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(RNS) — Muslims face the most discrimination in American society, according to a new survey of U.S. adults, but Jews are fast catching up.

The survey of 12,693 U.S. adults conducted by the Pew Research Center finds that the number of people who say there is a lot of discrimination against Jews has doubled in the last three years, jumping from 20% in 2021 to 40% today.

The poll, taken in February, reflects changing attitudes toward U.S. Jews in the wake of the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas on Israel and the fierce, now 6-month-old war in Gaza, in which Israel has reportedly killed more than 32,000 Palestinians. The war has brought charges of genocide against Israel that are now being considered by an international court. 

Muslims still top the list of religious and ethnic groups facing discrimination in the view of American adults, with 44% of those surveyed saying Muslims face a lot of discrimination, up from 39% in 2021.

"Large majorities see at least some discrimination against many groups in our society today" (Graphic courtesy Pew Research Center)

“Large majorities see at least some discrimination against many groups in our society today” (Graphic courtesy of Pew Research Center)

The share of the overall U.S. public saying Jews face a lot of discrimination is now identical to the share saying the same about Black people (40%).

Various Jewish organizations have documented a steep rise in antisemitism in the U.S. in recent years, and in the months since the Israel-Hamas war began there has been a reported rise in antisemitic episodes on campuses, often the result of pro-Palestinian activism.

But the Pew survey found that younger Americans aged 18-29 haven’t seen as much of a rise in anti-Jewish discrimination as older Americans aged 65 and up have. Among the older group, a sense of discrimination against Jews rose 29 percentage points — from 21% in 2021 to 50% today. By comparison, discrimination against Jews grew by 11 percentage points among Americans aged 18-29.

When it comes to discrimination against Jews, there wasn’t much of a partisan division: 61% of Republicans and 57% of Democrats agreed that discrimination against Jews has increased since the outbreak of the war.

But there were large partisan divisions over Muslim discrimination, with Democrats twice as likely as Republicans to say that discrimination has increased against Muslims (52% vs. 26%) and Arabs (49% vs. 23%).

Overall, 57% of Americans said that discrimination against Jews has increased since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, while 38% said discrimination against Muslims has increased since the start of the war. (About the same percentage of Americans — 36% — said discrimination against Arabs in particular has increased.) 

The survey also found that Americans are comfortable with speech both for and against Israeli and Palestinian statehood. Only 10% of Americans said calls for violence against Jews or Muslims should be allowed.

"U.S. religious groups are especially likely to perceive a lot of discrimination against themselves" (Graphic courtesy Pew Research Center)

“U.S. religious groups are especially likely to perceive a lot of discrimination against themselves” (Graphic courtesy of Pew Research Center)

The survey suggested that each religious group tends to perceive more discrimination against itself. For example, 72% of Jewish Americans said there is a lot of discrimination against Jews in our society today, but fewer than half of adults in any other religious group said the same.

One exception: 46% of white evangelicals feel there is a lot more discrimination against Jews than against white evangelicals (30%).

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