Hate Crime

Anti-Semitic incidents spike nearly 90 percent in 2017

Perry Chiaramonte

Anti-Semitic incidents in the United States surged during the first three months of this year by 86 percent compared to the first three months of last year, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said in a report.

The group said there has been a massive increase in the amount of harassment of American Jews, particularly since November, and a doubling in the amount of anti-Semitic bullying and vandalism at non-denominational K-12 grade schools.

“In 2016, there was a 34 percent year-over-year increase in incidents – assaults, vandalism, and harassment — with a total of 1,266 acts targeting Jews and Jewish institutions,” the ADL said in a statement.

“Nearly 30 percent of these incidents (369) occurred in November and December,” the group’s statement said. “The surge has continued during the first three months of 2017, with preliminary reports of another 541 incidents, putting this year on pace for more than 2,000 incidents. Americans of all faiths have felt the increase and in a poll ADL released earlier this month a majority said they are concerned about violence in the U.S. directed at Jews.”

Preliminary reports for the first quarter of 2017 show that a total of 541 incidents reported compared to 1,266 reported for all of 2016.

Included in the incidents from this year are 155 incidents of vandalism — a 36 percent increase from the previous year and 380 harassment allegations, 161 of which were bomb threats.

“There’s been a significant, sustained increase in anti-Semitic activity since the start of 2016 and what is most concerning is the fact that the numbers have accelerated over the past five months,” ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement. “[We] need more leaders to speak out against this cancer of hate and more action at all levels to counter anti-Semitism.”

Preliminary reports for the first quarter of 2017 show that a total of 541 incidents reported compared to 1,266 reported for all of 2016.

Included in the incidents from this year are 155 incidents of vandalism — a 36 percent increase from the previous year and 380 harassment allegations, 161 of which were bomb threats.

Incidents of anti-Semitism have occurred across the country, but the ADL’s report finds a continuation of a consistent trend where states with large Jewish populations are seeing the highest number of incidents. New York, New Jersey, Florida and Massachusetts have all seen numerous incidents since the beginning of the year. The organization has been compiling a database of these incidents.

Among examples cited by the ADL, this past February a New York City subway car was found covered inside with anti-Semitic graffiti, which included swastikas and messages like “destroy Israel, Heil Hitler [stet].”

In Boca Raton, Fla., a student who recently joined his high school’s baseball team was subjected to repeated harassment from his teammates who sent him pictures of swastikas by text, as well as references to “Jews being cheap.” There was also one message sent to the student suggesting that his grandparents should have been “roasted” during the holocaust.

Thus far, anti-Semitic incidents have been hovering around the same levels as last year but the ADL reports that incidents at elementary, middle, and high schools have increased 106 percent, climbing from 114 in 2015 to 235 in 2016. The first quarter of 217 already seen 95 incidents reported at schools across the country.

“Schools are a microcosm of the country,” Greenblatt said. “Children absorb messages from their parents and the media, and bring them into their schools and playgrounds.”

“We are very concerned the next generation is internalizing messages of intolerance and bigotry.”

Perry Chiaramonte is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @perrych