It has been present since the first Jews arrived in the New World in the 16th century and started to settle there in the 18th and through the mass waves of Jewish immigration to the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 3 View gallery Orthodox Jews celebrate the Purim holiday in New York
Photo: Reuters) As far as the prevalence of anti-Semitism in America is concerned – there are conflicting estimates. The Anti-Defamation League, the largest and most credible organization of its kind, published a study in 2019 citing 7,080 recorded anti-Semitic incidents (identical to the group's 2018 figures). On the scale are events include the harassment of Jews in public, desecration of synagogues or graves, publication of anti-Semitic materials by white supremacists and, at the furthest end of the spectrum, fatal shooting attacks targeting Jews, such as last week's attack on the kosher supermarket in Jersey City, the massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in October 2018 and the shooting at Poway synagogue in California in April. Some of these events stem from the empowerment of white supremacy by President Donald Trump. Some stem from the seamless communication networks and social media connections of anti-Semites and psychopaths of all kinds. 3 View gallery A memorial to the 11 victims of the Tree of Life synagogue shooting
Photo: AP) There are four main types of anti-Semitism: The "traditional" kind that is a faith-based, Christian hatred of Jews; anti-Semitism that considers Jews rich, only caring about money, controlling the banks, the media and politics and seeks global domination; anti-Semitism stemming from white supremacy and anti-Semitism that has seeped into legitimate discourse through venomous and cruel criticism of Israel and Zionism. Of these different forms of anti-Semitism, the last two alone are still relevant. So on the one hand, anti-Semitism in America has, from an historical perspective, disappeared. Jews are successfully immersed in American society; Jewish stereotypes and preconceptions about Jews are on the decline and Jews have been seen as part of the social fabric and power structure since the middle of the last century and more so in the past 30 or 40 years. When you examine Jewish history from 700 BCE on, no Jewish community has thrived more, prospered more and enjoyed religious freedom more than in the United States. The only place that comes near is Israel. On the other hand, organizations that collect and analyze information on anti-Semitism see a rise in its expression and a growing sense of fear and insecurity among Jews, the likes of which has not been felt for decades. 3 View gallery American military and civilian personnel light candles to celebrate the Hanukkah festival
Photo: U.S. Navy / Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Richard M. Wolff) Though American culture in general completely rejects anti-Semitism, the feeling that something bad is afoot is unshakable. Any form of anti-Semitism is repugnant, objectionable and infuriating. Still, its importance should not be overstated. There has been no institutionalized anti-Semitism in America in the past 50-60 years; any form of it is considered illegitimate and illegal in so far as it promotes incitement or discrimination. Any discussion of anti-Semitism in America should not be limited to the recent anti-Semitic attacks or an accumulation of recent data - that would be misleading. America is not an anti-Semitic country and its millions of Jewish citizens are not in any existential danger.