(May 12, 2020 / JNS) The number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States in 2019 were the most in at least four decades, according to a report released on Tuesday by the Anti-Defamation League.
There were 2,107 reported anti-Semitic acts of assault, vandalism and harassment across the United States, a 12 percent increase from the 1,879 incidents recorded in the previous year, according to the report.
Some 1,127 harassment incidents where recorded—cases where one or more Jews reported feeling harassed by the antisemitic language or actions. Acts of harassment increased by 6 percent from 1,066 in 2018.
A tally of 919 vandalism incidents took place—cases where property was damaged in a manner that harmed or intimidated Jews. Swastikas, which are generally interpreted as symbols of anti-Semitic hatred, were present in 746 of these incidents. Acts of anti-Semitic vandalism increased 19 percent from 774 the previous year.
There were 61 assault incidents—cases where individuals were physically targeted with violence accompanied by evidence of anti-Semitic animus. Anti-Semitic assaults increased 56 percent from 39 in 2018. Eleven of the 61 assaults were perpetrated with deadly weapons such as guns or knives. The 61 assault incidents harmed 95 victims, including five fatalities.
The record number of incidents came as the Jewish community experienced anti-Semitic attacks in Poway, Calif.; Jersey City, N.J.; and Monsey, N.Y.; in addition to a spree of violent assaults in Brooklyn, N.Y.
The ADL’s Center on Extremism identified 234 incidents targeting Jewish synagogues and community centers in 2019. This included the white-supremacist shooting at Chabad of Poway that resulted in the death of a 60-year-old worshipper and injured three others, including the rabbi.
The 2019 ADL Audit of Antisemitic Incidents found that the total number of anti-Semitic incidents in 2019 increased 12 percent over the previous year, with a disturbing 56 percent increase in assaults.
The audit found there were, on average, as many as six anti-Semitic incidents in the United States for each day in the calendar year—the highest level of anti-Semitic activity ever recorded by ADL.
The year included five fatalities directly linked to anti-Semitic violence and another 91 individuals targeted in physical assaults.
Incidents were reported in every one of the 48 contiguous United States and in Washington, D.C., though not in Alaska or Hawaii. More than half of the assaults nationwide took place in the five boroughs of New York City, including 25 in Brooklyn alone.
“This was a year of unprecedented anti-Semitic activity—a time when many Jewish communities across the country had direct encounters with hate,” said ADL CEO and national director Jonathan Greenblatt. “This contributed to a rising climate of anxiety and fear in our communities. We are committed to fighting back against this rising tide of hate and will double down on our work with elected leaders, schools and communities to end the cycle of hatred.”
The ADL began tracking anti-Semitic incidents in 1979.
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