Anti-Semitism Risen To Historic Levels in America

ADL says the prevailing political climate has enabled hate to increase.

New York City-headquartered Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has reported a staggering 57 percent jump in anti-Semitic incidents in 2017. As per data, this is the maximum ever reported by the group who is noted for their specialization in Jewish civil rights.

Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO and national director of the ADL, said the horrific rise in hate crimes seems to be fueled by re-energized far-right extremists who take their cues from the divisive state of present American discourse. Intolerance, according to him, is the consequence of reduced civility. The CEO acknowledged that the awareness of this problem will result in more anti-Semitic incidents getting reported.

The numbers cannot be starker. In 2016, a total of 1,267 incidents were reported. Only a year later, the numbers went north to 1,986. This is the maximum since 1994. It is the biggest increase in a single year from the time the group started to gather this data. The data began to be collected from 1979. The increase in its granular form consisted of 952 vandalism incidents and 1,015 harassment incidents. Vandalism posted a rise of 86 percent compared to 2016. Jewish institutions received a total of 163 bomb threats.

Academic institutions reported a rise of anti-Semitic incidents inside their premises. The number of hateful instances nearly doubled for the second consecutive year. Non-Jewish schools reported a total of 457 incidents in 2017. The ADL has reported a spike in the number of incidents where far-right extremists have posted anti-Semitic and racist fliers inside college campuses and also in their vicinity. Todd Gutnick, the spokesperson of the ADL, said the numbers in the report includes only those incidents where the fliers contain explicit anti-Semitic messages.

The resurgence of hate is being felt by Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld whose synagogue was targeted in an April 2017 bomb threat. Speaking to Religion News Service, Rabbi Herzfeld commented on the rise of neo-Nazis, saying their prevalence is “in a way I have not seen in my lifetime.”

The ADL counted 19 physical assaults from anti-Semitic causes in 2017. The numbers denote a 47 percent downswing from 2016. A majority of bomb threats made against the Jewish day schools and community centers in 2017 were supposedly made by an Israeli American hacker, who is 18 years old and is himself Jewish. He was later arrested in Israel. Other than this, a one-time journalist hailing from St. Louis has pleaded guilty to making a series of bomb threats to many Jewish organizations. The attacks were made in his ex-girlfriend’s name so as to implicate her and disrupt her life.

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