November 15, 2019

ADL: 2018 Was Third Highest Year for Anti-Semitic Incidents

Photo courtesy of the Anti-Defamation League.

The Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) latest Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents found that 2018 was the third highest year for anti-Semitic since the ADL started the audits in 1979.

According to the report, a total of 1,879 anti-Semitic incidents occurred in 2018, which was a five percent decline from 2017, but was a 48 percent increase from 2016 and a 99 percent increase from 2015.

Among states, California had the highest number of incidents at 341, followed by New York at 340, New Jersey at 200 and Massachusetts at 144.

Incidents on college campuses slightly declined from 204 in 2017 to 201 in 2018; in 2016, there were only 108 incidents. K-12 schools, on the other hand, declined from 457 incidents in 2017 to 344 in 2018.

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said in a conference call with reporters Tuesday that “higher degrees of awareness” among teachers and educators likely accounted for the decline in anti-Semitic incidents in K-12 schools. However, Greenblatt acknowledged that there were still some bad incidents that occurred at these schools, including Wisconsin students holding Nazi salute poses in a November photo.

There were 39 instances of known assaults against Jews in 2018, an increase of 105 percent from 2017. Fifty-nine Jews were victimized by the 39 assaults, 11 of whom were killed in the October shooting in Pittsburgh.

Instances of anti-Semitic harassment increased from 1,015 in 2017 to 1,066 in 2018, a 5 percent increase, while anti-Semitic vandalism declined from 952 in 2017 to 774 in 2018, a 19 percent decrease.

White supremacist groups and individuals constituted 13 percent of the 2018 incidents; Oren Segal, director of the ADL’s Center on Extremism, said during the conference call that this was the “highest levels we’ve recorded since 2004.” White supremacist groups and individuals mainly used flyering and robocalls to promulgate their ideology in 2018, which included supporters of avowed white nationalist GOP Senate candidate Patrick Little calling his opponent, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), “a traitorous Jew” in a series of May robocalls. Instances of flyering included the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer coordinating efforts in September to spread flyers blaming Jews for the sexual assault allegations against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Additionally, 140 of the 2018 incidents referenced Israel or Zionism in some way; Segal said boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) resolutions were not included in the total because they didn’t directly target individual students.

Greenblatt said that the data reflects “troubling signs of the times in 2018.” George Selim, Anti-Defamation League Senior Vice President of Programs and a former Department of Homeland Security official, said in a statement, “It is incumbent upon our leaders to continue fighting anti-Semitism at every opportunity. We will continue to advocate for legislative and other remedies to ensure that there is no place for anti-Semitism in our society.”