Anti-Defamation League: Record Rise in Anti-Semitic Incidents, Fall in Physical Attacks on Jews

antisemitic vandalism (Michael Thomas / Getty)
Michael Thomas / Getty

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reports that antisemitic incidents rose in the U.S. by a record amount in 2017, but also reports that physical attacks on Jews fell dramatically.

The rise, according to the ADL, was “in part due to a significant increase in incidents in schools and on college campuses, which nearly doubled for the second year in a row.” Campus antisemitism is often correlated with anti-Israel activism, though the ADL does not conflate the two.

The ADL’s annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents reports: “ADL identified 1,986 anti-Semitic incidents perpetrated throughout the United States in 2017. This is an increase of 57% over the 1,267 incidents reported in 2016. For the first time since at least 2010, an incident occurred in every US state.” The rise was driven primarily by an increase in vandalism (up 86%) and harassment (up 41%) — though without a spate of hoax bomb threats that turned out to be largely the work of a Jewish American Israeli-teenager, the rise would only have been 18%, the ADL reports.

Meanwhile, physical violence against Jews fell sharply: “Thankfully, the number of assaults with perceived anti-Semitic animus decreased to 19 in 2017; a decrease of 47% compared to the 36 assaults in 2016,” the ADL notes.

The ADL report praises Vice President Mike Pence for traveling to a Jewish cemetery that had been vandalized in Missouri to help with restoration efforts early last year. The report itself does not appear to link the rise in reported antisemitic events to the election of President Donald Trump, but that false link, a familiar theme of Democratic criticism of the president, was implied by ADL leader Jonathan Greenblatt, a former Obama administration official.

The Associated Press reported:

Greenblatt also urges “all public figures” to speak out against anti-Semitism “whether you’re the president of the United States or the head of the local P.T.A.”

President Donald Trump was widely criticized for saying there was “blame on both sides” after violence erupted in August at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where 32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed when a man drove his car into a crowd of demonstrators. Greenblatt said Trump’s statements about the rally were a “serious failure of moral leadership” and a “low point” of his presidency.

The ADL recently was faulted for linking the shooter in Parkland, Florida, to a white supremacist group. Police later said there was no evidence that he was connected to the group, though he had expressed hateful views online.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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