delphi consultation with 180 rabbis and communal leaders in the United States to collect their perceptions about the rise of anti-Semitism in their vicinity and its possible impact on the communal life.

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