American Jews say others face more discrimination

October 24, 2013

 

American Jews say they face discrimination in the U.S., but they see Muslims, gays and blacks facing far more.

This and other findings from the recently released Pew Research Center’s landmark study on Jewish Americans help make the case that Jews — once unwelcome in many a neighborhood, university and golf club — now find themselves an accepted minority.

“While there are still issues, American Jews live in a country where they feel they are full citizens,” said Kenneth Jacobson, deputy national director of the Anti-Defamation League, which was founded in 1913 to combat anti-Semitism.

“You have (Jewish) Ivy League presidents in schools that used to have Jewish quotas,” he said.

Most American Jews are descendants of the great migration of Jews to the U.S. from 1880 to 1920. Today, they make up little more than 2 percent of the population, but their influence is outsized. Jews make up 10 percent of the U.S. Senate, and they lead major cities, corporations, philanthropies and arts organizations.

Anti-Semitism has most certainly waned in the U.S.

Seventy-two percent of American Jews surveyed believe that Muslims face “a lot” of discrimination in the U.S., and the same percentage said gays and lesbians face such levels of bigotry. Slightly fewer — 64 percent — said blacks face such prejudice.

“One way of looking at these numbers is to say that Jews perceive a lot of discrimination against a whole bunch of groups in American life,” Cooperman said.

Reform Rabbi Rick Jacobs, head of the largest movement of Judaism in North America, called Jews’ perceptions of prejudice against others “inspiring.”

“Because of our somewhat painful history of persecution, we have a deep sensitivity to the suffering of others,” he said.

Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the Pew numbers reflect the reality of “an increasing Islamophobia in American society today.”

Islam is the least favorably viewed of four U.S. religions in a 2010 Gallup poll, with nearly a third (31 percent) of Americans saying their feelings about Islam were “not favorable at all.”

 

Religion News Service: http://www.religionnews.com/2013/10/24/american-jews-say-others-face-discrimination/