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Anti-Semitic incidents surge in US: report

Lewis Sanders IV
February 27, 2018

Nearly 2,000 anti-Semitic incidents were recorded last year in the US, the Anti-Defamation League found. The Jewish organization said the figures "had been trending in the right direction ... and then something changed."

Two men watch police at a nearby synagogue following a bomb threat
Image: picture alliance/B.Matthews

Anti-Semitic incidents rose 57 percent in the US last year, according to a report published by the New York-based Anti-Defamation League on Tuesday.

The increase marked the largest increase in a single year since the Jewish organization began recording anti-Semitic incidents in 1979.

"It had been trending in the right direction for a long time," ADL chief executive Jonathan A. Greenblatt told The New York Times. "And then something changed."

Read more: What are the links between US and German neo-Nazis?

Key findings:

  • The ADL recorded 1,986 anti-Semitic incidents in 2017, up from 1,267 in the year before.
  • Anti-Semitic incidents in primary and secondary schools grew by 94 percent.

  • Vandalism and harassment were the categories that increased the most.

  • New York recorded the largest increase, rising by 90 percent. Florida had the largest decrease in anti-Semitic incidents, dropping 28 percent year-on-year.

  • The figures included more than 150 bomb threats against Jewish community institutions by an Israeli-American teenager during the first half of the year.

Infographic showing number of anti-Semitic incidents per year in the US over the last decade

Why there is a significant increase: While the ADL said part of the increase could be pegged to an increase in reporting of incidents at schools, other groups have pointed to rising right-wing extremism.

Last month, the Southern Poverty Law Center said neo-Nazi groups operating in the US grew by 22 percent, saying "President Trump in 2017 reflected what white supremacist groups want to see."

Read more: Educating against anti-Semitism: German students visit concentration camp

What is anti-Semitism: According to the ADL, anti-Semitism is "the belief or behavior hostile towards Jews just because they are Jewish."

"It may take the form of religious teachings that proclaim the inferiority of Jews, for instance, or political efforts to isolate, oppress or otherwise injure them."