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November 23, 1990 - Image 120

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1990-11-23

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We need your help
to feed the hungry

Anti-Semitism Study
Finds A Down-Turn


Special to The Jewish News



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t is an issue that has been
subjected to much heated
debate, incorporating
everything from the lyrics of
popular rap groups to
statements on the status of
Palestinians made by
prominent politicians.
But what have been miss-
ing from the polemic over
black anti-Semitism are
statistics about its extent in
the United States, which a
new study by the American
Jewish Committee has tried
to rectify.
The study, titled "What Do
We Know About Black Anti-
Semitism?" was written by
AJCommittee research
analyst Jennifer Golub and
released in late October dur-
ing the organization's na-
tional executive council
meeting in St. Louis.
One of its chief findings
was that anti-Semitic at-
titudes among both blacks
and whites have declined in
recent years, but less rapidly
among African Americans.
The latest available data
included in the study showed
that in 1981, 37 percent of
blacks and 20 percent of
whites scored as anti-
Semitic; in 1964, the figures
were 47 percent among
blacks and 35 percent among
David Singer, director of
research at AJCommittee,
who presented the study's
findings at the meeting in
St. Louis, said there are
"clearly elements that are of
concern" in the findings.
"There are more negative
views of Jews from blacks
rather than whites, but
still," he said, "anti-Semitic
feelings have declined. To
some degree, how you read
the data depends where you
The study also found that
the more educated people
are, the less anti-Semitic
they tend to be, though this
was less true among blacks
than whites.
"It's silly to, say, give peo-
ple an education pill, but it's
true well-educated people
have a broader liberal
outlook, and people with
broader liberal outlooks
have a more positive
perspective on Jews, which
explains why anti-Semitism

Linda Matz Mantle, executive
editor of the St. Louis Jewish
Light, contributed to this

has been on the decline since
the 1970s," said Mr. Singer.
Yet while the youngest
whites were found to be the
least anti-Semitic, this did
not hold true for the black
That should be of concern
to Jews, because "anti-
Semites rarely change their
minds," said Mr. Singer. "So
how does change take place?
They die and are replaced by
a better group of people."
Still, the study appears to
show that anti-Semitism
among blacks is less preva-
lent than generally believed
by Jews, who were found in
previous surveys to think
"most" or "many" blacks
were anti-Semitic, the
AJCommittee study said.
According to Milton
Morris, director of research

There are more
negative views of
Jews from blacks
rather than whites,
but still anti-Semitic
feelings have

at the Joint Center for Polit-
ical and Economic Studies in
Washington, there is a
tendency to overemphasize
the extent of black anti-
Semitism, which has
"contributed to some deteri-
oration" in the relationship
between Jews and blacks.
Mr. Morris, who addressed
the St. Louis conference, also
said there was a tendency to
overuse the term "anti-
"Anti-Semitic is a term
applied not only to those ex-
pressions of hate and in-
tolerance, but increasingly
to almost any expression of
disagreement or disapproval
of the view, preferences and
behavior of Jews or the State
of Israel," he said.
While the report fills a gap
in understanding relations
between blacks and Jews,
Mr. Singer points out fur-
ther research on the subject
is needed, particularly given
the changing world events,
such as nationalism and the
influence of Islam, since the
latest figures were gathered
in 1981.

Jewish Telegraphic Agency

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