AJC report on how Latinos view discrimination against the Jewish community
The AJC surveyed 125 Latino leaders between the ages of 18 and 40 on their knowledge, perceptions, and understanding of Jewish life, among other topics.
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Like many marginalized communities, the inter-community support the Jewish community receives can help ease many difficulties that come when struggling against oppression.
In order to learn more about how the Latino community views the Jewish community, the American Jewish Committee conducted 25 in-depth interviews in five different cities, surveying 125 Latinos total.
Each of these Latinos were leaders or senior officers in charge of organizations that pushed for voting/outreach awareness, environmental concerns, were faith leaders, attorneys, student elected leaders, were elected to political office or on their staff, or another form of leader.
The interviewed Latinos were aged 18-40 and were asked to discover their knowledge and understanding of Jewish life, of the discrimination Jews face, and the role Israel plays in Latinos’ perceptions of Jewish life.
The outlook Latinos have towards Jews is largely benign. Approximately 52% of Latinos reported a positive association with Jews, with another 32% stating they were neutral, leaving only an estimated 15% holding negative associations.
When asked to rate the most and least discriminated against groups, 62% of Latinos placed African-Americans as the most discriminated against in the U.S., followed by Hispanics. Jews were reported to be viewed as facing the least discrimination by 52% of Latinos, surpassing the runner up of Asian Americans, reported as such by 16% of Latinos.
Additionally, approximately half of Latinos picture Jews as a subset of White, the data implicating strongly that Latino views on discrimination stem from race rather than religion, leading to the belief that Jews are much less discriminated against, or do not face significant discrimination at all.
The report found that only 14% of Latinos saw antisemitism increasing in the United States, despite the AJC witnessing a considerable increase in hate-fuelled incidents. The majority of Latinos (54%) see no current significant discrimination present against Jews.
These views have culminated in Latinos not seeing any need for the Jewish community and the Latino community to support one another, with 42% seeing the Jewish community as having no need for support from the Latino community.
Despite this belief, 39% did believe the Jewish community needed Latino support; this statistic reinforced by leaders from both communities seeking to connect the two groups over their shared values.
The report continues, going on to emphasize the role Israel can play in influencing the Latino perspective on Jewish life, broadening their scope of understanding beyond American Jews, with many people coming to their own individual notions about Jews through those they know and have encountered personally.
This lack of unified understanding has raised concerns that political events with international repercussions, or a concerted media effort could be used to sway opinion of Latinos.
While the immediate result might not be harmful, the report emphasizes that in the long run these could shift public opinion negatively towards Israel, and possibly the Jewish community, as well.