I started thinking about writing this book about four years ago. I kept seeing report after report saying that anti‐ semitism in America was on the decline. The information came from a variety of polls and studies. The news seemed good.
At the same time, my own research in Jewish communities all over the United States showed substantial proportions of Jews, usually at least 20% in each community, saying that they had experienced antisemitism in the year prior to being surveyed. The findings were fairly consistent from one city to another, year after year. To my surprise, Jews under the age of 35 were the most likely to say that they were experiencing antisemitism. These experiences did not seem to fit with all the positive news about the decline of antisemitism.
So I began to look at the subject in greater depth. I examined the available evidence about the actual state of antisemitism in America and was astonished to discover how seldom the topic of "contemporary" antisemitism was actually studied. Instead, impressions, some rather incomplete auditing mechanisms, and occasional public opinion polls were used to measure antisemitism. The methods being used to assess how non-Jews felt about Jews today were not "contemporary" at all. The times and contexts had changed, but the measuring tools were essentially unaltered.
Much of what is written about antisemitism focuses