On American Anti-Semitism
Summary: America not all that anti-Semitic, really
You might be interested in a brief comment I left at Glenn Loury’s Substack yesterday on the statistical consideration of the real threat of American anti-Semitism, which is being talked about incredibly irresponsibly in activist circles. The inability (and disinterest) of many Americans to consider large numbers and probabilities of given phenomena in those large numbers makes it easier for people to get away with saying nonsense.
You can find it on Glenn’s Substack here. I’ve also pasted it in below too.
The reasoning employed here to make it appear that the threat level against American Jews is astronomically high is identical to that used by BLM activists to rhetorically attempt to make anti-Black hate crimes or violence against blacks by police into a "pandemic."
The total number of all FBI reported hate crimes against American Jews in 2021 was 676. https://www.jpost.com/diaspora/antisemitism/antisemitism-jews-target-of-58-percent-of-all-religiously-motivated-hate-crimes-in-us-678228
(NB: that figure includes hate crimes of every variety, not just those involving physical attack--e.g., vandalism and other offenses against property, which are typically much more numerous than serious attacks against persons).
The total number of Jews in the US is around 7.6 million. https://www.jns.org/opinion/how-many-american-jews-are-there-and-does-it-really-matter/
That means the chances the average American Jew would be the victim of any kind of hate crime (I repeat, including all types of such offenses, not just the most egregious that get reported in national media, but also things like some idiot writing something offensive on a sidewalk) in 2021 was 1 in 11,242.
For comparative purposes, note that the odds of the average American being a victim of an aggravated assault in 2021 were about 1 in 413, or nearly 30 times greater. https://www.statista.com/statistics/191231/reported-aggravated-assault-rate-in-the-us-since-1990/
Would it be really great to have the number of hate crimes against Jewish Americans *and* aggravated assaults against all Americans at zero? Sure, it would. That's not going to happen in the real world, though. Stupid people who commit such crimes will always exist.
But the odds against being a victim of an aggravated assault in America in 2021 are pretty low, and the odds of being a victim of an anti-Semitic hate crime are much, much lower even than that. Neither of those two rises in statistical terms to the level at which a reasonable person should be spending tons of time gripped by the terror that it's going to happen to him.
Stupid people committing crimes are not the only thing that will always exist. What will also apparently always exist is people with an absolute commitment, despite all the evidence to the contrary, to the idea that America is a murderously dangerous place for minority groups of various types.
It is claimed in the email that "Jewish life" would be "render[ed]...unlivable" if "domestic shootings" of Jews tripled. Tripled from what base rate? In 2021, there were zero American Jewish casualties from anti-Semitic terrorists. That's 0.00. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/2021-saw-highest-ever-number-of-incidents-targeting-jewish-americans-report/ar-AAWBsYz
But presumably the email writer doesn't want to start at zero in formulating the "unlivable" rate, so let's take triple the number of American Jewish casualties from anti-Semitic shooters starting at the 2018 rate (that's when the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting that left 11 dead and 6 wounded happened.)
So triple that 2018 figure would yield 51 American Jewish casualties. That works out to a risk of about 1 in 150,000.
Now, how about let's compare that to the risk of all Americans being murdered in 2021? Not just shot, mind you, but murdered.
There were about 23,000 murders in the US in 2021, in a population of around 333,000,000. https://www.foxnews.com/us/us-murder-rate-continued-grim-climb-in-2021-new-fbi-estimates-show
Given an American population in 2021 of around 333 million, that yields almost a 1 in 15,000 risk of being murdered. So the average American is about 10 times more likely to be murdered than the average American Jew is to be shot by an anti-Semitic shooter, even in a hypothetical year when we're working with a total that is three times higher than the highest number in recent history.
(Yes, yes, if you’re really committed to the ideological rhetoric, you could look at this and go "But American Jews are facing *both* the overall murder risk and the anti-Semitic shooting risk, and that’s what’s so unfair!” I can't quickly locate reliable online data on the American murder rate specifically for Jewish American victims but it is certainly comparatively low given that murder victim rate correlates strongly with socioeconomic status and Jews as a group in the US are highly concentrated near the top end of that stratification system. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/10/11/how-income-varies-among-u-s-religious-groups/ So if you calculated just the average murder risk for non-Jewish Americans--remember Jews are a tiny percentage of the overall US population--you'd certainly find a risk level there much higher than the combined murder and anti-Semitic violence risk for American Jews.)
The average American Jew who is convinced the chances he's going to be attacked at synagogue are really high is indistinguishable from the Black person who thinks there's a huge risk every time a cop stops him for running a stop sign that his life is in danger. Both beliefs are neatly falsified by evidence. They are also both arguably fueled to a significant degree by ideologues irresponsibly talking about these phenomena without getting into the statistical realities.