On Jan. 24, Anti-Defamation League (ADL) CEO Jonathan Greenblatt and American Jewish University (AJU) President Jeffrey Herbst participated in a discussion about “The Fight Against Antisemitism After Oct. 7.” The two highlighted the dramatic increase in nationwide Jew-hatred since the Oct. 7 attack against Israel.
“The ADL, in living memory, has never seen a moment like this before,” Greenblatt said. In the aftermath of the Oct. 7 massacre, he added, there has been a “tsunami of anti-Jewish hate.”
Since Oct. 7, when Hamas conducted an unprecedented attack on southern Israel, resulting in the death of more than 1,200 innocent civilians, ADL has recorded 3,291 acts of hate directed at Jews nationwide, including more than 1,300 incidents of harassment, approximately 550 cases of vandalism, nearly 60 assaults and more than 1,300 street rallies that featured “antisemitic, anti-Zionist or pro-terror content,” according to the ADL website.
Greenblatt described the figure as “three times where we were at in the same period last year.”
Social media, Greenblatt said, is partially to blame. The ADL leader described platforms such as a TikTok as “a super-spreader of antisemitism and, really, evil.” Throughout history, from newspapers to radio, cable access television to TikTok, “extremists have exploited new technologies,” he said. While TikTok is merely the latest iteration of these technologies, the accessibility of hateful content is unprecedented.
If the presence of hate content is the price of living in a free society, private companies have a responsibility to make it harder to find, Greenblatt said.
An estimated 2,300 viewers attended the online-only event, which was held as part of AJU’s “President’s Speaker Series.” Throughout the hourlong discussion, Greenblatt, appearing from his office in New York, took questions from Herbst. On a bookshelf behind him was author Daniel Gordis’ “Israel: A Concise History of a Nation Reborn” as well as Greenblatt’s own, “It Could Happen Here: Why America is Tipping from Hate to the Unthinkable—And How We Can Stop it.”
Greenblatt, wearing a “Bring Them Home” dog tag around his neck, said he’s been wearing the accessory every day to keep the hostages being held in Gaza top of mind.
During the conversation, Greenblatt equated anti-Zionism with antisemitism, saying, “We’ve been way too tolerant of the anti-Zionist-left for far too long.” But Jew-hatred on the far-right is also worrisome, he added.
Asked about the increasingly hostile climate facing Jewish students on college campuses, the ADL leader said groups like Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace “serially violate the academic environment.”
And when Herbst asked Greenblatt about Israel’s current war in Gaza, the ADL leader said he agreed “with the Israeli government’s formulation that it has to dismantle and destroy Hamas.”
“I don’t think the Israeli government can afford to show any mercy to these people,” Greenblatt continued. “I have zero tolerance for Hamas and the useful idiots who cheer for them on.”
To learn about upcoming events in the AJU “President’s Speaker Series,” visit aju.edu.