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ADL: Anti-Semitic incidents rose in 2019

The ADL anti-Semitic incident map for 2019.

NEW YORK — Last year saw the most anti-Semitic incidents in the US since at least 1979, according to the ADL.

The 2,107 incidents recorded in 2019 reflect a 12% increase from 2018 and are more than double the 942 incidents recorded four years earlier, in 2015.

It’s the highest number recorded by the ADL since it began tallying incidents in 1979.

Aside from a dip in total incidents in 2018, the ADL’s annual statistics show that anti-Semitism in the US has been on a steady climb for much of the past decade.

Last year saw a number of high-profile anti-Semitic incidents.

• In April, a gunman killed one person and wounded three in a synagogue shooting in Poway, Calif.

• In December, two shooters killed four people, including two Jews, in an attack that ended at a Jersey City kosher supermarket.

• Eighteen days later, an attacker killed one person and wounded four in a stabbing at a Chanukah party in Monsey, NY.

• The year saw a stream of anti-Semitic incidents in Brooklyn, mostly targeting Orthodox Jews.

Earlier in the year, and in a different arena, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar made anti-Semitic comments.

A recently released study by the ADL found that the majority of American Jews have witnessed or experienced anti-Semitism in the past five years. Nearly two-thirds said they’re less safe than they were a decade ago.

There were 70 incidents of anti-Jewish harassment and vandalism reported in the three-state region of Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming, with 61 of those incidents taking place in Colorado.

The number of anti-Semitic incidents reported in Colorado increased by 56% from 2018 to 2019 and surpassed a peak that had previously been reached in 2017 when there were 57 incidents reported in the state.

Reports of anti-Semitic incidents from the past four years are the highest in the past decade in Colorado.

“Anti-Semitism in Colorado, and across the region and country, is increasing at an alarming rate and we have a growing collection of data that sheds light on this dangerous and troubling trend,” said ADL Mountain States Regional Director Scott Levin.

“The increase in anti-Semitic incidents has caused heightened anxiety and fear among Jewish individuals and communities.

“We are committed to pushing back against this increase in hate and call upon community leaders at all levels to join us in developing a meaningful and effective strategy to stem the tide of hate.”

The 2019 ADL Audit identified:

• 42 cases of harassment and threats in Colorado, four in New Mexico and two in Wyoming, and

• 19 cases of vandalism in Colorado and three in New Mexico.

The ADL’s annual report on anti-Semitic incidents is compiled using data reported to the organization and then evaluated by its Center on Extremism. The data come from people affected, community leaders and law enforcement.

As the report covers 2019, it does not refer to the shift in how anti-Semitism has manifested during the coronavirus pandemic.

Last year saw a rise in anti-Semitic physical assaults, to 61 from 39, as well as a 19% increase in acts of anti-Semitic vandalism and a 6% increase in ant-Semitic harassment. 

The 1,127 incidents of harassment made up more than half the total number of incidents in the report, which also tallied 919 incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism, including 746 involving a swastika.

2019 is the latest in a string of years when American Jews suffered an attack that has gained national attention, sparked protest from Jews worldwide and seared itself to Jewish communal memory.

The previous year included the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting, in which 11 Jews at prayer were killed.

In 2017, at a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Va., one person was killed and neo-Nazis chanted anti-Semitic slogans.

In 2019, New York City was hit especially hard: More than half of the year’s 61 anti-Semitic physical assaults took place in the five boroughs. Brooklyn felt the brunt with 25, more than a third of the total.

New York state experienced a total of 430 anti-Semitic incidents, the most of any state and a fifth of the total.

The state is home to approximately one-fifth of American Jews.

New Jersey was second with 345 incidents, followed by California with 330.

Every state in the continental US and Washington, DC saw at least one incident.

More of the 2019 incidents were reported in public areas, like parks or streets, than in 2018, and fewer were reported on campus and in Jewish institutions like schools or synagogues.

Eleven percent of the incidents, a total of 234, took place at Jewish institutions, and nearly 9%, or 186 incidents, on campus.

Thirteen percent of the incidents, a total of 270, were committed by members of extremist groups or those inspired by an extremist ideology like neo-Nazism or black nationalism, the ADL found.

Eight percent of incidents, a total of 171, involved references to Israel and Zionism. Most of the rest took place on campus.

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