1 in 3 Americans: US Jews more loyal to Israel

ADL director Abe Foxman tells Knesset that at least 35 million adult Americans hold anti-semitic views.

One-third of Americans believe that American Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the United States, according to figures presented to the Knesset on Tuesday by Anti-Defamation League director Abe Foxman. "This belief is so out of sync with everything else happening in America, with the fact that there's so much acceptance of Jews in all phases of life - academia, commerce, media, politics," Foxman told The Jerusalem Post. "When Joe Lieberman ran for vice president [in 2000], there was very little talk about double loyalty." Now, "because of the phenomenon of Mearsheimer and Walt and Jimmy Carter, this whole discussion as to whether Jews are disproportionately powerful in foreign policy - the conspiracy thesis - in the mainstream," Foxman added. Will this atmosphere "intimidate Jews from not acting out as publicly and as openly in exercise of their rights and in support of positions they believe in? Will Jews begin to feel intimidated when they speak out about Iran? That's my concern," Foxman noted. "This will not trigger anti-Semitic violence, but it is poisoning the atmosphere when it's more and more legitimate to debate the loyalty of Jews on American campuses. This is classic political anti-Semitism." "US Jews are very uncomfortable with this [issue]," commented MK Colette Avital (Labor), a member of the Knesset Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Committee where Foxman was speaking on Tuesday. She told the Post that the figures indicated "a failure to explain - I hate to use the word hasbara - that you can be loyal to both. In the US, people can live with several identities, such as Italian-Americans and African-Americans, and Jewish Americans should be seen in that context." Foxman also told MKs that, despite a drop over the past 30 years in the percentage of Americans holding anti-Semitic attitudes from 30 percent to 15%, the figure still stood at 35 million adult Americans. Meanwhile, between 2005 and 2007, the number of anti-Semitic incidents in America dropped from 1,757 to some 1,350. Foxman was quoting the ADL's 2007 "Survey of American Attitudes Towards Jews in America," which put the figure of Americans who believe Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the US at 31%, a number roughly unchanged since at least 1992.