Poll: Roughly half of U.S. Jews changing behavior because of antisemitism

New AJC survey finds a quarter of American Jewish adults say they have personally experienced antisemitism, 63% say they feel less safe; results unsurprising but still 'shocking,' CEO Ted Deutch says

Roughly half of American Jewish adults say they have changed their behavior, including where they go or what they wear, out of their fear of antisemitism. A quarter of U.S. Jews have personally experienced targeted antisemitism. And nearly two-thirds (63%) say that American Jews are less secure now than they were a year ago. 

Those were some of the findings of a survey released Tuesday morning by the American Jewish Committee, which measured attitudes on antisemitism both within and outside of the Jewish community. 

The findings were unsurprising but still “shocking,” AJC CEO Ted Deutch told eJewishPhilanthropy

“The fact that over 60% of Jewish adults feel less secure living in America than they did before, says this is a problem for all of America, not just the Jewish community,” Deutch said. “Big picture is that what had been an enormous challenge for our community already has become a five-alarm fire, and it requires everyone to do something about it.” 

The results are a compilation of data from two surveys. The AJC’s fifth annual survey of 1,528 American Jews was initially conducted on Oct. 5, 2023, with the goal of fully launching the following week; however, fieldwork was paused when Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7. 

In response to the attack, and the subsequent increase of antisemitism and anti-Israel activity nationwide, especially on college campuses, the questionnaire was adjusted to add survey items to measure awareness of the terrorist attacks and the impact of those attacks on feelings of safety in the U.S. The revised survey ran from Oct. 7- Nov. 21, 2023. 

The second survey was of U.S. adults, collected from a nationally representative sample of 1,223 Americans over age 18. Data for this companion survey were collected from Oct.17-24, 2023.

The report found a certain disconnect between younger American Jews (18-29) compared to adults over 30. Forty-four percent of the younger demographic said antisemitism is a very serious problem in the U.S., while 55% of those over 30 reported the same.

Overall, 53% of respondents said antisemitism in the U.S. is a very serious problem, compared with 43% who said the same in 2022.

The 2023 survey repeated and added to a section from last year’s survey examining the continued increase of antisemitism on college campuses — which was climbing even before Oct. 7. One in five (20%) respondents with recent or current college experience said they have felt or been excluded from a group or an event on campus because they are Jewish, nearly double the share from 2022 (12%).