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Study Finds Generation, Education Gap Among Jews on Black Anti-semitism Issue

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A major study of opinions of Jews and Negroes in New York City’s five boroughs, financed by a $109,000 Ford Foundation grant, has disclosed a deep generation and educational gap among Jews in their assessments of Negro anti-Semitism and in readiness to support efforts to end discrimination against non-white minorities. The survey, made by Louis Harris and Associates and sponsored by the Sarah Lawrence College Institute of Community Studies, was based on interviews with 2,486 adult residents. Another major finding was that Negroes indicated much more commitment to integration than Jews believed existed and that they were “far less intent on pressuring white society” and particularly in “tearing it down” than Jews feared. The report found that while 75 percent of the blacks wanted “complete integration” with whites, nearly half of the Jews questioned Indicated a belief that Negroes wanted to “tear down white society.”

Another finding was that while Negroes showed “some real hostility toward Jews,” the Jews consistently underestimated favorable Negro views about Jews and generally viewed anti-Jewish feeling among Negroes “as worse than it is in reality.” Nearly 70 percent of the city’s Jews interviewed said they believed that Negro-Jewish relations had become worse in recent years and two-thirds thought the city administration had “gone too far in the direction of giving in to black demands.” The split in Jewish views emerged from breakdowns on specific questions. When asked whether Negroes tended to be anti-Semitic, 41 percent of the Jews said no, 38 percent said yes, and 21 percent said they were unsure. A markedly lower percentage of belief in Negro anti-Semitism was found among Jews living in Manhattan, those unaffiliated with a synagogue, those aged 21 to 34 and those who had attended college. The most apprehensive Jews were the Orthodox, those over 50, those with less than $10,000 annual incomes and those with no more than an eighth-grade education.

The study found that the better-educated, more affluent Jews “clearly showed an awareness of discrimination against blacks” and were prepared to go a long way toward making accommodations with blacks, for they have become convinced real injustices exist.” However, the study also found, “a larger group” of Jews “did not see it this way at all. They do not recognized that discrimination exists.” The findings also indicated that Negroes were “more prone to hold anti-Jewish stereotypes” than non-Jewish whites, that Negroes were critical of Jews in the money area and they also suspected that Jews control more of their economic life than other groups.” But they also viewed Jews “as generous and as an oppressed minority” and to the extent that they singled out Jews for criticism it was often “because they are whites who happen to be in a position of authority.”

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