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Russian Official: Polls Show ‘15 Percent Of Americans Are Anti-Semitic’

Konstantin Dolgov

Konstantin Dolgov

Russian Foreign Ministry’s ombudsman for human rights, democracy, and the rule of law

"According to opinion polls, 15 percent of Americans are anti-Semitic. Radical moods are also growing."

Source: Russian state news agency TASS
…at least according to available polling data

Dolgov, known for his sharp criticism of liberal attitudes in the West, did not specify which opinion polls he was referring to during his September 21 news conference in Moscow. But in the most prominent, multi-decade poll on the issue -- conducted annually by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a U.S.-based organization that fights anti-Semitism -- 10 percent of U.S. citizens in 2015 were found to “harbor anti-Semitic attitudes.” Dolgov suggests that this figure is “growing,” and year-on-year, he’s technically correct. The same poll put that figure at 9 percent in 2014 – a record low in the history of the survey. But the broad trend shows a decline in “anti-Semitic propensities” in the United States since the ADL began conducting the poll in 1964, when the number was at 29 percent. The number was most recently at 15 percent in 2011 (Of note, the methodology of the ADL poll has come under criticism from various corners of American academia and media. The ADL has said its methodology is “extra cautious” and “gives a strong picture of the persistence of anti-Semitism globally.”)

The ADL is not prone to playing down antisemitism in the United States. In fact, in June it warned of a “dramatic” 3-percent rise in anti-Semitic assaults in the country in 2015: 941 incidents compared to 912 the previous year.

Dolgov’s remarks about anti-Semitism in the United States came as part of broadly critical comments about the state of religious tolerance in the West, where he said that traditional values “have come under powerful pressure.”

The ADL’s 2015 survey on anti-Semitic attitudes found that 23 percent of Russian respondents “harbor(ed) anti-Semitic attitudes," down from 30 percent the previous year. Among EU countries surveyed in the 19-country poll in 2015, the highest percentages were registered in Greece (67 percent), Romania (47 percent), Hungary (40 percent), and Poland (37 percent). Ukraine came in at 32 percent, down from 38 percent in 2014.

The margin of error in the 2015 poll was 3.2 percent for the United States and 4.4 percent for the other 18 countries.