American Jews have experienced “near-historic” levels of anti-Semitism in 2018, the latest audit of anti-Semitic incidents in the US by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) revealed.
The annual audit, which was released on April 30, recorded 1,879 anti-Semitic incidents in the US in 2018. While 2018 saw a 5 percent decline in the number of incidents from 2017, the year still had the third-highest record of incidents since the ADL began conducting audits in 1979.
The ADL audit found that 59 people were victims of anti-Semitic assaults in 2018, up from 21 in 2017. The audit noted a 105 percent increase in assault incidents, with 39 assaults in 2018 and 19 incidents reported in 2017. These included the deadly attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Incidents of anti-Semitic harassment also increased slightly, from 1,015 in 2017 to 1,066 in 2018. The number of incidents involving vandalism decreased 19 percent, the audit found.
ADL Southeast Regional Director Allison Padilla-Goodman told The North Star that 2017 was a “banner year” in anti-Semitic incidents. Padilla-Goodman said that despite the drop in incidents of vandalism in the last year, 2018 still saw record numbers when compared to 2016 or 2015. Recently, a swastika and anti-Semitic comments were found at a Vanderbilt University library.
“We’ve worked hard to push back against anti-Semitism, and succeeded in improving hate crime laws, and yet we continue to experience an alarming high number of anti-Semitic acts,” Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO and national director, said in a statement to The North Star.
Greenblatt continued, “We unfortunately saw this trend continue into 2019 with the tragic shooting at the Chabad synagogue in Poway. It’s clear we must remain vigilant in working to counter the threat of violent anti-Semitism and denounce it in all forms, wherever the source and regardless of the political affiliation of its proponents.”
The ADL found a “dramatic surge” in white supremacist propaganda activity and recorded 249 acts of anti-Semitism attributed to known extremist groups or individuals inspired by extremists ideology. Padilla-Goodman told The North Star that it is important to note that most anti-Semitic incidents are actually “perpetrated by everyday people.”
White supremacist groups stepped up their propaganda activity in 2018. The ADL recorded 139 incidents of flier campaigns by white supremacist groups, and 80 anti-Semitic robocalls allegedly conducted by anti-Semitic podcaster Scott Rhodes.
“Jews are feeling very concerned to degrees I’ve never seen before,” Padilla-Goodman said. She urged people to realize that incidents of anti-Semitism are a big concern in the Jewish community.
Anti-Semitic incidents were recorded across the country, but the highest number of incidents consistently occurred in states with the large Jewish populations. California and New York saw the highest number of incidents, with at least 340 incidents each. They were followed by New Jersey, with 200 incidents, and Massachusetts, with 144. According to the ADL, combined the four states accounted for more than half of the incidents recorded in the US.
In the South, Georgia saw the highest number of incidents, followed by Tennessee, Alabama, and South Carolina.
“Anti-Semitism is a grave concern across the nation and here at home. Whether it be in K-12 schools, on campus or in communities it is disturbing to see the slow normalization of anti-Semitism and its impact here in the Southeast,” Padilla-Goodman said in a statement. “This is why our on-the-ground programming and advocacy work is so essential to help fight hate before it truly sinks its teeth into a community.”
About the Author
Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.