A study of American Jewish university students has found that a majority experienced or witnessed at least one anti-Semitic incident during a single year.
The study’s organizers say that they are surprised and alarmed that 54 percent reported experiencing or witnessing an incident that the respondent defined as anti-Semitic.
Anti-Semitic experiences were reported across an unusually wide swath of students. The study found only slight variation in anti-Semitic experiences across different regions of the U.S., “which strongly suggests that anti-Semitism is a nationwide problem,” according to the report.
“We really need people to pay attention to this. We didn’t expect it to be 54 percent,” said Ariela Keysar, associate research professor of public policy and law at Trinity College. Keysar, a Jerusalem-born demographer, conducted the study along with Barry Kosmin, research professor of public policy and law at Trinity, which is a small private college in Hartford, CT, whose roots are in the Episcopalian denomination of Christianity, but is now non-denominational.
The study, via online questionnaire, was conducted from September 2013 to March 2014 — before the Gaza war of last summer, Keysar notes, which is believed to have given rise to more anti-Semitism on campuses than before — and asked students to report having experienced or witnessed anti-Semitism only during the preceding year. What qualifies as anti-Semitism was not defined by the study. Respondents were asked to report anything they experienced or witnessed that felt anti-Semitic to them.
The anti-Semitism finding was plucked out of a larger study of 1,157 self-identified American Jewish college students on 55 different campuses on a variety of topics.