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Poll: One in five Americans believes Jews have too much control of Wall Street

by Jonah Lowenfeld

November 3, 2011 | 1:15 pm

A table from the Anti-Defamation League's "Survey of American Attitudes Toward Jews in America." The dark blue bars represent the responses of those identified by the survey as "the most anti-Semitic" Americans. The light blue bars represent the general population's responses. Courtesy ADL and Marttila Strategies

The folks on the fringes of Occupy Wall Street rallies who have been holding signs and hollering slogans about Jewish control of large banking institutions may just be the loudest among the minority of Americans who think Jews have too much influence in the financial sector.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) released the results of its most recent “Survey of American Attitudes Toward Jews in America,” on Nov. 3. The survey (pdf) found that 19 percent of Americans thought it was “probably true” that “Jews have too much control/influence on Wall Street.”

That’s an increase from the last time the ADL asked the question, in 2009, when only 14 percent of Americans answered that way.

In an emailed statement announcing the findings, ADL National Director Abe Foxman attributed the increase in anti-Semitic beliefs among Americans to “the downturn in the economy” and “changing demographics in our society.”

The 11-question poll, which was first devised by the ADL in 1964, was administered to 1,754 adults across the country by telephone in October.

The survey also found that nearly one in three Americans (30 percent) believes Jews are “more loyal to Israel than to America,” and a similar number (31 percent) feel that “Jews talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust.”

The survey did show that most Americans have non-prejudicial things to say about Jews. Seventy-nine percent said Jews “have a strong faith in God,” 64 percent agreed that Jews “have contributed much to cultural life of America,” and 83 percent credited Jews with emphasizing “the importance of family life.”

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