A survey of Hispanic Americans and Jewish Americans has found that about half of the respondents of each group believe that some Latinos harbor anti-Semitic attitudes. Hispanics number approximately one-sixth of the U.S. population, while Jews comprise approximately two per cent of the U.S. population.
The survey was commissioned by the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding and announced by FFEU president Rabbi Marc Schneier at a conference this week in San Antonio, Texas.
These findings are a wake-up call to both communities," says Rabbi Schneier, "We need to understand how real anti-Semitism is within the Latino community and how we can counter it as well as find more effective ways to communicate the value of Israel to bolster Latino empathy for the Jewish state."
"This is truer then ever as Latinos now number more than 50 million in the U.S." Schneier added. "One out of every 6 Americans is Latino. It therefore behooves the Jewish community to reach out and foster an alliance with this significant ethnic group."
The survey revealed that similar numbers of Jews and Latinos said they perceive anti-Semitism in the Latino community. According to the survey, 58% of Jews believe that the Hispanic American community holds some anti-Jewish prejudice, and 46% of Latinos agreed with this same statement.
Strangely, the press release announcing the survey made no mention of appraising the existence of anti-Hispanic sentiment in the Jewish community. But 54% of American Jews surveyed reported that they support new anti-immigration laws passed in the U.S. state of Arizona, which are widely considered to be anti-Hispanic in nature.
Regarding U.S. foreign policy in vis-a-vis the State of Israel, 56% of Jewish Americans surveyed stated that they believed the U.S. government is not supportive enough of the Israeli government, while 46% of Hispanic Americans surveyed said the opposite, that the U.S. government is too supportive of the Israeli government.
When asked if they support either the Israelis or the Palestinians in their conflict, 77% of American Jews reported support for Israelis, but American Latinos were divided on the issue, with many responding that they "don't know".
The two groups are in sync with regards to their estimation of the likelihood of success of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Two-thirds of both Jewish and Hispanic Americans doubt that there will be peace within the next five years.
The South American trade bloc Mercosur signed a free-trade agreement with Israel on in 2007, its first pact with a country outside of Latin America. In recent weeks, a number of South American governments have one by one recognized the existence of a Palestinian state along the 1967 'Green Line' borders.
Neither Jews nor Latinos were seemingly asked about their opinions as to the U.S. government's relationships with the governments of Latin America.