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Antisemitism Summit echoes American Jews' varied emotions post-Israel attacks

Antisemitism symposium
Palestinians Israel
Posted at 8:29 AM, Apr 16, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The conversations at Tuesday’s Antisemitism Summit coincide with a range of emotions felt by American Jews after the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel.

Not all American Jews are feelings the same way. Pew research released a survey this month that asked people how they’re feeling.

The survey found that nine out of 10 American Jews believe that discrimination against Jews in the United States has increased since the conflict began.

Neta Meltzer with the Jewish Community Relations Bureau American Jewish Committee talked with me about why that is.

“Whenever there's an escalation of tensions in the middle east, there is a corresponding increase in antisemitic incidents, antisemitic hate crimes. We knew to expect that, and this particular incident was on a different scale,” Meltzer said.

Meltzer says the incident was on a different scale than many younger American Jews have experienced in their lifetime.

The survey found that American Jews are experiencing a range of emotions like sadness, anger and fear. Meltzer said that isolation is being felt here locally.

It also found that younger and older Jewish Americans feel differently about the conflict, with younger adults expressing more negative attitudes toward Israel compared to older.

Meltzer told me what she’s hearing from the Jewish community locally about their feelings toward the conflict.

“Feelings of just a little bit of isolation. You know, we face such an uphill battle in even people understanding who the Jewish community is what even is a Jewish person. There's such misconceptions about that. So, it's a lack of understanding about who we are about what we're about what our connection is to Israel, why that connection exists," Meltzer said.

Meltzer explained that part of the differences in feelings towards the conflict between younger and older adults is because some younger adults don’t feel as strong as a connection to Israel.