Rise of Jew-Hatred in America and Higher Ed: Disturbing Trend Dividing Americans


Antisemitism has emerged as a cultural trend in America, regrettably gaining popularity and acceptance in certain segments of society as something "trendy" and "cool." 

Shedding light on this, a recently conducted Gallup poll has gleaned that while there may be a large segment of the American population who believes antisemitism is an issue, the disconcerting fact remains that a clear-cut minority simply shrugs away the bleakness of it all.

Rise of Jew-Hatred in America: A Disturbing Trend Dividing Americans

(Photo : PEXELS / Karolina Kaboompics)

Gallup Poll Results: A House Divided

Gallup conducted a telephone survey between May 30 and June 1 and interviewed 1,019 adults aged 18 and over. The survey pointed to vast divisions regarding the public's perception of Jew-hatred:

  • 9% of respondents considered Jew-hatred a "very serious problem."
  • 48% viewed it as "somewhat of a problem."
  • 30% felt it was "not much of a problem."
  • 9% saw Jew-hatred as "not a problem at all."

The exact phrasing of the Gallup Poll query was: "In the United States, do you consider antisemitism, or bias against Jewish people, to be a very serious issue, somewhat of an issue, not much of an issue, or not an issue at all?" 

These results indicate that 60% of Americans perceive Jew-hatred as an issue, whereas 40% do not share this viewpoint. With a growing number of anti-Jewish incidents from coast to coast, this latter statistic is far too high. The disjunct would seem to indicate that a significant percentage of the population does not take seriously the larger impact these can have on American democracy and communal peace.

READ MORE: Columbia University Places Administrators On Leave Over Insensitive Text Messages During Antisemitism Panel 

External Influences Spreading Antisemitism

The inflow of antisemitic and antidemocratic ideologies goes empirically, along with the funding of American universities by Qatar. Such a strategic surge of evil ideas is highly threatening to democratic societies because it does damage not only to Jewish communities but also to principles of freedom and equality.

This impact is manifested in a thousand ways, beginning at rallies held on college campuses and extending to the desecration of Jewish property through hate crimes. This is not free speech but rather speech that violates federal and state statutes. US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes' ruling in Schenck v. United States establishes that certain actions, particularly those that endanger or provoke harm, are not shielded by free speech protections. Just as falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater is illegal, so too is incitement to hatred and violence against Jews.

Jew-Hatred in Higher Education

The antisemitism brewing in America has also invaded higher education, with antisemitic incidents reported on college campuses from one end of the country to the other. Foreign funding to universities-most usually tied to ideologies aimed against the "Jewish State" or Jews directly-presents an undeviating threat to academic freedom and the safety of Jewish students.

The influence of these ideologies not only undermines the inclusive educational environment universities strive to cultivate but also perpetuates discriminatory attitudes that contradict the principles of diversity and tolerance central to higher education. Addressing this issue requires universities to vigilantly uphold their values of inclusivity while safeguarding against external influences that seek to spread hatred and division among their student populations. 

The Way Forward: Unity Against Hate

There is something positive in the Gallup poll's findings, which reveal a rising number of antisemitic incidents. 89% of those polled would vote for a Jewish candidate for president if put forth by their party. This overwhelming majority indicates a broad base of goodwill toward Jewish Americans and that perpetrators of antisemitism are outliers rather than representative of mainstream America.

The majority has to fight in this battle against Jew-hatred against the antisemitic minority. Communities need to set red lines, and forces must work together, including friends, families, educators, mayors, politicians, police, and social media companies. The mobilization of movements to ostracize and denounce the haters can come through large campaigns on social media. With this, society can once again reach out for its lost moral compass and re-pledge its allegiance to justice and equality by making people who hate Jews feel out of place.

The battle against antisemitism isn't solely for the Jewish community; it's a struggle for the essence of America itself. When decent and good people, Jews and non-Jews, are standing up together, it is possible to rid our society of these dangers. Collective action is not only the best way but the only possible way towards a future that is safe, fair, and inclusive for all.

RELATED ARTICLE: Lafayette College Addresses Antisemitic Incidents Amid Free Speech Concerns 

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