Mar 23, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Antisemitic incidents hit record in 2022, ADL says

Reported antisemitic incidents in the U.S.
Data: Anti-Defamation League; Note: The count includes criminal and non-criminal incidents (defined as vandalism of property, or as harassment or assault on individuals and/or groups) reported to the ADL by victims, law enforcement, the media and partner organizations; Chart: Nicki Camberg/Axios

Antisemitic incidents in the U.S. jumped to a record level in 2022, up 36% from the year before, an annual audit by the Anti-Defamation League shows.

Why it matters: It's the third time in five years that reported episodes of antisemitism — from the distribution of hate propaganda to threats, slurs, vandalism and assault — were the most on record since the ADL began tracking such incidents in 1979.

The big picture: The surge in antisemitic cases comes as the FBI and human rights groups warn about rising numbers of hate crimes in the U.S. — and amid concerns that some public officials and social media influencers are fueling the problem by normalizing incendiary rhetoric.

  • The alarming numbers are likely understating the problem: A rising number of law enforcement agencies are opting not to share hate crime statistics with the FBI.

By the numbers: The ADL found reports of 3,697 antisemitic incidents in 2022. Incidents skyrocketed in each of the major audit categories:

  • Antisemitic harassment rose by 29%, while antisemitic vandalism increased by 51%, the audit said.
  • The ADL also found activity doubled among organized white supremacist groups, which were linked to 852 incidents of distributing antisemitic propaganda.
  • The audit didn't assess the total volume of antisemitism online, but it did include cases in which individuals or groups were harassed online via antisemitic content in direct messages, on listservs or social media.

Zoom in: States with the most incidents were New York (580), California (518), New Jersey (408), Florida (269) and Texas (211).

  • Those five states accounted for 54% of the total incidents.

Zoom out: The ADL audit includes criminal and non-criminal acts of antisemitism.

State of play: An FBI report in December said hate crimes in the U.S. fell slightly in 2021, but the agency warned the figures likely were off because of a shift to a new reporting system that led some of the country's biggest police departments not to report numbers.

What they're saying: "This report lays bare some data around why the Jewish community has been feeling so vulnerable," Oren Segal, vice president of the ADL's Center on Extremism, told Axios.

  • Some public officials and social media influencers have helped normalize antisemitism by posting and repeating bigoted things, Segal said.
  • He cited Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, who last year posted antisemitic messages and a swastika to his 32 million Twitter followers — more followers than "than there are Jews on Earth," Segal noted. Ye was suspended from Twitter.

Flashback: A British national held four people hostage in a Texas synagogue in January 2022 after the synagogue's 10 a.m. Shabbat services.

Between the lines: A growing number of elected Republicans are openly promoting "white replacement theory," a decades-old conspiracy theory that's animated terrorist attacks.

  • "White replacement theory" is rooted in the idea that there is a plot to change America's racial composition by methodically enacting policies that reduce white Americans' political power.
  • The conspiracies encompass strains of anti-Semitism as well as racism and anti-immigrant sentiment.

What's next: The ADL is recommending that elected officials more aggressively denounce antisemitism and that federal and state governments do more to prevent antisemitism online.

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