Report: Anti-Semitic incidents increase by 57 percent in 2017
The Anti-Defamation League reported a 57 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. last year, the highest tally the Jewish civil rights group has counted in more than two decades, according to data it released Tuesday.
The New York Citybased organization found 1,986 anti-Semitic incidents last year, up from 1,267 in 2016. That’s the highest total since 1994 and the largest singleyear increase since the group began collecting that data in 1979.
The ADL said the sharp rise includes 952 vandalism incidents, an increase of 86 percent from 2016. The group also counted 1,015 incidents of harassment, a 41 percent increase from 2016.
ADL national director and CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said the “alarming” increase appears to be fueled by emboldened far-right extremists, as well as the “divisive state of our national discourse.”
“Less civility has led to more intolerance,” he told The Associated Press.
Greenblatt also acknowledged heightened awareness of the problem likely led to increased reporting of anti-Semitic incidents.
Anti-Semitic incidents at schools and on college campuses nearly doubled for the second year in a row, with 457 such incidents reported in non-Jewish schools last year, the ADL report says.
“We should see this as an alarm, a very loud alarm that should get the attention of all of us,” Greenblatt said.
The ADL and other groups have reported a surge in the number of incidents in which farright extremist groups have posted racist and anti-Semitic fliers on college campuses. ADL spokesman Todd Gutnick said the report’s tally only counts incidents in which fliers had explicitly anti-Semitic messages.
The ADL also counted 19 anti-Semitic physical assaults last year, a 47 percent decrease from 2016.
The harassment incidents included 169 bomb threats against Jewish institutions, nearly all of them by two men. The ADL report said more than 150 bomb threats against Jewish community centers and day schools last year were allegedly made by an 18-year-old IsraeliAmerican Jewish hack- er, who was arrested in Israel last March. Separately, a former journalist from St. Louis pleaded guilty to making a string of fake bomb threats to Jewish organizations last year in the name of his ex-girlfriend.
Headstones toppled and damaged by vandals lie on the ground last February at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Philadelphia.