Antisemitism is on the rise in Texas
Texas had a record number of antisemitic incidents in 2022 and now ranks fifth in the country for this type of hate, according to an audit by the Anti-Defamation League.
Why it matters: The spike in incidents 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, per Axios' Russell Contreras.
Context: The ADL has tracked reports of antisemitic incidents since 1979. Its latest audit includes criminal and noncriminal acts of antisemitism.
- Researchers who track hate crimes say the actual number of incidents was probably higher than reported in 2022.
The big picture: Antisemitic incidents in the U.S. jumped a record 36% in 2022 compared to 2021, according to the ADL audit.
- Nationally, 3,697 antisemitic incidents were brought to the ADL's attention in 2022.
- Antisemitic harassment rose by 29%, while antisemitic vandalism increased by 51%, the audit said.
- The ADL also found a doubling in activity by organized white supremacist groups, which were linked to 852 incidents of distributing antisemitic propaganda.
Zoom in: States with the most incidents were New York (580), California (518), New Jersey (408), Florida (269) and Texas (211), accounting for 54% of the total incidents.
- The majority of antisemitic incidents reported in Texas last year were either vandalism or harassment tied to "white supremacist propaganda," per the ADL.
Flashback: Last year, a British man seeking the release of a Pakistani woman from a Texas prison held a rabbi and three other people hostage at Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville. The standoff ended without any of the four hostages injured, but left the gunman dead.
- "I never thought that some guy from Manchester would come across the ocean, come to Colleyville, Texas, and threaten us because he believed that Jews control the world, Jews control the media, Jews control the banks," Jeff Cohen, who was one of the hostages, told KERA a year later.
- The ADL's tracker shows that was one of four antisemitic incidents reported in Colleyville last year.
State of play: The Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas and the nonprofit JewBelong have been campaigning to educate North Texas about the impact of antisemitism and challenge people to fight it.
- "Can a billboard end antisemitism? No, but you're not a billboard," their billboard along I-35 says to drivers heading toward Carrollton.
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, tells Axios.
Between the lines: Hate crimes overall have also been on the rise nationally.
- Though Black Americans remained the most targeted group in most cities in 2021, anti-Asian American hate crimes increased 339% that year.
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