Photo Credit: Mordechai Lightstone via Twitter
Anti-Semitic post-it note found at Brooklyn Jewish Children's Museum in Crown Heights, May 30 2019

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, disturbed by the skyrocketing numbers in anti-Semitic incidents in his state and around the United States, arrived in Jerusalem Wednesday to physically make it clear that he still stands with the Jewish State and with the Jewish People.

Cuomo has already made it more than clear to his law enforcement teams back home that New York State is a place with a zero-tolerance policy for anti-Semitic incidents.


But what about that gray area, the one where a small business could choose to refuse service to someone because they’re Jewish? The kind of thing that was encouraged, and then eventually mandated in pre-Holocaust Europe?

The Public Religious Research Institute (PRRI)decided to find out, beginning with a survey in 2014 in which only 12 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that small business owners should be allowed to refuse services to Jews, if doing so “would violate their religious beliefs.”

That was then, and what a difference five years can make, as Cuomo remarked this week in Jerusalem.

This time around, the survey published Tuesday found that fully 19 percent of Americans believe small business owners should be able to refuse service to Jews.

The proportion of Americans who said small businesses should be able to refuse to serve Jews on religious grounds was up seven percentage points (19 percent in 2019 v. 12 percent in 2014). Republicans (24 percent) were more likely than independents (16 percent) and Democrats (17 percent) to say small businesses should be allowed to refuse service to Jews. Support was up from 2014, however, when only 16 percent of Republicans and 9 percent of Democrats supported this sort of service refusal, said PRRI.

Support for denying service to Jews has roughly doubled among white evangelical Protestants (up to 24 percent from 12 percent in 2014), white mainstream Protestants (up to 26 percent from 11 percent), and Catholics (up to 20 percent from 10 percent), while the religiously unaffiliated (11 percent vs. 11 percent) and nonwhite Protestants (19 percent vs. 14 percent) remained mostly stable in their attitudes.

The survey also found increased support for refusal of service to certain other groups as well, including Muslims, African Americans, atheists and the LGBTQ crowd.

The survey polled 1,100 adults by phone. The results have a margin of error of plus/minus 3.5 percent.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.