Watch CBS News

Survey: Nearly Half Of Americans Aren't Familiar With The Term 'Anti-Semitism'

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - The results are in from the American Jewish Committee's very first public survey asking people if they're familiar with the term anti-Semitism.

The people who live in Squirrel Hill know hate and anti-Semitism all too well as Tuesday marks two years since the attacks inside the Tree of Life synagogue. The AJC's first-ever "State of Antisemitism in America" report discovered what it calls a "disturbing lack of awareness among the general public" of the severity of anti-Semitism in the United States.

While 53 percent of U.S. adults say they are familiar with the term anti-Semitism and know what it means, nearly half of Americans do not, with 21 percent saying they have never heard the word and 25 percent saying that, while they have heard it, they are unsure what it means, according to survey results.

"Anti-Semitism is not only a hostility towards Jews or a hatred towards Jews, although that is at its core," said Holly Huffnagle, director of combating anti-Semitism at the American Jewish Committee.

Familiarity with the term anti-Semitism is linked to education levels, according to the AJC.

"Seventy-eight percent of college graduates know what it means, compared with 58 percent of those with some college experience and just 27 percent of those with a high school diploma or less education."

Huffnagle told KDKA the AJC also surveyed American Jews and discovered an upsetting statistic.

"American Jews are hiding their Jewishness. So almost 1 in 3, or 31 percent, of Jewish Americans have avoided certain places or situations out of fear for their safety or comfort," said Huffnagle.

But the surveyed American Jews felt safer with increased security measures happening nationwide.

"We did find that over 50 percent, I believe 56 percent, of American Jews said that their synagogues and Jewish institutions have actually taken measures since what happened in Pittsburgh to secure their facilities so that they feel safe going to worship," said Huffnagle.

Still, 24 percent of those surveyed say they're still avoiding wearing, carrying, or displaying any items that might identify them as Jews since the attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.