Jewish Perceptions of Antisemitism by Gary A. Tobin

By Gary A. Tobin

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While no evidence is available, it is possible that many held this belief without holding other, less extreme beliefs. This is not an unimportant observation. 1 1 Acceptance of extreme beliefs at different times must cause us to define what constitutes "neutral" or "mild" antisemitic beliefs. Are people "mildly" antisemitic if they do not accept extreme negative beliefs most of the time? Or are they "mildly" antisemitic if they only hold one extreme belief most of the time? The increase in antisemitic beliefs about Jewish power during times of Israeli conflict may be interpreted as an aberration during times of stress or as a true barometer when the normative barriers are less severe.

If a story regarding antisemitism appears in a general paper, it is likely to draw the attention of the Jewish readership. The Jewish reader is the recipient of a constant flow of information about antisemitism in the United States, through both the general and the Jewish press. The institutional network provides the information, the Jewish press and sometimes the general press report it, and the Jewish reader consumes it. Whether affiliated or involved with the Jewish community or not, Jews receive information about the continued presence of antisemitism.

Stember erred in his assessment of the decline or disappearance of antisemitism because he analyzed instruments that were appropriate in one period of United States history but woefully inadequate for another. Old stereotype images had passed away, but new ones had emerged. By focusing only on the old stereotypes, he made it seem apparent that antisemitic attitudes had declined. But if antisemitic beliefs took the guise of new stereotypes, these trends would not be discovered unless different questions were devised and probed more extensively.

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