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10 Nov, 2011 00:25

Is America anti-Semitic?

Across the world, November 9 is recognized as the International Day Against Anti-Semitism and Fascism. It was on that day in 1938 that Nazi forces first began their campaign against Jews and started what would become the holocaust.

More than 70 years later though, are the sentiments held by the Nazi regime substantially apparent?According to a just-released poll from the National Anti-Defamation League, 15 percent of Americans today harbor anti-Semitic feelings. Abraham Foxman, national director of the ADL, told RT that while that statistic pales in comparison to the results of a survey from a few years ago in Russia (where a similar study returned a figure of 44 percent), the latest results domestically show an increase in prejudice since the last study was conducted. To get the figure today, the ADL offered up a survey of 11 questions asking Americans for their opinions on Jews. Foxman says that if someone answers six or seven of those questions, which quiz the sample on things such as if they think Jews are too powerful or if Jews killed Christ, they will chalk-up their responses as anti-Semitic. “If you answered those questions consistently, you got a problem and your problem is with Jews,” said Foxman.The index that the ADL uses today has been in place for 40 years and Foxman says it is pretty solid. “I think it’s a pretty accurate description of characterization and attitude and we’ve been able to monitor them,” he said. Analysis shows, however, that when compared to only three years ago, anti-Semitism in America has increased. The last time they conducted the poll, the figure yielded a statistic of only 12 percent.“Percentage wise it is small, but it means million of more Americans are anti-Semitic today,” said Foxman.While an increase is evident, it is a welcoming change from sentiments from years earlier. In the 60s, said Foxman, approximately 30 percent of America was affected with anti-Semitism. Figures have been on the decline in the decades since, and Foxman noted, “the most serious element is the fact that all of a sudden its up again.”“I think every time there’s economic instability, social instability — anytime people aren’t happy, anxious about the present or future — they look for scapegoats,” said Foxman. “Jews,” he added, “have been a convenient scapegoat throughout the ages, and money and Jews is a convenient stereotype throughout the years. And so when we see economic instability, when we see anxiety . . . they look to blame somebody and Jews have been blamed throughout the ages.”Foxman added to RT that the growing concern with Americans that the Jews are responsible for American foreign policy is baseless. “To say that the Israel lobby controls American foreign policy and government is another stereotype,” he said. “If you talk about the Israel lobby, what about the oil lobby? What about foreign lobbies? They exist.”“It’s part of the democratic system of lobbying,” said Foxman.“What makes all of these countries right and the United States wrong or Israel wrong?” he asked. “In an open society, if you agree, if you don’t agree, that doesn’t make you right or you are wrong.”Be that as it may, around one-in-six Americans answered the questions with enough prejudice that the ADL warrants it as anti-Semitism. Even if those Americans think that their sentiments they may hold don’t make them bigoted, Foxman says it is really all it takes. “If you quack like a duck, if you act like a duck, you’re a duck,” said Foxman.