Anti-Semitic Incidents Continue to Rise

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Last year saw the third- highest number of anti-Semitic incidents since 1979, despite a decrease from the previous year, according to a new report by the Anti-Defamation League.

Though the 1,879 incidents in 2018 dropped from the 1,986 incidents in 2017, according to the ADL’s annual survey of incidents released Tuesday, the number of anti-Semitic assaults more than doubled, to 17 from 39.


The report counts cases of assault, harassment and vandalism. The vast majority of the incidents last year were harassment or vandalism — 1,066 and 774, respectively.

According to the report, the last three months of 2018 were “unusually active” in terms of incidents. The shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue at the end of October “likely drew more attention to anti-Semitic activities,” the ADL said.

Reflected in the Washington D.C. regional data is a significant shift away from acts of vandalism towards incidents of harassment and assault.

The regional breakdown is as follows:

Maryland: 39 total incidents (Assault: 1; Harassment: 32; Vandalism: 6), an 11 percent increase from 2017

Washington D.C.: 31 total incidents (Assault: 0; Harassment: 28; Vandalism: 3), a 3 percent decrease from 2017

Virginia: 31 total incidents (Assault: 0; Harassment: 20; Vandalism: 11), a 9 percent decrease from 2017

“We are deeply concerned by the interpersonal nature of the anti-Semitic incidents in our region,” said Doron F. Ezickson, ADL Washington D.C. regional director. “Whether perpetrated by classmates, neighbors or strangers, we cannot allow this bigotry to be normalized in our communities. Our programs and efforts with community partners, local schools and universities, and law enforcement are a vital first step to confronting the challenges of anti-Semitism and all forms of hate.”

The report referenced the shooting at a Chabad synagogue in Poway, California, on Saturday, in which an assailant killed one and wounded three.

“We’ve worked hard to push back against anti-Semitism, and succeeded in improving hate crime laws, and yet we continue to experience an alarmingly high number of anti-Semitic acts,” ADL’s national director, Jonathan Greenblatt, said in a statement Tuesday. “We unfortunately saw this trend continue into 2019 with the tragic shooting at the Chabad synagogue in Poway.”

Greenblatt spent much of the weekend in the San Diego suburb of Poway, California, sitting with friends of the victims of the Chabad synagogue shooting, praying with the rabbis’ family and talking to the press.

“It was an exhausting and emotionally draining weekend and yet it couldn’t be more pertinent,” Greenblatt said. “It almost serves as a punctuation mark for 2018. Unfortunately, what was experienced in San Diego is what many Jews felt in 2018: harrassment, violence and intimidation experienced at near historic levels in the U.S.”

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