Report Shows Antisemitism Steadily Increasing In America

Antisemitism and other forms of discrimination are certainly not new phenomena in America, or anywhere else.

We’ve worked very hard, and have been successful, at combating discrimination, though. For decades, we’ve added myriad hate crime laws to the books; seen the formation of civil rights organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and others; prosecuted scores of hate crime perpetrators; and reduced the number of hate groups.

However, could it be we are regressing?

According to the Jewish civil rights group Anti-Defamation League, the answer is yes.

Focusing specifically on antisemitism, the ADL said on Tuesday incidents in the US surged 57% last year, the largest increase since it began collecting data in 1979.

Close to 2,000 recorded cases of harassment, vandalism, and physical assault comprise the highest number of antisemitic incidents since 1994.

According to ADL’s national director, Jonathan Greenblatt, we can attribute this increase to rising incivility, the emboldening of hate groups and widening divisions in American society.

He said:

“A confluence of events in 2017 led to a surge in attacks on our community – from bomb threats, cemetery desecrations, white supremacists marching in Charlottesville, and children harassing children at school.”

For the first time since 2010, all 50 states reported incidents, the highest in areas with prodigious Jewish populations.

And, yes, we can blame a great deal of this on Donald Trump since his administration has been accused of failing to condemn religious bigotry, such as is evident in his statement after the August 12 Charlottesville, Va. rally at which white supremacists brandished Nazi Germany symbols and yelled “Jews will not replace us.”

Trump famously said:

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides. It has been going on for a long time in our country — not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. It has been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America.”

After Trump claimed the “fake news media” forced him to condemn racism as “evil,” and accused “many sides” of complicity in the Charlottesville violence, media experts analyzed Trump’s Twitter feed for a pattern. What they found was not that Trump refuses to speak about racism; he has just been more likely to accuse Blacks of racism than whites.

The ADL reports antisemitic incidents nearly doubling on school and college campuses since 2016, from 108 to 204. Schools have reported swastikas being drawn on facilities or Jewish students’ notebooks, and vandalism displaying slogans like “Hitler was not wrong” or “white power.”

In addition, Jewish graves or cemeteries were desecrated seven times in 2017, about which the report states:

“One bright spot in this was the response of members of the Muslim and Christian faiths, who raised thousands of dollars to help repair the damaged tombstones.”

According to the FBI, Jews and Muslims were the groups most targeted in for religious-motivated hate crimes in 2016–54% and 24% of offenses respectively.

This comes at a time when the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), has issued an “early warning” to the United States over its racial conditions, urging President Trump’s administration to “unequivocally and unconditionally” reject discrimination.

Committee chair, Anastasia Crickley, said:

“We are alarmed by the racist demonstrations, with overtly racist slogans, chants and salutes by white nationalists, neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan, promoting white supremacy and inciting racial discrimination and hatred.”

She urges US authorities to “address the root causes of the proliferation of such racist manifestations.”

Image credit: Daily Mail

Ted Millar is writer and teacher. His work has been in featured in myriad literary journals, including Better Than Starbucks, The Broke Bohemian, Straight Forward Poetry, Caesura, Circle Show, Cactus Heart, Third Wednesday, and The Voices Project. He is also a contributor to Op-Ed News, Liberal Nation Rising, and Zoedune.