Anti-Semitism has risen sharply in the United States so far this year, according to a new report.
Despite a 12% global decrease, the number of anti-Semitic incidents within the US spiked 86% in the first quarter of 2017. States with high Jewish populations saw the greatest increases: California, New York, New Jersey, Florida, and Massachusetts. Close to one-third of the incidents logged last year occurred between November and December, alluding to the influence of the 2016 presidential election.
The report, released by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), counted 541 anti-Semitic attacks and threats between January and March. The ADL has been tracking anti-Semitic incidents since 1979, and pulls its data from law enforcement, victims and local Jewish organizations to develop its yearly audit.
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the civil rights group, stated “At ADL, we will use every resource available to put a stop to anti-Semitism. But we also need more leaders to speak out against this cancer of hate and more action at all levels to counter anti-Semitism.”
The incidents varied from in-person harassment to public defamation, 34 of which were linked directly to the 2016 election.
A man in St. Petersburg was confronted with, “Trump is going to finish what Hitler started.”
Graffiti in Denver read “Kill the Jews, vote Trump.”
In January of 2017, three synagogues had swastikas drawn on their sidewalks and/or buildings on the same day.
This wave of hate crimes has trickled down to children as well. Bomb threats to Jewish centers and schools increased 127% this year, prompting some parents to pull their children out of JCC programs. Anti-Semitic incidents rose 106% at non-Jewish schools, too. At one such school, a student passed a note to a classmate reading “Hitler did the world a favor.”
“Schools are a microcosm of the country,” said Greenblatt. “Children absorb messages from their parents and the media, and bring them into their schools and playgrounds. We are very concerned the next generation is internalizing messages of intolerance and bigotry.”
Online tormentors have taken advantage of the anonymity allowed by social media and modern technology to further this harassment. Jewish journalists have been targeted, anti-Semitic imagery has proliferated on social media, and anti-Jewish conspiracy theories have resurfaced. ADL’s Oren Segal reported, “Extremists and anti-Semites feel emboldened and are using technology in new ways to spread their hatred and to impact the Jewish community [online] and offline.”
Greenblatt reported, “Clearly, we have work to do and need to bring more urgency to the fight.”