The number of anti-Semitic assaults is surging in New York and across the country, according to a new Anti-Defamation League report filed just days after a deadly synagogue shooting near San Diego.
Of the 340 anti-Semitic incidents reported in New York State in 2018, 17 were assaults. Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn were the primary targets, according to the report. The ADL compiled the incidents from law enforcement, the media and reports made directly to the organization, and the numbers mirror data from the FBI, which says hate crimes overall are on the rise.
Nationally, the ADL found 59 people were victims of anti-Semitic assaults in 2018, up from 21 in 2017. Another trend was a spike in anti-Semitic flyering by White Supremacist groups, particularly in upstate New York and New Jersey. That propaganda could inspire anti-Semitic attacks, like the recent synagogue shooters, according to Evan Bernstein, the ADL’s regional director for New York and New Jersey.
“They may be successful in helping a lone wolf become more activated,” he said.
New Jersey also saw an increase in anti-Semitic incidents at K-12 schools. Many of the 63 incidents took place in Union County; WNYC and Gothamist previously reported on one school district’s swastika problems. There were 200 total incidents reported in 2018, a slight decrease from 2017.
“Hate is becoming part of every part of our society,” Bernstein said. “It’s affecting young people K through 12, it’s on college campuses and it’s now in the regular part of adult spaces.”
Nationwide, the report showed a total number of anti-Semitic incidents — including assaults, harassment and vandalism — dropped from the record highs of 2017, despite a spike after the shooting at the synagogue in Pittsburgh six months ago. Bernstein said the post-Pittsburgh numbers might indicate there’s an increase in awareness of anti-Semitism, which could lead to more frequent reporting of incidents.
New York and New Jersey had the second and third highest number of anti-Semitic incidents, after California.
New York State’s universities and colleges also saw a jump in anti-Semitism — from 23 to 32 incidents. The report also documented 5 incidents at Rutgers University.
Gothamist and WNYC are part of the Documenting Hate project, which gathers and verifies reports of hate crimes and bias incidents. You can learn more and report incidents here. Authorities also urge those who see hate crimes to contact the police.
Matt Katz reports on air at WNYC about immigration, refugees and national security.
You can follow him on Twitter at @mattkatz00.