Poll of Jews, Blacks Yields Mixed Numbers

Fewer American Jews than blacks believe that relations between the two groups have improved during the past year, according to a new national survey.

But both blacks and Jews agree that more should be done to educate schoolchildren about slavery and the Holocaust, according to the results of the poll, which was conducted for the New York-based Foundation for Ethnic Understanding.

The findings, which were released Tuesday at the second annual conference on black-Jewish relations at Yeshiva University in New York, have a margin of error of 4 percent for each subgroup.

For the foundation’s president, Rabbi Marc Schneier, the most important finding was the response to the question: “In the past year, has the relationship between African Americans and Jews gotten better or worse?”

Some 43 percent of the Jews and 53 percent of the blacks agreed that the black- Jewish relations in the United States have “gotten better.” About 17 percent of Jews and 13 percent of blacks said the relationship had “gotten worse.” The remainder said they did not know.

Other findings of the survey include:

Some 69 percent of Jews and 59 percent of blacks say the two groups should form a partnership to work on civil rights issues.

Some 59 percent of Jews and 61 percent of blacks agreed that public schools do not teach enough about the Holocaust. About 49 percent of Jews and 71 percent of blacks said the same about teaching about slavery.

Sixty-one percent of blacks agreed that African Americans can do more to silence members of their community who preach or promote anti-Semitism.

Thirty-six percent of Jews agreed that Jews should devote a larger share of their resources to improve the well-being of blacks in the United States.

Schneier said that these results contradict the general perception that relations between the two minority groups are in a state of decline.

Martin Luther King III, newly elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, participated at the conference as well.

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