ADL Reports Sharp Rise in Anti-Semitic Incidents in Early 2017

ADL Reports Sharp Rise in Anti-Semitic Incidents in Early 2017

Anti-Semitic incidents in the United States surged more than one-third in 2016 and have jumped 86 percent in the first quarter of 2017, according to new data from the Anti-Defamation League.

In its annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents, ADL reported a massive increase in the amount of harassment of American Jews, particularly since November, and a doubling in the amount of anti-Semitic bullying and vandalism at non-denominational kindergarten through 12th grade schools.

In 2016, there was a 34 percent year-over-year increase in incidents – including assaults, vandalism, and harassment – with 1,266 acts targeting Jews and Jewish institutions. Nearly 30 percent of these incidents (369) occurred in November and December. The surge has continued during the first three months of 2017, with preliminary reports of another 541 incidents, putting this year on pace for more than 2,000 incidents. Americans of all faiths have felt the increase. In a poll ADL released earlier this month a majority said they are concerned about violence in the United States directed at Jews.

“There’s been a significant, sustained increase in anti-Semitic activity since the start of 2016 and what’s most concerning is the fact that the numbers have accelerated over the past five months,” said ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt. “Clearly, we have work to do and need to bring more urgency to the fight. 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.”

In the first quarter of 2017, preliminary reports of the 541 anti-Semitic incidents included 380 harassment incidents, including 161 bomb threats, an increase of 127 percent over the same quarter in 2016; 155 vandalism incidents, including three cemetery desecrations, an increase of 36 percent; and six physical assault incidents, a decrease of 40 percent.

The 1,266 anti-Semitic incidents that occurred in 2016 included 720 harassment and threat incidents, an increase of 41 percent over 2015; 510 vandalism incidents, an increase of 35 percent; and 36 physical assault incidents, a decrease of 35 percent.

“Locally, Texas did not see the same levels of increased anti-Semitic incidents from 2015 to 2016. In fact, Texas saw a slight decrease from 29 incidents in 2015 to 23 identified incidents in 2016. However, Texas has experienced more instances of anti-Semitic harassment in the first quarter of 2017 than in the entire year of 2016.  This is an unwelcome trend,” said ADL Austin Regional Director Renee Lafair.

In the first quarter of 2017, preliminary reports of the 25 anti-Semitic incidents in Texas included 18harassment incidents as opposed to 15 incidents of harassment in the entire 2016 calendar year; six vandalism incidents as opposed to eight incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism in 2016; and one physical assault incident, when the state did not experience any anti-Semitic assaults in the entire 2016 calendar year.

“These incidents need to be seen in the context of a general resurgence of white supremacist activity in the United States,” said Oren Segal, director of the ADL Center on Extremism.

“Extremists and anti-Semites feel emboldened and are using technology in new ways to spread their hatred and to impact the Jewish community on and off line.”

Incidents in 2016 and Q1 2017 included network printer hacks and the use of source-masking technology to make it easier to harass Jews anonymously.

“The majority of anti-Semitic incidents are not carried out by organized extremists, as the bomb threats in 2017 demonstrate. Anti-Semitism is not the sole domain of any one group, and needs to be challenged wherever and whenever it arises,” said Segal.

ADL has been tracking anti-Semitic incidents in the United States since 1979. The audit includes both criminal and non-criminal incidents, acts of harassment and intimidation, including distribution of hate propaganda, threats and slurs. Compiled using information provided by victims, law enforcement and community leaders and evaluated by ADL’s professional staff, the audit provides an annual snapshot of one specific aspect of a nationwide problem, while identifying possible trends or changes in the types of activity reported. This information assists ADL in developing and enhancing its programs to counter and prevent the spread of anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world’s leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry. Follow the organization on Twitter, @ADL_National and @ADLAustin.

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