- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 23, 2023

The Anti-Defamation League on Thursday said antisemitic incidents in the United States “surged to historic levels” last year, with 3,697 incidents — an average of 10 per day — and a 36% increase over 2021. Included in the total were 91 bomb threats targeting Jewish institutions, the group said.

The ADL said the numbers were the most since it began tracking incidents in 1979. The league’s announcement noted “an upward trendline of hate and vitriol” toward American Jews the past five years.

The rise in antisemitic attacks contrasts with recent survey results showing Jews as the most favorably viewed religious community in the U.S.

Last week, the Pew Research Center said Jews had a net favorability rating of 28% among adults surveyed last year.

According to Jonathan Greenblatt, the ADL’s CEO, “The surges in organized white supremacist propaganda activity, brazen attacks on Orthodox Jews, a rapid escalation of bomb threats toward Jewish institutions and significant increases of incidents in schools and on college campuses all contributed to the unusually high number” of antisemitic incidents last year.

New York, California, New Jersey, Florida and Texas accounted for 54% of the reported incidents of antisemitic attacks, the ADL said.

SEE ALSO: Jews popular in U.S. despite increase in antisemitic attacks

Nationally, harassment accounted for most of the attacks, the group reported, with 2,298 incidents where Jews — or those perceived to be Jewish — were the target of antisemitic slurs, stereotypes or conspiracy theories, a 29% increase from the 1,776 such incidents in 2021.

Vandalism against Jewish property rose 51% last year, with 1,288 incidents reported versus 853 attacks in 2021.

College and university campuses saw a 41% increase in antisemitic activity last year, with more than 219 incidents at more than 130 campuses. Also in 2022, there were 494 antisemitic incidents at non-Jewish elementary and secondary schools, a 49% yearly rise.

Mr. Greenblatt called the uptick “deeply troubling.” He said, “This is a reminder of the need for more targeted education efforts aimed at rooting out hate and teaching acceptance. Holocaust education is increasingly important.”

Responding to the survey, two American Jewish leaders said additional steps can be taken to blunt the rise in such incidents.

Julie Platt, chairwoman of the Jewish Federations of North America, told The Washington Times via email, “This alarming data backs up what our Jewish communities see, hear and feel every day. This is why Jewish Federations are investing so heavily in communal security and combating antisemitism, and continue to advocate for increased Nonprofit Security Grant funding.“

The federal Nonprofit Security Grant program stands at $305 million in funding this fiscal year and is designed to help congregations and religious facilities install security measures to protect lives and property.

Orthodox Jews, because of their “outward display” of their faith with men wearing yarmulkes and women dressing in a conservative manner, are targeted at higher rates than more secular-appearing Jews, said Nathan Diamant, executive director of the Orthodox Union’s OU Advocacy program. 

“So much of this is driven by social media and the harmful and destructive aspects of social media,” Mr. Diamant said Thursday in a telephone interview.

“We as a society have not yet figured out a way — especially in the United States where we have the First Amendment right to free speech — to get a handle on this and rein in and make responsible the social media platforms which provide an unprecedented forum for antisemitism,” he said.

• Mark A. Kellner can be reached at mkellner@washingtontimes.com.

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